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[gangbox] TROQUEROS REVOLT....

by GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE Sunday, May. 16, 2004 at 3:23 PM
gangbox-owner@yahoogroups.com

TROQUEROS REVOLT....can the California port truckers wildcat strike lead to the reunionization of the freight industry???

TROQUEROS REVOLT....can the California port truckers wildcat strike

lead to the reunionization of the freight industry???

By Gregory A. Butler, local 608 carpenter

On Friday, April 30, 2004, a trucker's rebellion broke out in

California...

The independent owner operator truck drivers who haul seafreight

shipping containers from the docks to "intermodal" terminals operated

by railroads launched a wildcat strike, which shut down all of the

cargo operations at two of the largest seaports in America, Oakland and

Long Beach, as well as the main freight terminals that haul the San

Joaquin Valley's fruits and vegtables to the world, at Stockton,

Lathrop/Salinas and Sacramento.

Now, that rebellion only lasted 10 days, but, a struggle could emerge

from this revolt which, if lead properly and not sabotaged from within,

could possibly lead to the re-unionization of the nation's 920,000 non

union freight drivers and dockworkers...and the other 1.4 million non

union drivers and warehouse workers in America...

A quarter century after these drivers, most of whom are Latino or Asian

and many of whom are immigrants, were abandoned by the International

Brotherhood of Teamsters, stripped of their employee status, forced to

buy their own trucks from their bosses and declared "owner operators",

the port truckers in the Ports of Oakland, Long Beach, Sacramento and

Lathrop/Salinas, and the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal freight

terminal at Stockton, parked their rigs and declared themselves on

strike.

The primarly issue is money. Specifically, the drivers, as owner

operators, have to pay for the diesel fuel for their vehicles out of

their wages....and diesel fuel costs have skyrocketed, while the fees

they are paid by the trucking companies has remained stagnant for the

last decade.

Typically, the drivers are paid $ 50 to $ 200 per trip, depending on

how far they have to haul the shipping container from the dock. They

also recieve a very small fuel surcharge, which doesn't even come close

to covering the $ 2.39 a gallon they pay for fuel.

These prices haven't increased in over 10 years.

Also, the drivers are only paid for the time they are actually hauling

the container from place to place on their truck. They are NOT paid for

the hours they spend waiting to pick up or drop off a container at the

dock or terminal....

After expenses, the drivers typically clear about $ 8/hr in net

compensation...for an 18 hour workday. Their annual net income, after

fuel, insurance, truck payments and other business expenses, is around

$ 40,000 to $ 50,000 before taxes.

The drivers demanded a 30% increase in their rates, a 6% fuel surcharge

increase, $ 35/hr delay pay and $ 50/hr pay when they are dropping off

the containers.

Beyond that immediate economic demand, the drivers were demanding union

recognition, a collective bargaining agreement, and many of the drivers

are also demanding restoration of the employee status they lost over a

quarter century ago when they were all laid off by the trucking

companies and forced to buy their trucks and become owner operators.

Incidentally, it appears that the union these drivers want recognized

is NOT the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union that used

to represent these workers until it abandoned them 3 decades ago.....

and has spent the last 14 years trying, halfheartedly and

legalistically, to reunionize them...

In fact, the union that's publicly claimed this strike is a previously

unknown labor organization called the Intermodal Truckers Union...

The 2,000+ strikers in the Port of Oakland also have elected leaders

from among their ranks who, on behalf of the Intermodal Truckers Union,

have been negotiating with the trucking companies, shipping lines, the

Port Authority and the West Coast seafreight industry's area-wide

employers association, the Pacific Maritime Association.

Incidentally, these port trucker strikes happen to be flat out

ILLEGAL..since the drivers are owner operators, and, since they are, on

paper, independent business owners, they cannot legally form a cartel

to raise prices.

Technically, according to the Sherman Anti Trust Act, they are

committing a federal crime by forcing the seafreight industry bosses to

pay them all the same fees for hauling freight..

But, since that Sherman guy isn't around to haul the freight, the

shipowners have been forced to bargain with the drivers, irregardless

of the technical legalities of the strike....

These drivers are a very gutsy group of folks...willing to stand up for

themselves and risk their freedom, and the possible civil forfeiture of

their homes and their $ 500,000+ tractor trailer trucks....

That courage, and the the fact that the trucking companies, railroads

and shipping lines depend on their trucks and their labor to move the

cargo, is what brought the bosses to the table...

The Teamsters Union came into the strike after it started..and below

we'll get into the questionable role that the IBT has so far played in

this struggle.

In Los Angeles, the drivers actually parked their big tractor trailers

right in the middle of Interstate 5, the main highway in that

freeway-dependent town...blocking traffic at the heart of the morning

rush hour.

Those drivers in Los Angeles' massive Port of Long Beach (largest

seaport in the United States) soon returned to work....but, their

brothers and sisters in the Northern California ports of Oakland and

Lathrop/Salinas stayed out on strike for another few days.

In particular, the strikers in the Port of Oakland were oustanding in

their hardcore militancy...on Cinco De Mayo, Wednesday May 5, the

drivers actually threw stones and rocks at the handfull of scabs who

dared to drive across their picketlines... Other strikers cut the

brakeline hoses on the big rigs driven by the scabs, immobilizing them.

Of course, that pathetic attempt at scabbing was but a last gasp by the

employers....since the drivers had already shut down 90% of the

harbor's commerce (only 100 trucks entered the intermodal terminals

that day, as opposed to the typical 1,100 on a normal day).

While the strikers got violent with the scabs at the Port of Oakland,

Union Pacific Railroad had actually already been forced to terminate

freight train service to the ports of Los Angeles, Lathrop/Salinas and

Oakland.

The reason was simple...since almost all of the drivers were striking,

there would be no way for them to unload the seafreight containers off

their trains..which would jam their railroad yards with containers, and

cause a bottleneck throughout the UPRR's freight system.

The shipping lines called the cops on the stone throwing truckers, of

course, who were unable to drive the pickets off.

The shipping lines also tried to end the strike by offering a really

bad settlement, offering to set up a powerless "joint committee" that

would meet every 3 months to talk about the truckers greivances.

The drivers rejected the settlement...but, by Friday, the threat of

court injunctions had intimidated some of the strike leaders in Oakland

and Lathrop to return to work...including Youbert Betady, the main

spokesman for the strikers at Lathrop, who as early as Wednesday was

already back at work hauling containers.

One of the Oakland negotiators for the Intermodal Truckers Union,

Irvinder Dahanda, also publicly called for the workers to return to

work on Monday, May 10, in effect officially calling off the strike.

