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Teamster History: 1923, Man of Principles

Posted: May 28, 2015

“In order to progress we must keep up with the times. We cannot remain tied to a post. Men who are chosen as leaders, either for the local or the International, must lead and not fall behind. We are paid to advise and counsel, and, if necessary, insist upon a progressive onward march within our unions and we must do as other successful International Unions are doing, instill into our organization new thoughts, ideas and practices so that as time goes on we will continue to progress as other unions.” --Dan Tobin, International Teamster, 1923During the turbulent 1920s, Tobin emphasized several policies to the membership that he believed to be the underpinnings of his leadership.

First, Tobin was very careful about Teamster participation in sympathy strikes, boycotts or other struggles undertaken by other unions. He wanted to make sure he understood the cause and the ramifications of the disputes clearly and he wanted to know exactly what was being asked of his Union.

Second, Tobin was convinced that union strength lay not only in a healthy membership but also in a healthy treasury. To this end, he supported raising the per capita tax from the local.

Finally, he implemented specific rules for approving strikes by the locals, thus having more control of strike benefit usage.