most items are part of Brother Thomas Felice’s Private Collection
except a couple listed as "IBT Archives"
Teamsters declared by proclamation at the 1916 Convention that the horse would always be the heart of the union and always remain a part of any badge, button, logo or flag
Tobin saw that technology was radically changing the freight-moving industry. Recognizing the trend and to motorization as more than a passing fad, he set out to organize the fast growing motorized truck delivery industry. He began by organizing motor truck drivers and prevailed on horse and wagon companies to train their drivers in automotive skills. In 1912, Teamsters were part of the first transcontinental delivery of goods by motor truck. The wave of the future was obvious to even the most die-hard traditionalists, and Teamsters had secured themselves a place as leaders of the transition.
For several years, trucks and horses worked some of the same jobs: Teamsters at the reins and at the wheel. Desperate to compete with the new motor carriers, horse-drawn freight firms tried to save money by eliminating feedings for Teamsters horses. Teamsters responded by striking, winning important safeguards for their animals’ well-being. As further proof of their devotion to their loyal partners, even amid the many changes, Teamsters declared by proclamation at the 1916 Convention that the horse would always be the heart of the union and always remain a part of any badge, button, logo or flag.
EARLY 1900's PA TEAMSTERS
Teamsters Union horse team Springfield Missouri ca. 1910 - the seal is for Teamsters Union No. 178 which was in Springfield, Missouri
903 Freight Handlers & Ware-housemen 1st Annual Convention St Louis
The Ghost of Buddy Gray
In January of 1978, in the middle of the night during one of that brutal winter’s blizzards, a group calling itself the Over-the-Rhine People’s Movement took over the abandoned Teamsters Union Hall at 217 West 12th Street.
Retired Teamster Al Erickson, perhaps the last surviving participant of the landmark 1934 strike that made Minneapolis a union town, has died at age 99.
Erickson died in his sleep Jan. 31. Throughout his life, he never forgot the historic and violent struggle that broke the power of the anti-union Citizens Alliance and helped usher in a new era for the labor movement not only locally but also nationwide.
In 1934, Erickson was a 27-year old driver who joined in the picketing ? and street battles ? for fair wages and collective bargaining rights. He was a rank and file member whose name won't appear in the history books ? but it might have been otherwise. Strike veteran Al Erickson, just five days before he died at age 99.
On July 20, 1934, when police opened fire on unarmed pickets, killing two and wounding 67, Erickson "just missed it by a few minutes," related his daughter, Lois Barker, who was four years old at the time of the 1934 strike. "He used to talk about the day the men got killed."
The Labor Review reported then that 100,000 people marched in the funeral of one of the fallen strikers, Henry Ness. Photos documented the massive crowds. The entire nation took notice.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt intervened to help settle the strike and the following year saw the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act, which recognized the right of private sector workers to form unions.
Erickson went on to spend his entire working life as a Teamsters member, working at several companies including UPS. "He believed in the union," Barker said.
Headlines in the Minneapolis Labor Review heralded the workers' final victory."He was a good storyteller and we were good listeners," said his friend Diane Loeffler, Erickson's neighbor since 1978.
"I don't think he appreciated how much he had a part in history until he saw the documentary Labor's Turning Point with us a few years ago," Loeffler said. "He was really touched when the young people who were at the documentary stood up and gave him a standing ovation."
"He didn't feel he was a maker of history so much as a guy who lived through some tense and exciting times," she recalled.
Union to the end, Erickson was buried with his Teamsters' retiree pin.
Steve Share edits the Minneapolis Labor Review, the official publication of the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council. If you know of any surviving participants of the 1934 strike, please call Steve at 612-379-4725.
Copies of Labor's Turning Point, the documentary about the 1934 Teamsters strike, may be ordered from the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service, 612-624-5020.
“Bloody Friday” Teamsters Local 574 inMinneapolis, Minnesota Truckers Strike
In May1934, Teamsters Local 574 in Minneapolis, Minnesota set out on a campaign to organize all the transportation workers in the city. When employers refused to recognize the union, Local 574 struck the city’s trucking operations.
. Some 35,000 building trades workers showed their solidarity by also striking. Although the strike was settled on May 25, employers delayed honoring their commitments, prompting a resumption of the strike on July 16.
. On July 20 – or “Bloody Friday” as it came to be known – police opened fire on the strikers, killing two and wounding 55. The governor declared martial law, and the National Guard occupied the Minneapolis local, arresting some 100 officers and members.
. Because of the ties that had developed between the citizens and the Teamsters, a mass march of 40,000 forced the release of the Teamsters and the strike was won.
. "The impact of it was that the employers were not going to be the masters of the workplace," said Teamster Jack Maloney, a veteran of the strike. "That was really what it was all about."
. What happened in Minneapolis during the spring and summer of 1934 transformed the city and played a decisive role in the history of organized labor in the U.S.
. The struggle was a turning point for working people: It helped to establish the right to form a union. Congress passed the NLRA in 1935 which marked the start of a new era of fairness and prosperity in American workplaces. The strike was also a successful turning point for the Teamsters: from a craft union to a national union as over-the-road drivers continued to organize across the Midwest and the nation.
. The following videos - produced by the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota- tell the story of the violent strike that led to the enactment of legislation acknowledging the rights of workers to organize and bargain: the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.