• May 24, 2018
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      Steven P. Vairma

      Steve Vairma's Column:

      Joint Council 3 states are pioneers of labor history

      Every year on the anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre we are reminded that states within Teamsters Joint Council 3 with smaller populations than their coastal and Midwestern neighbors - have nonetheless participated in events that have had significant influence on the course of American labor history.

      At Ludlow, 104 years ago on April 30, 1914, 18 innocent men, women and children were killed about 20 miles north of Trinidad, Colorado.  At the time, coal miners in Colorado and other western states were being organized by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).  The long standing organizing drive was bitterly opposed by coal companies, often in collusion with state governments.

      The Ludlow victims were killed by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards and thugs hired as private detectives and strikebreakers.  The attack on the striking miners and their families claimed the most lives in the western mining disputes, which occurred from the 1880's until the Great Depression.  At the time there was more violent labor unrest in our part of the country due to coal mining activity than in any other section of the country.

      Here are some examples:

      1892 - Coal miners strike in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.

      1886 - State militia sent to break miners' strike in Leadville, CO.

      1894 - First time in history a state militia is called to Cripple Creek, CO to protect miners' from deputy sheriffs.

      1903 - Utah coal strike begins.

      1908 - Free speech fight starts in Butte, MT.

      1914 - Colorado militia and striking miners fight at Dansville.  Six union members were killed.  15 arrested and 79 deported to Kansas two days later.

      1914 - A strike by the Western Federation of Miners is crushed at Butte, MT.

      1915 - Legendary labor leader Joe Hill is arrested in Salt Lake City, UT.  He was executed 21 months later on trumped up charges.

      1916 - Arizona copper strike starts.

      1916 - Several thousand armed vigilantes force about 1200 workers into manure-lade box cars and deported to the New Mexico desert.  The action was precipitated by a strike when workers' demands (including improvements to safety and working conditions at the local copper mines, an end to discrimination against labor organizations and unequal treatment of foreign and minority workers, and the institution of a fair wage system) went unmet.

      1917 - IWW leader Frank Little is lynched in Butte, MT.

      1927 - Picketing coal miners marching under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World are massacred in the Columbine mine massacre in the company town of Serene, Colorado.  Six strikers are killed and many more injured.

      1933 - New Mexico miners' strike begins.

      Ludlow and these other battles should remind us that our unions were fighting mightily for workers rights when the labor movement was in its infancy and had few weapons other than the enduring human desire to better one's standard of living.  It is ironic that the often deadly battles that struggling workers wond and lost gave impetus to union organizing in other more populous areas of the country.

      "Organzing the unorganized" was, of course, the credo of the early labor movement; and it still is; thankfully, though, without the bloodshed and violence of the old days.

      Click here for brochure information.


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      Current Campaigns
      • This Web page provides the latest updates for the national contract, riders and supplements that cover about 3,500 Teamsters at DHL Express.

      • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

        XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

        This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

        XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

        Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

        Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

      • This page provides the latest contract information to the 7,500 Teamsters—drivers, dockworkers and office staff—employed by ABF Freight System, Inc.

      • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

      • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

      • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

      • This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people.  What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then.  Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.

      • The Teamsters have stood in solidarity with worker struggles in other countries since our founding. With economic globalization, our ability to organize increasingly depends on our ability to build alliances with workers on a global scale.
        More than ever, Teamsters are organizing and bargaining with multi-national companies. A key objective of our Global Strategies Campaign is to build strong alliances with unions around the globe who organize and bargain with common employers. Our focus is on workers in the emerging global supply chains – the infrastructure of globalization.
        Globalization creates new opportunities for international worker solidarity. We seek common cause with workers around the world to build social justice for all workers and the communities in which they live.

      • The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. This month, the Teamsters Union spotlights some of those contributions.

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