In 1997, the Teamsters’ successful strike at UPS sparked resurgence in the labor movement. Then in 1998, a new era in Teamsters history opened. Under the banner of restoring Teamsters pride and strength, James P. Hoffa won a landslide victory. At the joint council and local level, the Hoffa message turned into quick action. It was time to pull together, restore unity and organize.
Within a year, the Teamsters could be proud of many accomplishments. Bankruptcy was no longer a danger, a landmark national carhaul agreement won the support of 80 percent of the members, and the beginnings of an in-house anti-corruption effort had been established.
The 2001 Convention showed a new Teamsters Union to the world. It showed a union that was unified; energized and ready to make the 21st century the workers century. Nearly 1,800 delegates were called upon to tackle complex and daunting challenges facing the union
The most important of these changes was the historic amendment enshrining the concept of “one member, one vote” as a permanent component of the Union’s guiding doctrine, the International Constitution.
The Special Convention, held in April 2002, was a direct response to the resolutions and concerns raised at the 2001 Convention. This unprecedented gathering proved to be a major step toward restoring the strength of the union through the creation of a funding structure that will provide financial stability for decades to come.
Charged with renewed energy, the Teamsters Union once again actively engaged in its long tradition of community service and supporting social causes, including civil rights. At any given time, Teamsters can be found taking the lead in community improvement projects, helping those in need from all walks of life, educational programs and political activities defending the rights of workers.
Teamster members are organizing at a historical pace and negotiating stronger contracts than ever before. Leaders and rank-and-file members recognize that new members are the life-blood of the union. But, they have also focused more attention on one other critical area—our political power. The Union is using this power to help workers get ahead in our economy and make sure all working families have the voice and the influence to ensure that Congress and state leaders also understand and support this goal.
Today’s members, using the same spirit and determination to change the lives of workers everywhere as the early founders, are creating a strong Teamster legacy for the next 100 years.
“We want people to know who we really are. We need to ensure that when people think of Teamsters they never hesitate to think of good wages, benefits, and strong contracts and service to our country and communities.
Whatever the situation, whatever the need, Teamsters respond to calls for help immediately. They respond not to gain attention, praise or rewards; they respond because it is the right thing to do.”
—James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President