TDU History

How the Reform Movement Has Changed the Teamsters Union (1976-1979)
In 1976 the Teamsters Union was in big trouble. Union leaders had allowed organized crime to infiltrate the highest levels of the union. Read more.

Winning the Fight for Democracy (The 1980s)
The 1980s were a difficult time for working Teamsters. They were years of economic recession, freight industry deregulation, and concessionary bargaining. Read more.

Rebuilding Teamster Power (1991-1997)
Rank-and-file Teamsters won the right to vote for top Teamster officers after a decade-long fight led by TDU. In the 1990s members used that right to elect new leaders and change our union’s direction. Read more.

The Fight to Save Our Union (1998-2007)
After the UPS strike victory in 1997, the Teamsters stood at the forefront of the American labor movement. But there were tough times ahead. The coming years would see Ron Carey’s reform efforts as IBT President ended and the restoration of old-guard leadership at the IBT. Read more.

2006 Teamster Election Archive
Reports and stories on the 2006 Teamster Election and the organizing efforts of Teamster members to elect the Tom Leedham Strong Contracts, Good Pensions Slate. Visit the archive.

2011 Teamster Election Archive
Reports and stories on the 2011 Teamster Election and the organizing efforts of Teamster members to elect Sandy Pope for General President of the IBT. Visit the archive.

More Teamster and TDU History


Teamsters & The Right to Vote

September 25, 2014: Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and the Teamster leadership, already heavily penetrated by the mob, became more and more a tool of employers.

Remembering Pioneers of Teamster Reform

April 8, 2014: Three Teamsters who helped blaze the trail for Teamster reform have passed away. They had vision, courage and determination and put solidarity ahead of self-advancement.

Remembering Steve Kindred

My friend Steve Kindred passed away last month from cancer.

This has been quite a personal loss to me, and I know it is to many of you as well, because Steve was known and loved by many TDU members and supporters.

Steve was a founder of TDU. Not just a founder, but one of initial spark plugs for this movement. He put his whole self into our cause: his ideas, his energy, and his heart.

A History of TDU

In 2005, the Journal of Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy published an authoritative essay by law professor Michael J. Goldberg, entitled Teamster Reformers: Their Union, Their Jobs, Their Movement.

Happy Birthday: TDU Turns 37

September 19, 2013: On September 18 in 1976, a small group of courageous Teamsters met in Kent, Ohio, to form Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). They had little going for them except guts, principles, and a vision of a union driven by rank and file power.

How TDU Won Contract Rights for All Teamsters

September 11, 2013: Teamster members do have power and democratic rights when it comes to voting on their contracts. It was not always this way. But Teamster members united through TDU to win key rights at contract time.

Teamster History: How the "Club" Changed Our Union

November 26, 2012: It started in the mid-1970s, with an organization called PROD, the Professional Drivers Council. PROD collected hundreds of LM-2 financial reports on Teamster locals, joint councils and the International and began to analyze them, tracing all the multiple salaries, family connections, and more.

Women's History Month

March 14, 2012: TDU celebrates the contributions of Teamster women to our union and to labor struggles for social and economic equality.

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