1927: Wise “Uncle Dan”


“Barnum was right when he said, ‘There is a sucker born every minute.” Someone has added the words, ‘Yes, sometimes twins,’ and it might rightfully be added, ‘Yes, sometimes triplets.”

Writes Tobin in his first editorial of the year. The columns of “our Journal,” he goes on to say, is filled with cautionary tips. Known by many as wise, old “Uncle Dan,” Tobin had become a voice of conscious during his now-30 year reign as Teamster General President. His advice ranged far beyond labor issues, but rather, workers’ welfare. From education (knowledge and training key to the success of workers, skills and training enhance the union effort) to health (quit smoking cigarettes and vaccinate your children) to spending habits (beware of schemesters and scam artists), Tobin gave insights that still ring true today. 

By 1927, the state of the labor movement needed all the help it could get, and there was no better orator or writer to convey the necessary message for the tough economic times than Dan Tobin. Keenly aware of financial difficulties, the 20-year leader of labor’s most successful union had earned the respect to espouse constant advice in countless speeches and articles throughout 1927, giving money-saving tips and. Concerned with the plight of working families, Tobin increased the union effort to promote wage scales and increase solidarity between union members of all trades and affiliations.