Hansen’s History

Herb Bailey was Teamsters’ softest touch

From the June, 1990, Rocky Mountain Teamster
By Jim Hansen
Herb Bailey was the softest touch I ever knew. He would borrow money to lend people money.

Word came from California recently that Bailey, 80, had died. To someone who hadn’t seen Bailey in more than 20 years, the thought of his death was incomprehensible. He was a larger-than-life character when he was secretary-treasurer of Denver Teamsters Local 775 back in the 1960s. He had survived two serious automobile accidents during his union career. Bailey was one of several colorful personalities involved in the Teamsters Union in Colorado in those days. All were dedicated, effective unionists who were pioneers in building the union.

Among them were Bud and John Salter, who built Local 13 into a rock solid construction local; Paul Ashcraft of Local 537, a salty veteran of the controversial milk strikes after World War II; Alex Rein, a top amateur boxer from Globeville who led Local 435 after the death of his predecessor, Danny Ryan; Charlie Lindsay, the Teamsters’ political guru who headed Local 452, and Dick Rhodes, the old semi-pro baseball catcher who served as secretary-treasurer of the bread drivers.

And there was Guy Downing, longtime leader of Local 17, and Harry Bath who had come on the scene as president of the Line Drivers.

Strong-willed and independent, these Teamster leaders were often at odds with one another, but there was never doubt that an employer’s fight with one of them was a battle against all.

Bailey’s Local 775 was a taxicab and automotive local plagued by a small membership in a volatile industry. The problem for Local 775 was not so much endurance as it was survival.

However, although Local 775 operated on a shoestring budget and Bailey’s salary was modest, I never saw him refuse to lend a five, ten or a twenty to a member in need. If the utility company was going to shut off power to a member’s house, Bailey was on the phone, pleading with the company to give the member a few more days. He was also known to make an installment payment now and then for a person in need.

Big as a bear and blustery as a March wind, Bailey was the quintessential soft touch.

There was a time when a young employee of the Joint Council, strapped by family medical bills, was running his car on bald tires. He couldn’t afford new ones – or even recaps or used tires, for that matter.

Bailey, the father of three grown sons, knew the kid had three young children. He worried about their safety, as only Herb Bailey would.

“Hey, kid, let’s take a ride,” Bailey said one day. He persuaded the young man to drive him to a tire company that had a contract with Local 775.

When they arrived, Bailey told the service manager to put four new tires on the kid’s car.

The young man protested. “But, Herb, I can’t pay for the tires.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Bailey.

The kid fidgeted and sweated in the summer heat as the tires were put on his car. He wondered how he was going to get out of there without signing for years of after-hours part-time work as a tire buster.

When the car was finally equipped with the new tires, Bailey paid the bill, telling the cashier that it was good to be dealing with a union company.

Embarrassed, the kid mumbled a thank you.

“Forget it, kid. You can’t drive your kids around on those baldies,” Bailey said, closing the topic for conversation.

Herb Bailey was an unforgettable man in many ways, but I will always remember him for his huge heart.

Thanks again, Herb, for the tires. So long, friend.

Harry Truman was friend of labor

From the January, 1973, Rocky Mountain Teamster

Harry Truman will always be remembered by labor as a friend.

It may well be that the opposition of President Truman to anti-labor legislation spelled the difference between victory and defeat in the 1948 campaign.

In the eulogies broadcast and printed this week, Truman’s courage has been cited, his decisiveness in critical hours has been commended, and his willingness to assume final responsibility has been noted.

Labor will remember these virtues too.

But one issue in the 1948 campaign will be remembered by labor union members as especially significant.
Truman has a place of honor in union history because of his opposition to the Taft-Hartley Act.

He had vetoed the infamous legislation only to see Congress override him.

Certain provisions in the 1947 act were intended to weaken the impact of unions on national politics and the influence of unions on industry.

One provision prohibited union contributions for political purposes.

Another made it illegal for a union to refuse to bargain.

Another subjected strikers to injunctions.

To unions, the Taft-Hartley Act restrictions meant a loss of the hard-won legislative provisions of the 1930’s, a threat to the collective bargaining process.

The Democratic Party platform of 1948 contained a plank calling for repeal of the act.

Truman campaigned on a promise to make good on the party’s platform.

After his election, Truman put forward a program to restore the conditions prevailing under the Wagner Act, legislation favorable to union organizing and collective bargaining.

Although Truman was saddled with a conservative Senate and the stresses of the post-war years were seen by the opponents of unions as an opportunity to return the country to the conditions that prevailed in the 1920’s, he never yielded in his determination to remain faithful to his campaign promises.


Study reveals corporate tax freeloaders

Reprinted from January, 1975, Rocky Mountain Teamster
A number of major U.S. corporations have made millions in profits but paid no Federal income taxes, a Congressional study has found.

Rep. Charles A. Vanik (D. Ohio) made the report on a study prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation with assistance from the General Accounting Office staff.

