Origins of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
"Teamsters" earned their name from the occupation they held as drivers of horse-drawn wagons. Although they were essential to the economy with the delivery of goods, they lived in poverty. The typical Teamster labored 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for an average wage of $2.00 per day while assuming the liability for bad accounts and lost or damaged merchandise.
In response to these appalling conditions, groups of teamsters began forming in the late 19th Century. This activity caught the interest of American Federation of Labor leader Samuel Gompers, who called on the locals to create a national teamsters union under the umbrella of the AFL. The locals agreed and in 1899, the Team Drivers International Union was formed with 1700 members.
A rival group split from the Team Drivers International Union and formed the Teamsters National Union in 1902, however, they were able to reconcile some of their differences and on September 3, 1903 the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was formed with Cornelius P. Shea as the first President.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters today has 1,400,000 members.
For additional information on the history of the Teamsters, click on this link:
Page Last Updated: Feb 03, 2015 (15:16:32)