IBT Settles Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination

It’s been widely reported that the IBT settled a lawsuit with 13 African American and Latino organizers for $2.9 million. Settling the case avoids long, expensive litigation. What’s behind the lawsuit and settlement and what does it mean for our union’s future?

Any allegations of racial discrimination inside our union need to be taken seriously.

The 13 organizers who sued were part of a much larger group of 136 IBT staff who were let go on the first day of the new O’Brien-Zuckerman administration, in March of 2022.

O’Brien and Zuckerman campaigned on a pledge to clean house at the IBT and chart a new direction. Upon taking office, they removed and replaced International Reps, department and division staff, directors and assistant directors, and other Hoffa appointees.

This was no surprise. Hoffa did the same on his first day in office in 1999, and Ron Carey did the same before him in 1992.

The majority of the plaintiffs who filed the discrimination case first filed an election protest claiming that they had been fired for supporting O’Brien’s opponent Steve Vairma.

After the Election Supervisor rejected their protest, the plaintiffs filed a discrimination complaint claiming that their firings were racially motivated, and that the IBT disproportionately replaced them with white organizers.

The International Union points out that the organizing department is now more racially diverse than it ever was under Hoffa.

Fifty-nine percent of the Organizing Department staff are people of color; 41 percent are white.

The new more diverse Organizing Department is on the upswing. The International Union is organizing an average of 15,000 new members a year compared to an average of 5,700 a year under Hoffa.

A Strong Union Involves Everyone

TDU is dedicated to the principle that a strong union involves everyone.

This includes encouraging the hiring and leadership development of Black, Latino, women and LGBTQ Teamsters and removing barriers to them moving up in the ranks of Business Agents, local officers, IBT reps, organizers and staffs, and International Union leadership.

TDU helps members develop as shop floor organizers, effective shop stewards, and leaders in the TDU movement and in our union.

Building an anti-racist, inclusive union is the only way to organize and unite an increasingly diverse and multiracial working class and win economic and social justice for all workers.

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