Teamster History Quiz Answer Sheet

1. How soon after the formation of the IBT did reformers challenge an incumbent president? Two years. A slate of reformers narrowly lost against Cornelius Shea in 1905. In 1957, reformers ran against James Hoffa. They lost, but lawsuits over the election led to a board of monitors being put in place to oversee the IBT.

2. Which Teamster leader was beaten and nearly killed by opponents?
In 1908 Shea was nearly killed by opponents in New York City. TDUers Pete Camarata and Steve Kindred were attacked at the 1976 Teamster convention. Tony Provenzano, head of New Jersey Local 560 and a mob associate, was known for having opponents beaten and killed.

3. Which Teamster leader likened himself to a Roman emperor? At the 1986 Teamster Convention in Las Vegas, Jackie Presser was carried into the sumptuous Eastern Conference party by men dressed as Roman gladiators. Hoffa’s assistant Dane Passo was expelled from the IBT for attempting to make a sweetheart deal covering 1000 Teamsters.

4. Which are victories won by TDU?
All of the above.

5. During which Teamster strike were 21 people killed and 416 injured?
The Chicago strike of 1905, which started as a sympathy strike for workers at department stores and soon spread. The employer association provoked the strike. They prolonged it as a way to retaliate against the Teamsters for using sympathy strikes and for their efforts to turn the Chicago transit system into a public service rather than a private business.

6. Was TDU the only group to put forward the proposal that Teamster presidents be directly elected by the membership? No. In 1905, Michigan Teamster George Innis proposed the referendum vote. It was voted down at convention but Innis continued to campaign against undemocratic practices in the union. TDU put the right to vote on the floors of the 1976, 1981 and 1986 Teamster Conventions. When the Justice Department moved to put the IBT in trusteeship in the late 1980s, TDU intervened and made the case for the right to vote for IBT officers. It finally became reality in 1989.

7. When was the first time that a Black Teamster served on the General Executive Board?
1976. During the 1971 Teamster Convention, Black members and officers raised concerns about the fact that there were no Black IBT representatives or GEB members. In 1976, at the next convention, the Teamster officialdom appointed John Cleveland from Washington D.C. Local 730 to the GEB. Interestingly, they created a new position on the board rather than move aside any of the white GEB members.

8. When did the first woman serve on the IBT GEB?
Not until 1991, when Diana Kilmury was elected with the Ron Carey Slate. The most diverse slate to run for IBT office was the 2001 Tom Leedham slate.

9. Which Teamster president brought about the following changes in our union?
Ron Carey. He also eliminated regional conferences that were used as giant parties for highly paid officials.

10. What was the group that called itself BLAST?
BLAST, the Brotherhood of Loyal Americans and Strong Teamsters, was a goon squad used to attack dissenting Teamsters. One such attack occurred at the 1983 TDU Convention. BLAST was directed by Richard Leebove. When questioned about BLAST violence against TDU, IBT President Jackie Presser took the Fifth Amendment. This became part of the racketeering case.

11. In which years did UPS Teamsters strike for better contracts or against serious problems?
All of the above: * New York Local 804 wildcat strike of eleven days (1970). * New York Local 804 three- month strike over full-time jobs (1974). * Central States wildcat strikes (1976). * Northeast strike, in 15 states for 13 weeks (1976). * Philadelphia Local 623 strike over harassment (1978). * Rochester, N. Y. walkout over harassment (1978). * New Jersey Local 177 strike (1979). * National one-day walkout over increase of the package weight limit (1994). * National strike over full-time job creation, pension and other issues (1997).

12. What was the RISE program?
RISE was the Teamsters’ internal anti-corruption program. In 2004, its entire staff resigned in protest over the Hoffa administration’s obstruction of their investigations. RISE stood for Respect Integrity Strength and Ethics.

13. Who is the only Teamster President that never made a living as a rank and file member? James P. Hoffa. As an attorney, he represented employers as well as unions. This quiz first appeared as part of a workshop on Teamster history for attendees of the 2003 TDU Convention. If you would like the full version, contact the TDU office at (313) 842-2600.

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