“In the tax year 1973,” Vanik said, “I found that 10 corporations, with total profits of approximately $976 million, paid no Federal Corporate income tax.

“I found that another 20 corporations, making $5,285,555,000 in profits, paid an effective Federal corporate tax rate of between 1 percent and 10 percent for a total of $226,894,000 in Federal income taxes.”

Vanik pointed out that these corporations have done nothing illegal in lowering their tax rates, “they have simply taken advantage—quite effectively—of the multitude of tax subsidies which have been enacted into the tax laws over the years.”

OIL PAYS LOWEST
The statutory tax rate for these corporations is 48%, but Vanik’s study found that the 143 companies were paying 23.6 percent – less than one-half of the statutory rate. Oil companies generally paid the lowest rates.

Following are the 10 major corporations that paid no Federal income tax in 1973 followed by the major corporations that paid less than 10 percent:

“This study again dramatically proves that the Federal tax subsidies provided to giant corporations significantly reduce or even eliminate their Federal tax obligations,” Vanik declared.

“In 1974, during economic hard times, corporations are crying for tax relief.

This study is a reminder that many giant corporations already pay little or nothing in Federal income taxes and that across-the-board industry tax breaks will only add to the list of profitable corporate tax free-loaders.”

The Ohio Congressman, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that he found most disturbing about this study and ones conducted the two previous years is that “the 100 largest industrial corporations have shouldered less and less of the Federal tax burden.”

For the industries studied, the average effective Federal corporate tax rate was 29.6 percent in 1971, 29.3 percent in 1972 and 27.1 percent in 1973.

:Someone else is making up the difference — and that someone is the individual taxpayer and the small businessman,” Vanik said.

In his report Vanik provided tables showing how the average tax rate of America’s leading corporations declined between 1972 and 1973.

Despite a major increase in profits of nearly $7 billion or 25.8 percent, tax payments rose only $740 million or 10 percent.

Another table shows how the burden of supporting the Federal government has increasingly shifted to the individual taxpayer—individuals who frequently pay a higher rate of tax than the profitable corporations for whom they work.

“Mr. Speaker,”Vanik said, “there has been no increase in tax justice.”

“Tax reform is still the priority for the 94th Congress.”


How does Trump agenda compare with Nixon’s?

Reprinted from November, 1969 Rocky Mountain Teamster

Every Administration has its own tone and the Nixon Administration after a slow start has taken on its own coloration – conservative business-banking.

For a time it appeared that Nixon had no hard and fast domestic program all ready to put into effect despite the fact that he had been running for the Presidency for 20 years and presumably had worked out his answers to most of the nation’s problems.

He created numerous councils and committees to advise him on the issues and even now has appointed a series of Task Forces to advise him on the course that the nation should take in the 70’s, which lie ahead.

Yet, already he has pretty well charted the course that he wants the nation to take under his administration.

THE SUPREME COURT: The President’s two nominees, Judges Warren E. Burger and Clement Haynsworth, Jr. clearly come from the conservative wing of the Judiciary, in the Haynsworth case it’s more than well-documented in the field of labor-management relations and civil rights.

The President himself has made it perfectly clear that he intends to remold the Court in a far more conservative spirit than the Warren Court which aroused so much conservative ire.

INFLATION:
The President has surrounded himself with conservative, business-oriented economists and bankers and has readily made the war on inflation a major priority of his Administration.

Despite soothing reassurances to the contrary to organized labor, jobs are to be sacrificed, are already being sacrificed by cuts in the Federal budget and a deliberate slowing down in the economy.
How far Nixon will go in accepting unemployment remains to be seen, but his closest advisers have warned that as much unemployment will be accepted as is needed to halt inflation.

Under the last Republican Administration, that of President Eisenhower, unemployment hit 7.4 pct. at one point and was 5.5 pct. when Eisenhower left office.

BUDGE CUTS: As part of his drive on inflation, the President has called for sharp cuts in the Federal budget, military as well as civilian, notably many of the social services.

How far the latter cuts are purely budgetary and how far they respond to Republican dislike for many of these services is anyone’s guess.

There can be little doubt, however, that from the conservative view the two go nicely together.

STATES RIGHTS: The Nixon Administration has repeatedly made it clear that it wants the emphasis on many programs to be placed on the States rather than on the Federal Government.
It has supported State authority in such fields as industrial safety, training programs for the unemployed; Federal contributions to the States without any strings and a softening of the school integration drive by the Federal Government in the South where State’s Rights are a shibboleth.

TAX REFORM: The President avoided the problem of Tax Reform as long as he could, eventually coming up with a program of minor reforms and averted eyes for the major ones.

When the House came through with a fairly strong reform bill, the President found it too harsh on business. He sought to restore tax benefits and take them away from middle-income taxpayers.

LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS: The President and Secretary of Labor George P. Shultz have adopted a hands off policy with respect to labor-management conflict, at least for the present.
This is something that both labor and management have called for in the past, so both sides are satisfied.

His refusal to go in for wage-price guidelines also has met with favor by both sides.