Unfortnately, this injunction, and the fact that their leaders were not

prepared to defy the court order and keep the terminals shut down, has

caused many drivers to follow the lead of Brothers Betady and Dhanda,

and return to the roads, rather than continuning to strike illegally.

However, unlike a typical American strike, this labor struggle didn't

just come to a clearcut end just because the leaders cut a deal....the

Intermodal Truckers Union is not the formal representative of the

workers, and the union itself apparently doesn't have a typical

authoritarian union leadership structure...so there's nobody in the

union's leadership who can order the drivers back to work...

As the Oakland strike was ending, the Northern California drivers were

joined in struggle by 80 drivers at the Yang Ming shipping lines

terminal in Long Beach, who walked out demanding union recognition.

Leaflets issued by the Yang Ming drivers called for the spreading of

this strike throughout Los Angeles harbor, especially in light of the

fact that a lot of ships and freight trains that were supposed to be

unloaded in Oakland, Lathrop and Stockton are currently bound for Los

Angeles.

While it lasted, the strike was extremely effective, with the vast

majority of the 3,000+ Bay Area port drivers honoring the lines.

Reportedly, no racial divisions broke out among the port

truckers....even though the bulk of the leadership of the strike were

Latino, (evidenced by the fact that many of the leaflets refer to the

drivers by the Spanish term rather than the English term

"Truckers") White, American Black, African immigrant, Indian and Asian

drivers honored the lines as well.

Meanwhile, as the strike wound down in Cali, on the other end of the

country, Virginia port truckers called a strike of their own, at the

Portsmouth and Norfolk Intermodal terminals. 200+ drivers actually

picketed, with 300+ more honoring the lines and refusing to work

Unfortunately, unlike the open ended Oakland strike call, the Virginia

strike was limited to a 2 day walkout. This time limitation on the

Norfolk strike may be due to the conservative influence of the

Teamsters Union, and in particular the main Teamsters Port Division

organizer in the Tidewater region, Jim Stewart, on the leadership of

the Virginia truck drivers....

Several days after the Oakland strike ended, on May 12, port truckers

in Houston also staged a brief walkout, which, again thanks to the

conservative influence of the Teamsters Port Division, was a brief

strike, limited to only one day...

On that same day, across the country in Tacoma, Washington, 250 owner

operator lumber truck drivers from across Washington State and Oregon

also called a one day strike, and drove their rigs to the Tacoma Dome

for a rally....these drivers, like the Oakland truckers, were also

organized by an independent union...but, unlike the largely Asian and

Latino port truckers, most of these guys are White....

Even as the strike wound down in Cali, according to reports on rank and

file Teamster internet bulletin board TeamsterNet

[http://www.teamster.net], efforts have been made to contact drivers at

the ports of Seattle, New York/Newark, Balitmore, New Orleans, Miami

and Hamilton, Ontario to spread the strike transcontinentally.

Meanwhile, even though the strike has straggled to an end in Northern

California, the drivers did secure some economic gains by

striking...including a 15% increase in shipping rates paid to the

driver, with a 5% fuel surcharge on top of that...for a total 20%

increase in compensation for the troqueros...

Now, the question is, who exactly organized this strike that, compared

to most strikes in the last 3 decades, was so incredibly successful?

Apparently, the leaflets that called the strike were issued by an

independent, non AFL-CIO affiliated entity called the Intermodal

Truckers Union, which has also reportedly been circulating petitions

among drivers to get the union recognized as their bargaining agent.

The leaders of the strike apparently are also the leaders of this new

Intermodal Truckers Union...

Now, the question is, were these workers supproted by the AFL-CIO union

with nominal jurisdiction over the industry, the 1.4 million member

International Brotherhood of Teamsters???

That's a surprisingly tough question to answer...due to the odd fact

that the Teamsters Union was kindasorta supporting the strike...and was

also kindasorta NOT supporting it...

The director of the Teamsters Port Division, one Chuck Mack, did issue

a couple of statements about the strike...statements that tended to be

self-contradictory.

That is, Mack would claim to support the strike...but he's refused to

sanction it, nor has the union offered any meaningful material support

from the Teamsters Union for the strikers, such as money or food...and

the union even ordered some of it's members at the Port of Oakland to

openly scab on the strike!!

Also, some of Mack's statements of "support" for the strikers were

dripping with thinly veiled elitism and racism....such as this gem, "I

don't know if it's going to last or not. It's so spontaneous.

Maintaining a work stoppage is extremely difficult when you have people

who are on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder, as these guys

are."

Mixed with the racism of the Port Division was the fear of these

militant workers who the union bosses cannot control, or, as another

Port Divsion official put it "We are not going to lend our name to

something unless we have control over the agenda"...

And the Teamsters Union honcho's prosal to "settle" the walkout is

laughable....

Mack proposed that the trucking companies set up a "public registry"

where they'd post how much they pay the drivers for diesel fuel.

Mack has also proposed that a committee of academics and other

"independent" so called "community representatives" (none of whom would

be actual truckers, of course) be set up to make nonbinding suggestions

to the trucking companies about how much they should pay their drivers.

Mack gave lip service support to the demand of the drivers to get union

recognition, and their employee status restored...but that was about as

far as he was willing to go on those demands...

Of course, Mack made sure, with every backhanded call for "support" of

the strike, to make sure that everybody knew that, officially, the IBT

had nothing to do with calling the strike.

Mack even went so far as to order Teamsters Union-represented employee

port truckers driving for SeaLogix trucking at the Maersk/SeaLand docks

at the Port of Oakland to CROSS THE PICKETLINE AND SCAB ON THE

STRIKE...

Now, the IBT wasn't the only union to scab on the port truckers

strike....

The main union on the Oakland Docks, the International Longshore and

Warehouse Union, (ILWU), also orderd it's members to scab.

The ILWU is a communist-led union who's leadership prides itself on

it's radicalism (at least on political issues that have nothing to do

with longshoremen or other port workers), so their scabherding is kinda

shocking..and kinda pathetic..

Oakland Longshore local 10's members were ordered to report directly to

work on the docks, and to cross the Intermodal Truckers Union

picketlines to do so...

The local 10 longshoremen weren't even allowed to TALK to the striking

truckers...and, when they were dispached by the local, the

longshoremen's names were reported to the stevedoring companies..with

the implicit threat that, if they respected the line and refused to

work, they'd be punished...

Now, local 10 is a supposedly ultraradical local in a supposedly

extremely radical union...

ILWU local 10's president, one Clarence Thomas, and it's BA, one Jack

Heyman, speak at anti war rallies (Heyman even got busted by the

Oakland Police Department for his high profile anti war activism), are

vocal supporters of every leftist cause you could imagine...and are

even calling a "Million Worker March" on Washington at election time.

