50th Anniversary of the Master Freight Agreement

January 15, 2014.   Today is the 50th anniversary of the National Master Freight Agreement, first signed on this date in 1964.  It covered 400,000 Teamsters and was the culmination of decades of organizing, starting with the courageous Minneapolis strikers of 1934.

It was also the high-water mark of Jimmy Hoffa, who came up from the streets of Detroit and fought his way to the top of the Teamsters Union, with the help of the mob. He was later convicted of crimes against the members in two separate jury trials. One was for selling out carhaulers and then bribing the jury, and the other was for using the Central States Pension Fund for personal gain.

In Hoffa’s last interview in 1975, he emphasized the importance of national contracts and strategies, and attacked the Teamster leadership for flying around to resorts instead of organizing more master contracts. He was right.

TDU celebrates our Teamster history, and what our union has done for members and the country, and we learn from our history.

The decline of the NMFA came from a number of sources.  Attacks from corporations, the deregulation of 1980 set the stage. But the cruelest cut was the abandonment of trucking Teamsters by none other than Hoffa’s son: James P. Hoffa.

He has abandoned freight, UPS Freight, and carhaul Teamsters. He has rammed through weak contracts, divided members, and done nothing to organize in this center of Teamster power. He came in to office 15 years ago bragging that “the Hoffa name means power.” 

It did mean power in 1964.  Today it stands for PR.  Tom Leedham calls it “celebrity business unionism” and he’s right.

Click here if you are fed up with concessions and ready to stand up for change in our union.

Today, on this 50th anniversary, we call for Hoffa to stand up for freight Teamsters. A start would be to defend the 26,000 YRCW Teamsters, who have done their part by rejecting the shredding of their contract.  Don’t walk away and abandon them. Take a pro-active approach to bargaining with YRCW and with their banks and creditors, to save their contract and their jobs. Do your job.

Today, we call upon Teamster members to do something else. It is just two years until there will be delegate elections to nominate a new General President.  Nominations in most locals will be in January 2016. Are you ready to start now to lay the basis to be a delegate to the 2016 Convention?  We need hundreds of delegates, to nominate a slate of candidates who have the principles to take this union in a new direction.

It will not happen from above, it will start in the locals – in your local – with you. We are ready to help.

Click here if you are fed up with concessions and ready to stand up for change in our union.


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