Union Democracy Makes us Strong

The Teamsters Union belongs to the members. The more active the members, the stronger the union.

You and your coworkers have the right to:

  • Elect the officers of your local union.
  • Attend local union meetings.
  • Vote on contracts that your union representatives negotiate.

You also have the right to elect the leaders of the International Union, which includes all Teamster local unions in the U.S. and Canada.

The International Union supports locals with:

  • Coordination so that we can all work toward common goals in contract negotiations, political action, and organizing workers who don't have union protection.
  • Training and educational programs for local leaders, stewards, and members.
  • Advice and assistance from experienced organizers, negotiators, researchers, attorneys, safety and health professionals, auditors, and communications specialists.

In 1991, Teamster members in the US and Canada had their first chance in history to elect the General President of the International Union and the other members of the General Executive Board. Future elections will be held every five years.

Every five years, the members of each local in the US and Canada also elect delegates to the International Convention. The convention sets overall policy about the programs, goals, and finances of the Teamsters Union.

Trade Divisions/Conferences

The International Union has a number of Trade Divisions that provide special help for locals with members in particular industries or kinds of work. These include:

  • Airline
  • Automobile Transporters Industry
  • Building Material and Construction
  • Freight
  • Industrial Trades
  • Motion Picture and Theatrical
  • Newspaper Drivers
  • Parcel and Small Package
  • Port
  • Public Employees
  • Tank Haul
  • Trade Show and Convention Centers
  • Warehouse

There are also three trade conferences: Bakery and Laundry Conference, Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference, and Dairy Conference.

Joint Council

Local unions in a particular city or region make up a Joint Council. In some cases, Joint Councils have formed state or multi-state conferences.

How Your Dues Are Used

Your dues money pays for the Teamster programs and activities described on this page.

Dues are divided between the Local Union, Joint Council, and International Union, with most of the money used directly by the Local Union.

Each level of the union prepares annual financial reports. As a Teamster member, you have a right to obtain information about how your dues money is being spent.

How You Can Get involved

  • Stay informed. Ask your steward and local leaders for information on union activities. Read local union publications and the International Unions magazine.
  • Participate in union activities. Take an active part in union meetings. Vote in union elections. Become familiar with your Local Union By-laws and the International Union Constitution.
  • Volunteer your time. A successful union needs people who are willing not only to give ideas and make proposals but to get involved in carrying them out.