Thomas is also one of the most prominent Black labor leaders in the Bay

Area, and one of the main African American union officials in the

seafreight industry on the West Coast...so you'd especially expect him

to show solidarity with workers of color, like the Asian and Latino

port truck drivers....

But, when it was put up or shut up time, Thomas and Heyman failed the

test of class struggle, and ordered their members to scab...or face

retaliation from the shipping companies..

Clarence Thomas could have been a latter-day A. Phillip Randolph in

this situation, stepped up, and took a stand for the port

truckers....instead, he chose to act like his namesake on the US

Supreme Court, and used legalistic excuses to make his members scab on

the strike...

The justification for the ILWU's scabbing was the same sorry excuse

that union used during the last 4 port truckers strikes in Cali...the

fear of lawsuits from the employers and their trade association, the

Pacific Martitime Association.

As for the IBT, the union with nominal jurisdiction over these drivers,

the cowardice and open scabherding engaged in by the Teamster bosses is

because the union's leaders fear that, since the drivers are, on paper,

independent businesspeople, any union support for the strike could get

them sued for Sherman Anti Trust Act violations....

Now, of course, the leaders of the Teamsters Union have frequently been

accused, indicted and even convicted of committing criminal acts

(including Mack's predecessor as head of the Teamsters Port Division,

George Cashman, who has been incarcerated in a Federal correctional

facility since July 2003 for letting a trucking company violate the

union contract in return for that firm giving Cashman a payoff and

putting a drug dealing Hell's Angel friend of Cashman on the payroll

with a no show job...)

But, the bosses of the Teamsters Union know very well that, as long as

those criminal acts benefit the employers, and only hurt the workers,

they will not be punished..unless the employer feels the cost of the

payoff exceeds the value of the union contract violation...that's

basically what happened in Cashman's case, and in the many other cases

in the last half century or so where law enforcement has intervened in

the internal life of the IBT.

Of course, if violating the law hurts the bosses, and in particular if

violating the law helps the workers...then there will be hell to pay,

and the risk of legal action is very high..

Also, labor leaders like Chuck Mack see themselves as middlemen between

the bosses and the workers, who's job is to create "class peace" and

"labor management cooperation". Mack and them do NOT see themselves as

the leaders of workers struggles...instead, their goal in life is to

PREVENT workers from fighting back against the bosses..

And, personally, being a middleman between the bosses and the workers

has been very profitable...

Mack, a millionaire who's been a full time union boss since the 1970's,

has 4 seperate full time $ 100,000+ a year jobs with the International

Brotherhood of Teamsters..he's simultaniously Secretary Treasurer of

Oakland Teamsters local 70, President of Northern California Teamsters

Joint Council 7, International Vice President of the Teamsters and

Director of the Teamsters Port Division...

Incidentally, two of those jobs are actually in Washington DC, and two

in Oakland...and, on paper, they're all full time 40+ hour a week

jobs....how he manages to actually perform all those jobs, in two

cities 3,000 miles apart, working, on paper, 160+ hours in a 168 hour

week, is not at all clear..

This may sound like a harsh assessment...

Harsh, but true, unfortunately...

Let's start off by using Chuck Mack's own words to describe the state

of today's Teamsters, and the menatlity of the leadership of the

Teamsters Union....

When Mack was annointed as head of the Teamsters Port Division by

Teamsters General President Jim "Junior" Hoffa back in July 2003

(replacing convicted felon George Cashman, who, as I mentioned above,

had just been sent away to federal prison for extortion, insurance

fraud and labor racketeering...Cashman, who's also a millionare like

Mack, actually got paid for FIVE full time union staff jobs...plus a

job as a director of the Massachusssets Port Authority, MASSPORT,

before he got locked up), here's how Chuck described his mission in his

new union post:

"Our port trucking operations are a disaster, the weak link, the

Achilles heel of the global economy. I look forward to working with the

waterfront unions and industry leaders to make port trucking

dependable, efficient and profitable, and to bring justice and

sustainable wages to the port drivers"

Notice the phrase "our port trucking operations..." as if the drivers

and the trucking companies that exploit their labor are somehow

'partners' rather than antagonists with a fundamental conflict of

interest.....

And, of course, the intermodal port trucking industry's "efficiency and

profitability", which Mack is so concerned about, comes directly from

keeping truckers wages low..and not paying the truckers for their

waiting time.... and renting trucks and selling insurance to those

drivers under very unequal terms...

We also can see that Mack's main priority appears to be making the

seafreight industry function more efficinetly....and his concern for

improving the wages and working conditions of the drivers is, at best,

secondary to that main pro-business priority.

Also, notice that Mack speaks of "sustainable" wages, and NOT higher

wages...which, in plain English, most likely means as little as the

trucking companies can get away with paying...

Mack's not the only Teamsters Port Division official to think in such a

pro employer way...

Here's how Chuck's deputy, the Port Division's assistant director,

former socialist Ron Carver, described the role of the Teamsters Port

Division to shipping industry magazine "Journal of Commerce", "We have

a history of advocating for our employers"

Beyond the IBT's pro employer "labor management partnership" ideology,

as I mentioned above, the Teamsters Union leadership is terrified of

using any kind of extralegal means of fighting the bosses in the

seafreight industry...

The Teamsters Union's port trucking organizing efforts are, like most

union organizing drives these days, very lawyer-dominated....

In fact, one of the two leading figures in the IBT's port trucker

efforts in Los Angeles over the last decade is in fact an attorney, one

Jim DeMaegt, a civil rights lawyer affiliated with the National Lawyers

Guild.

The other main Teamsters man on the docks is actually a tax

accountant...former port driver Ernesto Jesus "Ernie" Navarez..a man

who, like DeMaegt, also has a cripplingly legalistic mentality, coupled

with a mortal fear of using illegal tactics to win workplace

justice....

Needless to say, lawyers and accountants usually don't make

particularly good militant wildcat strike leaders....particularly if

those militant wildcat strikes happen to be ILLEGAL...as owner operator

strikes are.

As a pratical matter, the union's paralyzing legalism has prevented the

union from taking any pratical steps to reorganize these

workers...like, for example, doing what the Intermodal Truckers Union

did and calling an areawide strike, despite the Sherman Anti Trust Act

prohibitions on owner-operator strikes.

Notice I said "reorganize"...from the early 1900's til the 1970's,

almost every port trucker in America was a member of the International

Brotherhood of Teamsters.

But, in the 1970's, the companies fired almost every one of these

workers...and then forced them to go out and buy a tractor trailer

truck, and then come back on the job as "independent owner operator"

truckers.

