Teamsters Honor The Lessons of Black History
Black history is woven into the history of the American labor movement and the history of our union. Throughout much of our nation, Black history has long been ignored or outright suppressed. That is why, during Black History Month, we honor Black Americans' contributions to this country and the advancement of working people everywhere.
Early in our union’s history, Teamsters advocated for “no color lines” within the labor movement and would not tolerate the practice of separate unions for Black members. Women and people of color were part of the membership from the very beginning of the Teamsters Union, with Black members attending the founding convention in 1903.
As early as 1917, Teamster contracts included provisions for equal pay regardless of race. In the 1960s, Teamsters marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of the civil rights struggle for racial equality and economic justice.
While some progress has been made over the last half-century to eradicate the sickness of racism in America, we have a long way to go as a society to uproot the institutionalized prejudices that disadvantage and oppress Black Americans. While continuing to support the ongoing fight for equality and justice in America, Black History Month is about recognizing the countless Black Americans who – despite these obstacles – have helped move society forward in so many ways.
The Teamsters Union has and will continue to uplift these stories and learn from the legacies of Black Americans who have shaped the global trade union movement and human progress.
Teamsters Oppose House Bill That Would Threaten Worker, Motorist Safety
Feb. 1, 2023 | Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien sent letters to members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging them to oppose H.R. 471, the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act. The legislation, introduced by Representatives Jim Costa (CA-21) and Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), would jeopardize the safety of workers, motorists and any American that uses an interstate highway – all while doing nothing to address the root causes of our nation’s supply chain woes.
“Supply chain challenges and bottlenecks over the last few years have laid bare a number of critical issues in the trucking industry, including the prevalence of poor working conditions, rampant and illegal misclassification of drivers under labor law, and the scourge of fly-by-night contracted and subcontracted motor carriers,” O’Brien said in his letter to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“H.R. 471 looks to wrong and dangerous short-term ‘solutions’ to the very real legal and economic issues present in commercial trucking.”
The SHIP IT Act would allow for the introduction of heavier, more dangerous trucks on the road that are prone to more frequent and more severe crashes. It would also grant the Secretary of Transportation unjustifiable authority on size and weight requirements and gut fatigue protections for drivers carrying agricultural goods.
“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters welcomes important conversations about improving the trucking industry – for both drivers and the American consumer,” O’Brien said. “However, H.R. 471 is simply an anti-safety bill in sheep’s clothing.” Teamsters