International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America records: digital edition produced from microfilm
Scope and Contents
The digital edition of the records of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America consist of the correspondence files of the I.B.T. executive office covering the years 1904-1952, with the major portion of the material originating in the 1940's. Correspondence is with general executive board members, general organizers, local unions, joint councils, conferences, and trade divisions; the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations; other international unions; government agencies; and the general public. Included with the correspondence are reports, minutes, clippings, transcripts of government hearings and decisions, legal briefs, and copies of local union by-laws. The material details the union's initial struggles for existence and unity, its jurisdictional disputes, its growth in membership and influence, changes in organizing and bargaining techniques and in the trucking and transportation industries, and the increasing strength and political involvement of the labor movement in general.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Biographical / Historical
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America dates its existence from October 1, 1903. On that date, a convention met to ratify the amalgamation of the Team Drivers
International Union, the Teamsters' National Union of America, and other rival groups. They assumed the name International Brotherhood of Teamsters, elected Cornelius P, Shea the first president, and established headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Although amalgamation officially ended the factionalism that had weakened the earlier organizations, in reality conflicts continued. In 1906, the convention split and 35 delegates joined to form a rival organization. Conditions deteriorated and in 1907, Daniel J. Tobin was elected over Shea by a majority of only twelve votes from almost 200 delegates.
The Teamsters did not fade out, in spite of jurisdictional problems. Their membership gradually increased and by 1940 had reached 500,000, making the I.B.T. the largest union in the AFL, By 1952, the Teamsters claimed 1,250,000 members. This large membership also made them one of the richest unions. Their locals numbered over 900 and were located from Alaska to the Canal Zone and from Maine to Hawaii. They were independent in their activities with the International requiring the approval of contracts and by-laws and of strikes if strike benefits were to be paid and adherence to the International constitution.
During these years of growth, the I.B.T.'s structure experienced several changes. Local unions remained the basic unit of organization but other bodies began to be chartered too. Whenever three or more locals existed in close proximity, they were encouraged to band together in a joint council. This council served as an arbiter of disputes and promoted cooperation in bargaining and other activities. Local unions also cooperated in state conferences and in area conferences (Central, Western, New England, etc.). In addition, trade divisions encompassing all locals engaged in a certain type of activity were organized on both a regional and national basis; the I.B.T, was a pioneer of this kind of organization.
With all these structural changes, the governing offices of the union remained generally the same, Daniel J, Tobin served as General President for 45 years, 1907-1952. As I.B.T. General President, Daniel Tobin was a figure of great influence in the American labor movement. He served as AFL Treasurer, 1917-1928, and as an AFL Vicepresident, 1933-1955. He was active in Democratic Party national politics, served as delegate to several Presidential conferences and missions, and was an unofficial candidate for appointment both as Secretary of Labor and as Senator from Indiana. Within the I.B.T., he was a conscientious and well-liked leader with a salty personality. He was adamant in stating from the beginning of his tenure in office that the Teamsters would honor every contract they signed. He was also an out-spoken anti-Communist and led the I.B.T. convention of 1935 in adopting one of the first labor resolutions outlawing Communists from membership. In 1952, Daniel Tobin announced that he would retire from the General Presidency after the convention of that year. When delegates met in Los Angeles, they unanimously elected Dave Beck to the office and Tobin assumed the title President Emeritus.
87 microfilm reels
Language of Materials
The digital edition of the records of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America consist of the correspondence files of the I.B.T. executive office covering the years 1904-1952, with the major portion of the material originating in the 1940's.
Organized into five series: Staff correspondence, Affiliated bodies correspondence and reports, American Federation of Labor correspondence, Other labor organizations correspondence, and General correspondence.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers presented the paper records to the Wisconsin Historical Society on December 5, 1967.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters loaned the microfilm edition to the The George Washington University, Gelman Library in 2011 for the digitizing project.
Existence and Location of Originals
The original paper records are housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/libraryarchives/readroom/labor.asp
- American Federation of Labor
- Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.)
- Correspondence Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America
- Labor Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Labor unions Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Labor unions -- United States -- History -- 20th century Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Tobin, Daniel Joseph
- Guide to International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousmen and Helpers of America records: digital edition produced from microfilm, 1904-1952
- Finding aid for the paper edition prepared by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
- Digitization of the microfilm was made possible in part by the support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.