All told, around 50,000 workers were forcibly deunionized by this

move...

Some of the drivers even ended up buying their trucks from their former

employers...

The Teamsters Union did nothing to stop this..and then did nothing to

attempt to bargain for their former members who had been forced to

become owner operators...

These workers lost their pensions, their health coverage and had their

incomes sharply reduced.

In 1988, the Communications Workers of America launches a short-lived

organizing drive among the drivers, as part of a broader campaign to

organize low wage Latino workers in LA (the other main organizing

target was trade show workers at the Los Angeles Convention Center).

There was a strike then too..which, unfortunately, didn't produce a

union contract...

The CWA soon walked away from the union drive, abandoning the workers.

Then, the Teamsters Union came back in the picture.

Their were 4 major work stoppages that the Teamsters were involved in,

most notably in 1993..

That strike ended up in litigation...with the Teamsters Union's crack

staff of well paid lawyers taking the case all the way to the United

States Supreme Court.

Basically, instead of using an illegal strike to force the shipping

lines, railroads, stevedoring companies and trucking companies to

bargain with the drivers, irregardless of their technical employment

status, the union wasted almost a decade trying to find a legal cover

for a port truckers strike by trying to invent a fictional

"employer-employee" relationship between the self employed drivers and

the seafreight companies...

As late as 2001, the Teamsters Port Division in Los Angeles was having

owner operator truckers file bogus Unemployment Insurance claims

against trucking companies they contracted with..and, then, when the

California Department of Labor inevitably rejected these fradulent

claims, then taking the state and the trucking companies to court to

prove this non existant "employer-employee" relationship...

After those lengthy, costly, and ultimately pointless, court battles,

the union always held back from any serious attempts to lead an

area-wide recognition strike...using the same tired legalistic Sherman

Anti Trust Act excuses for their inaction...

This Teamsters Union obcession with anti trust law violations has been

the main factor that has kept the IBT from reunionizing these

workers....and has been the number one excuse the union's leaders have

used to stop workers from doing the one thing that will enable them to

reunionize..that is, calling out an areawide strike at the ports, and

stopping the freight from moving until the bosses agree to deal with

the union....

The Teamsters Port Division's main organizer in Georgia, Jim McDermott,

actually used similar legalistic reasoning to torpedo a strike movement

by port truckers in Savannah 4 years ago....by scaring the drivers into

returning to work with the threat of an anti trust suit...

It's kinda odd that the Teamsters Union leadership were so worried

about breaking the law to help workers.. since the man who ran the

Teamsters Port Division at the time, convicted labor racketeer George

Cashman, apparently spent a considerable portion of his time in the

company of Hell's Angels, South Boston Irish gangsters, drug dealers

and other professional criminals..

In some cases, Cashman's criminal ties led to workers actually being

hurt.

For example, in two cases, members of local 52 of the Stagehands Union

working on movie sets in New England were, allegedly, beaten by reputed

Cashman associates because they refused to give up their jobs and their

trucks to gangsters....

Cashman also allegedly let trucking companies violate Boston Teamsters

local 25 union contracts if they paid him money, and if they gave no

work jobs (and the health coverage that went with those jobs) to his

gangster buddies..

It didn't matter to Cashman that legitimate teamsters were sitting home

jobless, with no health coverage, while his criminal buddies collected

teamster paychecks and had their families covered by Teamsters Union

health insurance.

So, breaking the law to HURT workers is OK..but breaking the law to

HELP workers is not..

In the end, Cashman's criminality began to cost the trucking companies

and movie producers more money than they saved by violating the union

contract....

This led the bosses to complain to the government..and, since the

business community, as a group, controls the government, this led to

Cashman going to federal prison...

In the end, when the port truckers of California decided to

unionize...they did NOT do so under the leadership of the Teamsters

Union...in fact this job action was in defiance of the IBT bosses....

Instead, they built their own union, the Intermodal Truckers Union, an

organization which apparently does NOT have millionare officials

collecting multiple $ 100,000/yr salaries.

Now, the port truckers weren't the only workers abandoned by the

Teamsters Union during the 1970's..

Far from it...most of the nation's freight drivers were forcibly

deunionized at that time....

I've explored the decline and fall of the Teamsters Union at length on

GANGBOX, at :

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/3

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/1095

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/1793

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/1877

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/2325

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/2729

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/3596

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/4380

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/4855

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/5327

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/5359

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/7878

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/8601

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/8822

and

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/message/14549

Here's a brief summary of that story.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen

and Helpers of America, which was founded in August 1903 as a union of

urban delivery wagon drivers, had originally organized the over the

road truck drivers back in 1936.

That organizing drive started in Minneapolis, where a group of

Trotskyite socialists had led a citywide general strike in 1934 that

unionized the local delivery drivers.

Those socialists had come up with an idea to unionize all the freight

drivers who hauled freight between cities.

Their method was to unionize all the terminals of all the trucking

carriers in a city, and then demand that all the drivers delivering to

that terminal work under union contracts.

Then, they would unionize the terminals those drivers worked out of in

their home city, and then unionize all the drivers that drove to those

terminals...

That method worked like a charm..and, after 2 years of militant

strikes, they had organized almost every over the road freight driver

in the Upper Midwest..

At the same time, the Teamsters Union organized carriers in the West,

Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New

England..(although the union used gangster methods in those regions

rather than the mass truckers strikes that the Trotskyites used in the

Great Plains)...which led to most of the industry being unionized by

1938.

Those Trotskyite socialists were rewarded for their efforts by being

kicked out of the Teamsters Union just 2 years later...

But, despite that, the industry still ended up being almost totally

unionized..

By the mid 1950's, 65% of the interstate truckers in America were

members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, working under

one national union contract, the National Master Freight Agreement.

The NMFA, covering over 400,000 over the road drivers, city drivers,

dockworkers, clericals and other teamsters, was one of the strongest

union contracts in America...

Unique among American labor agreements, NMFA lacked a no-strike clause,

and it even allowed members to legally stage local strikes over

greivances for up to 3 days without approval by the union...

However, those good times didn't last for long...

The pro-employer mentality of the leadership of the Teamsters Union had

already started to chip away at the victory that the workers had

achieved..

As early as the 1950's, Teamsters General President Jimmy Hoffa had

allowed certain companies to sign inferior union contracts, (so called

"White Paper Agreements") that forced their employees to work for lower

pay and under inferior conditions...

In many cases, employers had to pay for the privilige of having

inferior contracts....in one case, a trucking company was required to

rent it's trucks from Jimmy Hoffa's wife in return for a sweetheart

contract...

