The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. This month, the Teamsters Union spotlights some of those contributions.
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Black History is Teamster History
I look to the inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when he said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," and know that Black History Month serves as an important organizing principle.
The Teamsters Union has traditionally been ahead of other unions in terms of the treatment of minority members, calling for ”no color line” in the union as early as 1906. The union began actively seeking to organize black men and women at the same time.
Ernest Calloway, a Teamster leader from St. Louis Local 688 is the subject of a new book about a unique aspect of the labor movement.
For many, Black History Month is a month of celebration, recognition, and reflection.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is saddened to announce the death of longtime member and union activist Clara Day.
Black History Month gives us an opportunity to not only appreciate the role black Teamsters have played in the foundation and growth of our union, but to also take on present-day challenges such as voter suppression laws and other racist policies.
For more than 100 years, the Teamsters Union has been at the forefront of the struggle for workers’ rights in North America. The Teamsters early on believed in “no color line” and would not hold with the practice of separate unions for black members.
BLET member Carlyle Smith, an Amtrak locomotive engineer and member of Division 482 in Washington, D.C., is featured in this Black History Month story on the rail industry.