The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) celebrated its 100th anniversary on Sept. 6 in Washington, D.C. There were more than 3,500 Teamsters in attendance from all across the United States and Canada.
There were many exhibits showing where the Teamsters had started, and how the Union had improved the lives of workers over the last 100 years – from team drivers who worked 16-hour days for two dollars in 1903, to fighting for equal pay for equal work for women and minorities.
The exhibits showed the Teamster blood that ran in the streets of St. Paul, Minn., in 1934 for the right to organize. And it went on to the national master agreements that improved the living standards of hundreds of thousands of Teamsters. These were hard fought battles and hard won victories, through much sacrifice, for working men and women in solidarity.
The celebration also looked to the future and the battles to come, with keynote speakers Bill Clinton, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Dick Gephardt, Rep. John Lewis, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
The celebration emphasized the fight to protect overtime, for fair trade not “free trade,” to strengthen the right to organize, and placed a real emphasis on defeating the ultra-right, anti-labor administration of George Bush in 2004.
– A Teamster