Of course, to engage in such labor racketeering activity, Hoffa had to

come to an understanding with the Mafia..and, in fact, the wiseguys

came to control many Teamsters Union locals, as well as many of the

union's pension funds, including it's largest, the Central States

Pension Fund...

As is customary in the world of racketeering, the mobsters got a cut of

the payoffs as well...

However, the payoffs to Hoffa and his associates began to cost the

trucking companies more than what they saved with the sweetheart

contracts...so, the bosses complained to the government (a government

which, after all, their class controls)..and the feds arrested,

indicted, and, after several trials, convicted and incarcerated Hoffa.

After Jimmy Hoffa went to prison, General President Frank Fitzsimmons

continued to chip away at the NMFA.. signing more and more white paper

agreements.

Drivers did try and rebel against these givebacks...most notably in

April 1970, when the truckers forced the union to call all 400,000

Teamster freight drivers out on the first national strike in the

union's history. That strike was centered among drivers in Ohio,

Chicago..and on the docks in Los Angeles.

The Ohio truckers even went so far as to engage in running gun battles

on the highways with scabs, the Ohio State Police and even the Ohio

National Guard..

Incidentally, the national guardsmen who massacred 4 anti war

protesting college students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 had

spent the previous month engaging in what amounted to guerrilla warfare

against armed Teamsters Union roving pickets on the highways in and

around Cleveland...that's why they had live ammo in their rifles, and

were so quick to open fire on civilians.

Beyond that dramatic episode, Teamsters all across the country had a

generally high level of militancy..they were quick to use their legal

right under NMFA to call 3 day strikes over greivances....and it was

becoming harder and harder for pro employer Teamsters Union officials

to sell out workers to the companies..

Due to that bubbling militancy in the unionized truck terminals, during

the negotiations for the 1976-79 NMFA, unionized trucking companies

demanded the right to become "double breasted"...that is, to have the

right to set up non union subsidiaries.

Teamsters General President Frank Fitzsimmons agreed to let the

trucking companies do just that....in the form of a clause to the NMFA

called the 'Special Commodities Rider".

The Special Commodities Rider said that unionized trucking companies

could set up non union subsidiaries to haul fresh fruit from farms to

railroad terminals, cannery plants and grocery warehouses. The excuse

was that, supposedly, the unionized trucking companies could not

compete with non union independent truckers who were hauling that type

of cargo..and needed to go non union to compete for that work...

Almost immediately, every unionized trucking company set up "double

breasted" subsidiaries..alter ego companies that would use the Special

Commodities Rider to operate non union. All of the "Big Four" less than

truckload carriers, (Consolidated Freightways, Roadway Express, Yellow

Freight and ABF) had huge non union subsidiaries....CF and Roadway

actually carried more freight non union than union.

The smaller NMFA carriers followed suit, including airfreight carrier

Airborne Express, which ended up being about 90% non union.

Truckload carrier Schenider became almost entirely scab..with only 2

small Wisconsin-based divisions, with less than 250 drivers, staying

union...and the remainder of the company's 10,000 drivers and

dockworkers being transferred to the company's vast non union

division..

Needless to say, the non union carriers did NOT limit themselves to

only hauling fresh fruit!!!!

Sadly, the leadership of the Teamsters Union did absolutely NOTHING to

resist the scabification of their industry...

Certainly, they were upset to lose all those members, and all that dues

income, and the political influence that went with the power they had

over trucking...

But, the Teamsters Union's bosses didn't dare to launch a national

strike to stop the deunionization...

This was due to the fact that they feared unleashing the power of their

members...which would, among other things, probably jeapordize their

control over the union. Also, such a massive strike would threaten the

trucking company bosses..and even the capitalistic system itself...and

that would be the last thing that the International Brotherhood of

Teamsters' business unionist leadership would want...

The flood of non union freight hauling that began with the 1976 Special

Commodities Rider turned into a deluge in 1978, when the Carter

Administration deregulated freight.

Prior to deregulation, the Interstate Commerce Commission set freight

routes and rate structures, and limited how many companies could

operate in the industry.

After deregulation, ANYBODY could get an ICC number and haul interstate

freight...

This led to an epidemic of trucking companies going non union. Many

went even further, firing their drivers, selling trucks and trailers

and insurance to those drivers, and then contracting with those

"independent" drivers as owner-operators..

That's exactly how the trucking companies that hauled seafreight went

from being almost 90% union in the early 1970's to being over 90% non

union by the end of the decade...

The seafreight trucking companies simply fired all of the teamsters who

hauled seafreight, leased them trucks and chassis, sold insurance to

them, and then contracted with them to haul seafreight containers as

"owner operators".

What did the Teamsters Union do to stop that abuse???

NOTHING....absolutely nothing at all...

Of course, none of the other waterfront unions did anything either....

The two longshoremen's unions, the communist-led International

Longshore and Warehouse Union on the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii and

the gangster-controlled International Longshoremen's Association on the

East Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, Mississippi Valley and Puerto Rico

were content to have their members work side by side with non union

drivers...they did absolutely nothing to try and stop this blatant

union busting...

That wasn't that surprising with the ILA, which had been a racketeer

influenced and corrupted organization for most of it's existance, but

it was kinda shocking that the radical ILWU just turned around and let

this blatant massive labor abuse go unpunished...

Needless to say, the Teamsters, ILA and ILWU set the tone for

aquiesence to union busting...

Inaction, passivity in the face of attack and letting open scabherding

go without a fight was the name of the game from the other waterfront

unions too; nothing was done by the sailors unions; National Maritime

Union, Seafarers International Union and Sailors Union of the Pacific,

or the ship's officers unions; Marine Engineers Beneficial Association

and International Union of Masters Mates and Pilots or the unions that

represented waterfront maintenance workers; the International

Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of

Boilermakers and International Association of Machinists

Of course, as I pointed out above, the Teamsters Union didn't do

anything about deregulation either....the only attempt they made to

"struggle" against deregulation was to try and bribe Senator Howard

Cannon (R-NV) to vote against the bill..and all they succeded in doing

was getting a bunch of Teamsters Union officers indicted....including

Frank Fitzsimmons' sucessor as general president, Roy Williams...

Not surprisingly, the Teamsters Union imploded as a freight

union...with it's freight membership shrinking from over 400,000 in the

early 1970's to less than 80,000 today..less than 20,000 of whom are

actually covered by NMFA.

The loss of the freight sector was part of the overall decay of the

IBT...the union shrank from 2.3 million members in 1975 to barely 1.4

million members today...

