Teamsters and Jobs

The Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 1994 | Go to article overview

Teamsters and Jobs


THEY are called "teamsters" because decades ago they drove wagons pulled by teams of horses. With the advent of the automotive age, they became "truckers," and their role in the American economy has been to deliver the goods for companies and consumers.

As the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, they have long had a significant stake in the nation's economy and politics, and some notoriety. Recently, under the reformist leadership of President Ron Carey, that image has improved.

As long-time beneficiaries of America's phenomenal growth, wealth, know-how, and stability, they now see their place in the transportation business shifting.

On April 7 some 75,000 members of the union went on strike, a move that forced 22 major trucking firms to shut down most of their operations.

The Teamsters are reacting to a demand by trucking companies to agree to increased use of railroads and the hiring of part-time workers. They argue that such a move would result in the loss of thousands of full-time Teamster jobs.

Products and the way they are packaged and delivered have changed, affecting not only the profits of producers, but also the affairs of those who deliver the goods. …

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