The founding members of the union foresaw the growth and promise of the Teamsters as a model for workers everywhere. And they developed a philosophy that is as true and vital today as it was in 1903:
"Let each member do his duty as he sees fit. Let each put his shoulder to the wheel and work together to bring about better results. Let no member sow seeds of discord within our ranks, and let our enemies see that the Teamsters of this country are determined to get their just rewards and to make their organization as it should be -- one of the largest and strongest trade unions in the country now and beyond."
The Teamsters are America’s largest, most diverse union. In 1903, the Teamsters started as a merger of the two leading team driver associations. These drivers were the backbone of America’s robust economic growth, but they needed to organize to wrest their fair share from greedy corporations. Today, the Union’s task is exactly the same.
The Teamsters are known as the champion of freight drivers and warehouse workers, but have organized workers in virtually every occupation imaginable, both professional and non-professional, private sector and public sector.
Our 1.4 million members are public defenders in Minnesota; vegetable workers in California; sanitation workers in New York; brewers in St. Louis; newspaper workers in Seattle; construction workers in Las Vegas; zoo keepers in Pennsylvania; healthcare workers in Rhode Island; bakery workers in Maine; airline pilots, secretaries and police officers. Name the occupation and chances are we represent those workers somewhere.
There are nearly 1,900 Teamster affiliates throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with the following breakdown:
Teamsters Locals - United States 358
Teamsters Locals - Canada 22
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
(BLET) Local Divisions 498
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division
(BMWED) Local Lodges 506
Graphics Communications Conference (GCC) Locals 94
Teamsters stand ready to organize workers who want to bargain collectively. Once a contract is negotiated and signed, the Union works to enforce it—holding management’s feet to the fire and invoking contract grievance procedures if management chooses not to. Wages and benefits under Teamster contracts are markedly better than those of non-union employees in similar jobs. Teamster contracts are the guarantors of decent wages, fair promotion, health coverage, job security, paid time-off and retirement income.
The Teamsters Union also performs vital tasks in such areas as pension management, safety & health, community outreach, governmental affairs and communications. For more than a century, the Teamsters have been a public voice for the rights and aspirations of working men and women and a key player in securing them.