And, to a large degree, the Teamsters Union has ceased to be a truck

drivers union....around 700,000 Teamsters work in industries that have

little or nothing to do with the trucking business...factory workers,

government employees, police officers, secretaries, printers, cannery

employees, brewery workers, airline pilots, performers at Disney World,

ect...

Of the remaining approximately 700,000 road-related teamsters, 230,000

of them drive or load trucks for UPS, and around 400,000 are delivery

drivers or warehouse workers for supermarkets...

If it wasn't for those two groups of teamsters, the International

Brotherhood of Teamsters would be almost totally nonexistant as a

truckers union...

These days, the largest less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carrier in

America is non union....Federal Express' FedEx Freight division.

Interestingly enough, a lot of FedEx's expansion as a freight company

came because they purchased the non union subsidiaries of union

trucking companies...Yellow Freight Systems' Saia and Jevic, and

Roadway Express' Viking and Roadway Package Systems.

And, the company that was once the largest union LTL freight company in

America, Consolidated Freightways, has gone out of business as a union

firm...

Of course, it's non union ConWay Express divisions are still going

strong...together running a nationwide cargo network that covers all 48

contiguous states...

NationsWay also closed it's union division...with barely a week's

notice to the drivers..(many NationsWay drivers hauling on the East

Coast found out they were jobless from all news radio or their CB's)

but the Denver-based company's non union subsidiary, NFI, is still in

business..as is, of course, the Colorado Rockies, the Major League

Baseball expansion team that was purchased by NFI's owner as NationsWay

was supposedly going "bankrupt"...

CCC, a Detroit-based carrier that was unionized by Jimmy Hoffa and

Frank Fitzsimmons in the 1930's, also closed down it's union side,

leaving it's non union side, Crete, in business.

Preston and A-P-A Transport went completely out of business.

Meanwhile, another group of trucking companies, the carhaulers, decided

to bust the Teamsters, and deunionize their 15,000 workers.

Allied, Ryder, Leaseway and JHT, the main firms in that market segment,

all have non union subsidiaries, and have been actively shifting work

from their unionized operations to their non union divisions. They've

been joined by UPS Logistics, the non union subsidiary of the largest

Teamster employer in the country, United Parcel Service, a firm that

employs 230,000 teamsters in it's package hauling division.

The carhauling firms have been working hand in glove with General

Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mack Trucks, Navistar

and Freightliner Trucks in agressively laying off teamsters and

deunionizing work.

Also, naturally, DaimlerChrysler uses scab carriers to haul cars from

it's non union plant in Alabama, as do the other non union automakers

(Nissan in Tennessee, Toyota in Kentucky, BMW in South Carolina and

Honda in Ohio).

The carhaulers have also agressively deunionized their operations that

haul imported new cars from the Canadian and Mexican borders, and from

the seaports...

These unionbusting firms have also been actively assisted by another

AFL-CIO union, the International Association of Machinists, which has

been signing sweetheart contracts with some of the double breasted

carhauling companies...

The Teamsters Union has done next to nothing to stop this...besides

filing pathetically ineffective lawsuits and a few local strikes here

and there...

Also, the United Auto Workers has stood idly by while unionized

teamsters are replaced by non union drivers at UAW-represented auto

plants...and the ILA and ILWU have allowed these firms to use non union

drivers to haul imported cars from the docks in Los Angeles, Oakland,

Houston, New Orleans, Savannah, Norfolk, Baltimore and Newark...

Today, only 7,000 of the nation's 15,000 formerly IBT represented

carhaulers still work under Teamsters Union agreements..and that number

is getting smaller every day...

Besides it's involvement in non union carhauling, UPS also has used non

union labor in it's core package business...specifically, they use non

union owner operators to suppliment it's unionized "feeder driver" -

the tractor trailer drivers who haul packages between UPS service

centers..

Of course, the Teamsters Union has done nothing to stop this....

Basically, the nation's freight industry has become essentially non

union..and no trucking company in America hauls all of it's freight

with union labor...

The Teamsters Union has launched organzing efforts, of

course...currently, the Teamsters have an NLRB election campaign at US

Freightways' USF Dugan subsidiary...

USF is a double breasted company, with it's New Jersey-based USF Red

Star and Chicago-based USF Holland divisions operating union..and the

rest of the company non union.

But, the Teamsters have been having one terminal at a time Labor

Department elections at USF Dugan, and, of course, like all NLRB

campaigns, it quickly became bogged down in one lawsuit after

another...

Hopefully, the drivers and dockworkers at USF Dugan will suceed in

getting organized..

But, based on the IBT's freight industry track record in the last

decade...I wouldn't bet on it...

Unfortnately, the last two major Teamsters Union NLRB trucking industry

election campaigns, at Central Freight and Overnite Express, were

massive failures....

Drivers and dockworkers at Central Freight's huge Irving, Texas

terminal approached the Teamsters 4 years ago, seeking unionization.

Central is one of the main carriers hauling manufactured goods up and

down Interstate 35 between the factories of the Midwest and the

maquiladora sweatshops of Northern Mexico.

Their terminal at Irving, Texas is the largest freight barn on the

planet....

Unfortunately, that organizing drive was lost in large part due to the

perception of thuggishness that hovers around the boss of the Teamsters

Union in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Local 745 President Tyson Johnson.

Like the other Teamster bosses we've met in this article (Chuck Mack

and the incarcerated labor racketeer George Cashman) Johnson is a

millionare, who has three seperate six-figure salary union staff

jobs...head of local 745, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Freight

Division, and International Vice President.

And, like Chuck and the imprisoned George, it's highly probable that

Tyson only works one of those gigs....the others appear to be six

figure no show no work jobs....in Johnson's case, he lives in the DFW

metropolitan area, where his local 745 spot is based...but the other

two positions are actually domiciled in Washington DC..

Also, Tyson Johnson's supporters allegedly have beaten up teamsters who

support the union's dissident caucus, Teamsters for a Democratic Union

(TDU)...

Some of those alleged beatings have allegedly happened in a tunnel

under the loading dock at the Yellow Freight Systems terminal in

Irving....which just happens to be ACROSS THE STREET from the Central

Freight terminal...

After local 745 dissidents complained about the alleged beatings on

rank and file Teamsters internet bulletin board Teamster.Net

[http://www.teamster.net], persons claiming to be Tyson Johnson's thugs

actually made posts to Teamster.Net BRAGGING about carrying out the

assaults on teamster dissidents in the tunnel under the loading dock at

YFS's Irving, Texas terminal...

Now, it was high union milage rates and hourly wages, superior union

benefits and the protection of union work rules at Yellow Freight

Systems which first attracted Central Freight drivers and dockworkers

to the union..

