Reforming the Chicago Teamsters: The Story of Local 705

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

Abstract

How did the Chicago Teamsters Local 705, once notorious for corruption and despotism, become an organization that the Wall Street Journal hailed as "a model of reform"? In this compelling narrative, Bruno tells of the often violent, always contentious struggle to reform one of the nation's most powerful and independent union locals.

During the worst years, Chicago Teamsters operated under thinly veiled threats and settled differences by fistfights. Workers who questioned the powerful leadership faced physical intimidation, verbal abuse, and trumped-up charges that threatened their jobs. With the expulsion of key leaders in the early 1990s, however, a decade-long struggle for control of the union began as Local 705 cast off the old days of coercion and payoffs. Reformers encouraged rank-and-file Teamsters to choose their own leaders, and after two successive open elections, an unprecedented number of Teamsters turned out to vote in a dramatic 2000 election featuring five political slates and a diverse range of issues.

Clear and captivating, Reforming the Chicago Teamsters raises important national issues about the balance of power between large corporations and working-class Americans, the role of workplace democracy in civil society, and the ways unions can both hinder and promote worker interests.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherNorthern Illinois University Press
Number of pages213
ISBN (Print)9780875805962
StatePublished - Jun 3 2003

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