teamsters a-z:
New Occupations and an Evolving Image

The union began in 1903 as an organization of team drivers and others who worked with horse-drawn wagons and in stables. As motorized vehicles began to replace horse teams, truck drivers then warehousemen came under Teamsters jurisdiction. Over the next century, a wider range of occupations came under IBT representation - from airline employees to zoo workers - from A to Z.

As Teamster culture evolved to include a wide range of professions, so too did the image of the Teamster member. The quintessential Teamster tough guy truck driver, a “knight of the highway” and friend to Jimmy Hoffa, continues to change as a new generation of members, representing a wide and diverse population, adds new dimensions to the traditional Teamster image.

Side Story: Brewery Workers International Union

For most of the 20th century, the IBT and the Brewery Workers International Union feuded over jurisdiction. On numerous occasions they brought their claims to the Executive Board of the American Federation of Labor for adjudication, the AFL Board frequently siding with the Teamsters’ claim. The disputes were finally resolved with the merger of the Brewery Workers into the IBT in 1973.