But, once the Central Freight workers found out about the alleged

beatings of drivers and dockworkers by persons who were supposedly

supporters of Tyson Johnson...that support turned to revulsion...

The Teamsters lost that NLRB election at Central Freight very

badly..the workers at Irving overwhelmingly rejected Tyson Johnson's

local 745, and only a small isolated group of city drivers and

dockworkers 1,000 miles away at Central's tiny Las Vegas terminal voted

for the IBT...

Organizing Central Freight could have been the key to reunionizing the

freight industry, since so much of the American less-than-truckload

(LTL) freighthauling industry is involved in hauling freight from

Mexican factories along the Rio Grande

FedEx Freight, ConWay Express, JB Hunt, Overnite, and US Freightway's

non union side are all major players in that market alongside Central

Freight, and there is a huge concentration of 30,000 non union

warehouse workers in Laredo, Texas who unload freight off Mexican

trucks and load it onto American vehicles...

The non union truckload carriers, companies like CL England and

Schneider, also carry a lot of their cargo along the "NAFTA corridor"

too...and that segnment has basically become 99% non union since the

Special Commodities Rider and deregulation...

Organizing Central Freight could have been the key to unionizing those

workers...and the failure at Central Freight now guarantees that the

Teamsters Union will NOT be organizing that very strategic group of

freight workers any time soon....

As pathetic as that was, it wasn't as humiliating as the Teamsters

Union's defeat at Overnite Express (OVNT)...

Overnite was one of the few trucking companies that managed to evade

unionization during the Teamsters Union's massive national freight

organzing drives during the 1930's...

OVNT stayed non union because it was a family owned company, and the

firm's paternalistic owners went out of their way to cultivate a sense

of "family" among the workers...

That all changed when the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) brought out

OVNT in the early 1990's.

Gone was the "family atmosphere" and the sense the workers had that

OVNT management knew them and cared about them as individuals..

In it's place was the same brutally militaristic labor discipline that

UPRR had used in it's railroad operations since the 1870's...where

maximizing ton/miles and minimizing labor costs was priority one, and

the men and women who moved the freight were expendable objects of

production, rather than flesh and blood people...

The culture shock of their work environment changing almost overnight

from a "family" type situation to an industrial boot camp caused many

of OVNT's 8,000 road drivers, city drivers and dockworkers to approach

the Teamsters Union about organizing their company back in 1994.

Close to 2,000 of those workers became active supporters of the IBT...

The union's support was confined to the drivers and the loading dock

workforce, the men and women who's conditions had most deteriorated

since the UPRR takover...

The Teamsters Union had especially strong support from the drivers and

dockworkers at the company's 4 main terminals, Memphis, North Atlanta,

Dallas and Miami.

Unfortunately, the company's 3,500 clericals, security guards and

mechanics remained as anti union as they'd been when OVNT was a

family-owned company..

On paper, that would seem to be the best time for them to go

union...especially since the Teamsters Union had a reform president,

one Ron Carey, and Teamsters dissident caucus Teamsters for a

Democratic Union (TDU) had become the main political influence on the

union's leadership...

The old Teamsters Union leadership had been ousted by the US Department

of Justice...mainly because their corruption had become too costly for

the business community, who wanted a compliant union, but were tired of

making payoffs to get union givebacks...

TDU cooperated with the government takover, and were able to ride to

power on the feds' coattails..

The "New Teamsters" under Carey and TDU also put a heavy emphasis on

organizing the unorganized.

The Carey administration had totally revamped the IBT's organzing

program, centralized the international union's organizing staff, and

fired all the cronies, gangsters and unemployable relatives of union

officials who had dominated the ranks of international organizers under

previous administrations and repaced them with competent and militant

labor activists..

But, although Carey's organizers were both competent and militant, they

were also bound to a legalistic and basically business unionist view of

organizing..

They could have led those 2,000 workers out on a recognition strike

against OVNT. They also could have perhaps suplimented that walkout by

placing Teamster pickets around UPRR's intermodal terminals (which

would cripple UPRR's railfreight operations, both by causing teamster

drivers to refuse to drop off and pick up freight from the terminals,

and by causing UPRR's own unionized locomotive engineers, conductors

and freighthandlers to refuse to work behind IBT picketlines).

However, that would have caused a national uproar, and also would have

involved mobilizing tens of thousands of teamsters, as well as the

8,000 drivers and dockworkers at OVNT, into union activism....

And that kind of mass movement of workers makes business unionists very

uncomfortable...even those business unionists like Carey and TDU who

claim to be "militant"...

In particular, the Trotskyite socialists from a group called Solidarity

who, behind the scenes, run TDU have always been scared to death of

mobilizing mass movements of workers...

Instead, TDU has relied on backroom deals with "reform" union bosses

like Ron Carey and the lawyers of the US Department of Justice to aid

their drive to come to power in the Teamsters Union..

So, instead of leading the OVNT workers into a quick, and probably

victorious, struggle, the Teamsters organzing department started the

lengthy, tedious, legalistic and employer dominated process of filing

NLRB petitions...

UPRR immediately deployed batallions of some of the finest

management-side labor lawyers in the world to defeat the IBT

petitions...or at least bog them down in litigation forever...

And bog the Teamsters down they did...

Among UPRR's legal manouvers was to try and force the Teamsters to

include the pro management security guards, clerical workers and

mechanics in the bargaining unit with the fiercely pro union drivers

and dockworkers...with the intent of making sure the IBT lost the NLRB

elections...

Also, the IBT was forced to file seperate NLRB petitions at every

single one of OVNT's 138 terminals in the Continental United States..a

manouver that cost the union a lot of money, and tied down a lot of

organizers and a lot of lawyers in endless legal wrangling with OVNT's

managers and UPRR's attorneys...

Meanwhile, at the terminals, OVNT's line supervisors started a ground

attack on IBT supporters..

And I do mean ATTACK...

Overnite management actually went so far as to set up an armed anti

union employee group which can only be described as a Colombian-style

death squad - OVNT SWAT.

OVNT SWAT was a violent militaristic group, as it's name would

imply....SWAT, of course, is the acronym for the most malevolent,

agressive and racist branch of the Los Angeles Police Deparment, the

Special Weapons and Tactics unit...

OVNT SWAT commenced violent physical attacks on pro Teamster workers in

the terminals, in a very blatant and public manner, even going so far

as to operate a website that publicized and glorified their attacks on

OVNT Teamsters.....

Of course, the Teamsters Union never even dreamed of arming and

organizing their own members to defend themselves against OVNT SWAT's

death squad-style attacks...

Now, admittedly, that's kinda radical...

