’97 UPS Strike Anniversary: Victory Fueled by Member Involvement

August 16, 2007: Labor expert Michael Schiavone credits rank-and-file mobilization and the influence of Teamsters for a Democratic Union with winning the 1997 contract victory at UPS.

“With this being the tenth-year anniversary of the Teamsters’ historic strike with United Parcel Service (UPS) it is a good time to revisit the strike and determine how it was won,” says labor writer Michael Schiavone, the author of Unions in Crisis? The Future of Organized Labor in America.

In a lengthy, investigative article for WorkingUSA: the Journal of Labor and Society, Schiavone writes that the Teamsters won a superior contract in 1997 to Hoffa’s “Best Contract Ever” because the Teamster leadership built power through “militancy, union democracy and rank-and-file intensive tactics.”

“The Teamsters adopted these tactics in a large part because of the influence of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). In 2002, the Teamsters, with James Hoffa, Jr. in charge, employed a top-down campaign, with little rank and file involvement.”

Schiavone warns that, “there is a real possibility that the next UPS agreement will also be substandard,” but adds there is reason for optimism.

“If the rank and file pressure the Teamsters hierarchy for a greater say in the UPS negotiations, there is still hope for a good contract,” Schiavone writes.

Click here to read: “Rank-and-File Militancy and Power: Revisiting the Teamster Struggle with United Parcel Service Ten Years Later.”

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Teamsters Say It's Time to Deliver on the Dream

TDU members are commemorating Martin Luther King Day with a national day of action to demand that UPS respect the day as a paid holiday and by telling employers it's time to deliver on the dream.

Lame-Duck IBT Leadership Appoints Tony Andrews to Replace Aloise

The IBT General Executive Board (GEB) has approved the recommendation by James Hoffa to appoint Tony Andrews as International VP for the Western Region, over the dissent of president-elect Sean O’Brien and nearly half of the GEB members.

View More News Posts