But, even short of taking up arms against the UPRR's death squad, the

Teamsters Union didn't even use informational picketing, to let the

world know that Overnite was having it's pro union employees beaten up

by thugs on the job...

The union never even tried to get the police or the Justice Department

to go after OVNT SWAT..

That's ironic, since TDU was always quick to bring the government and

the law enforcement community into the union's internal political

affairs....that's actually how they came to power in the union..

Despite that willingness to have law enforcement fight their internal

union political battles..TDU and the Carey administration were

reluctant to CALL THE COPS ON THE BOSSES...even when pro union workers

were being beaten by a management-controlled terrorist group.....

Nor did TDU or the Carey administration try to launch a "Corporate

Campaign" or any kind of publicity campaign whatsoever against Overnite

Express and/or Union Pacific Railroad..

Again, TDU were always quick to use their ties with liberal journalists

to expose their political opponents in the union..but, they were

unwilling to LAUNCH A MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BOSSES...even when the

bosses were carrying out terrorist attacks on pro union workers...

Again, TDU and the Carey administration were business

unionists...militant reform business unionists, but business unionists

nonetheless...and they were politically incapable of leading the

workers in a full-blown attack on OVNT or UPRR..even when the company

had actually launched an armed attack against them, and therefore, the

Overnite Express union organizing campaign was doomed to defeat under

their leadership...

During this reign of management terrorism at Overnite Express, over

1,100 pro Teamster Overnite employees were fired by Overnite

management...

Typically, a beating by OVNT SWAT goons would precede their firing..and

then the victim would be the one that got fired for fighting, while the

thugs would keep their jobs!!!!..

That included a 68 year old pro Teamster woman dockworker who had her

arm broken by OVNT SWAT thugs in the ladies room at the Memphis

terminal...and was then immediately fired by the terminal manager for

supposedly starting the fight, while her assailants went unpunished!!!

Needless to say, the Overnite organizing drive came to a schreeching

halt..except for 5 years of motions, depositions, NLRB hearings,

federal court appeals and other lawyerlike bullshit....

By 1999, unionism at Overnite was all but dead..

However, there was a new administration at the Teamsters Union...

The same federal courts that had enabled Ron Carey to be elected as

Teamster president in 1991 had kicked him out of office in 1998..

His sucessor was Jim "Junior" Hoffa, a labor lawyer from the suburbs of

Detroit who was the son of legendary Teamsters General President Jimmy

Hoffa, who we met above.

After his release from federal prison in 1971, Hoffa the elder staged a

short-lived campaign to return to the general presidency of the IBT,

which came to a sudden and violent end when he disappeared in 1975, and

was presumed to have been kidnapped and murdered by the Mafia...

Now, 20 years later, Hoffa's son had come to claim his father's throne.

Junior Hoffa didn't even pretend to be a union reformer...and much of

his support came from the same gangsters who, allegedly, had his dad

killed...

Junior Hoffa wanted to "resolve" all of the outstanding labor disputes

the union had with employers, by settlling them on whatever terms the

bosses wanted....even if that meant completely selling out the

workers...

Junior Hoffa ended up calling a strike at OVNT in 2000..which Carey

should have done back in 1994, when the union could have actually

won....

However, there was still some pro-labor sentiment among the terrorized

Overnite drivers and dockworkers, and about 1,000 of OVNT's 8,000

truckers and loading dock employees actually respected the picket

lines.

Junior Hoffa, of course, was even more timid and pro management than

Carey was.. So, no effort was made to shut down OVNT's powerful parent

company, Union Pacific Railroad...

Even the most limited picketing of UPRR intermodal terminals would have

caused the railroad's locomotive engineers, conductors and

freighthandlers to walk off the job..and it would also have caused the

many teamsters who haul freight into and out of those terminals to

refuse to stop there...

Since UPRR is the largest freight railroad in America..and it is the

main railroad connecting Chicago to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and

it's also the main freight link between Houston and the West Coast as

well, shutting down Union Pacific would basically shut down the entire

economy of the United States west of the Mississippi River in a matter

of a few days...

Junior Hoffa was terrified of leading such a struggle...so he merely

asked UPRR to carry no extra OVNT trailers on their intermodal railroad

cars..that is, they could carry the same amount of Overnite freight

they did before the strike, but no more...

In return, Junior Hoffa prevented teamsters from picketing UPRR's

intermodal terminals...

Despite having one hand tied behind their back by the Teamsters Union

bosses, the 1,000 Overnite Teamsters who actually struck, and the

thousands of other teamsters who came out to aid their picketing,

fought heroically...

In Miami and Memphis, the strikers actually sabotaged many OVNT trucks

and trailers, and even fired on scab drivers in some cases..and, at

most of the company's other terminals, Teamster ambulatory pickets

followed the OVNT city drivers, and picketed whatever business they

made a delivery or a pickup at..

Thanks to the militancy and agressiveness of the OVNT Teamsters, and

the teamsters from other companies who came out to assist in the

picketing, the OVNT SWAT terrorist group was unable to attack any

strikers, or even to defend scabs or Overnite vehicles against attack

by strikers...basically, the cowardly bullies of OVNT SWAT were forced

into inaction and retreat...

This shows that, if Carey had even TRIED to mobilize Teamsters to

resist OVNT SWAT in any way at all back in 1994, the wannabe death

squad would have quickly folded and retreated.

Instead, the union let their supporters be attacked with impunity, and

offered no organized resistance at all...which led to 55% of their

supporters at OVNT, 1,100 workers, being assaulted and fired....

However, despite the militancy, there was still the fact that around

7,000 OVNT workers scabbed...and the fact that Overnite Express' parent

company, Union Pacific Railroad, was not targeted at all, and operated

without any disruption...

Initially, OVNT cancelled service at many of the smaller terminals,

especially those located in areas with high concentrations of Teamsters

Union members, like Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Ohio and

Chicago, where ambulatory pickets caused a number of customers to

terminate their relationship with OVNT... They even shut down one of

the 4 key terminals in the company, North Atlanta, which was the target

of heavy picketing by Georgia Teamsters local 728

OVNT shifted the scabs from those terminals to maintain service on the

all-important NAFTA Corridor, and in particular to keep the Memphis and

Dallas terminals going at full capacity...

Also, since OVNT SWAT's goons had been intimidated, immobilized and

driven off the field by the Teamsters Union's ambulatory pickets, UPRR

hired a whole lot of security guards specially trained in

strikebreaking.... Those guards escorted their city trucks, to protect

them from picketing and/or attack...

That cost UPRR a hell of a lot of money in the short term...but, in the

long run, it worked...

OVNT stayed in business, the freight kept moving, the strike gradually

lost it's effectiveness, (even a

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