However, both Shultz and Housing Secretary George Romney have clearly sought to by-pass the apprenticeship system in the building and construction trades.

As yet, the President has made no appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, long the target of the business community.

The kind of appointment he makes will go a long way in establishing his attitude toward NLRB decisions of the past.

Obviously the Nixon Administration is bound to have a great similarity in its general philosophy to that of President Eisenhower.

After all, Nixon was Eisenhower’s Vice-President for eight years.

Nevertheless, there are important differences.

Eisenhower was largely content to let the country continue pretty much along the course that it had been following for many previous years.

The Nixon Administration, on the other hand, is far more “activist” and apparently determined to change the nation’s domestic course, to fashion it more along the lines of conservative Republican philosophy.

To that end, it would turn the clock back.


Teamsters back full employment, health care, labor law reforms

Reprinted from August, 1976, Rocky Mountain Teamster

Our 2.2 million-member Teamster Union closed out its 21st convention here after adopting a wide-ranging program which called for full employment, national health insurance, and liberalized labor legislation.

The 2,300 delegates adopted resolutions which:

  • Urged support for the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment bill.
  • Called on Congress and presidential candidates to explicitly endorse the Kennedy-Corman health security act.
  • Called for a national energy policy that would assure reasonable prices for energy while encouraging increased competition, the use of new energy sources, and reasonable use of energy products.
  • Urged Congress to review the Landrum-Griffin Law with the aim of “curbing judicial excesses.”
  • Renewed an effort to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act and replace it with legislation modeled after the Wagner Act.
  • Called for repeal of Section 14(b) of Taft-Hartley which invites open shop states to enact “right-to-work” laws.

(Details on some of the convention’s significant actions appeared in our June issue.)
The delegates overwhelmingly reelected President Frank Fitzsimmons, Secretary-Treasurer Ray Schoessling, and 15 incumbent vice presidents. They also approved creation of a new vice presidency and elected General Organizer John H. Cleveland to the post. Cleveland, President of Washington, D.C. Joint Council 55 and head of Local 730, is the first black elected to the board.

Robert A Georgine, President of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Dept., addressed the convention. “The time has come,” he said, “for us to really join hands and to work together and forget about the little problems that we may have between us.”

Labor Secretary W.J. Usery, Jr., received sustained applause when he told the delegates that “when it comes to representing their members, Teamsters leaders are always prepared and professional.” Usery, a member of the Machinists, said that “even though I don’t have a Teamsters’ book, I belong to this club because I believe in it.”

The delegates also heard from Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago and other speakers.

The Teamster constitution was amended to provide increased benefits to members on strike, to set a dues structure based on two hours’ pay per month, to increase per capita payments from local unions, to provide pay hikes of 25 percent for board members and to raise the President’s salary to $156,250 per year.

The convention vigorously opposed deregulation of the trucking industry, labeling the Ford Administration idea “vicious and destructive.”

On a resolution dealing with grand jury reform, the delegates called for extending the Bill of Rights to the grand jury chamber and protecting the grand jury system from overzealous prosecutors. During the debate on the resolution, Fitzsimmons charged that the Teamsters Union and its leaders have been harassed by grand jury indictments and government inquiries.

“I’m in receipt now of a subpoena to appear in Washington, D.C., as a few others on this rostrum are, on the same thing as we’re discussing here,” Fitzsimmons told the delegates.

Fitzsimmons was not specific, but the reference may have been to a joint inquiry under way by the Labor and Justice Departments into alleged irregularities in the union’s Central States Pension Funds. Usery, questioned by reporters following his speech, said his visit “in no way will….compromise” his agency’s investigation.

On energy, the union also called for building a natural gas pipeline in Alaska similar to the oil pipeline now under construction.

The delegates voted to continue support of the international union and the Western Conference of Teamsters in efforts to organize and represent farmworkers.


Observations and Bitterness

Reprinted from the June, 1960, Rocky Mountain Teamster

(These things occurred to us as we watched the circus antics of the political parties on television recently, antics which the two political parties refer to as national conventions.)

Let us get one thing straight about labor’s relationship with the Democratic party. Let us get it straight despite the passionate love affair that the likes of George Meany, Walter Reuther, James Carey and David McDonald have going for Jack Kennedy.

A Democratic platform magnanimously referred to by Democrats as the “Rights of Man” and framed in Los Angeles two weeks ago, is the fourth promise of Democrats in the last 13 years to repeal the obnoxious features of the Taft-Hartley Act.

Following the 1958 congressional election and a huge Democratic majority, the prolific promises of the Democratic Party to union labor were delivered in reverse with passage of the Landrum-Griffin bill. The Democratic nominee for President, Jack Kennedy, was one of the chief architects of this bit of reverse English. And, in 14 years of congressional service, Jack Kennedy has been responsible for only one piece of major legislation – the (Kennedy)-Landrum-Griffin Act, which the Democratic Party’s “Rights of Man” now promises to water down.

– AFL-CIO leadership stirred too vigorously in the Kennedy love nest in Los Angeles and found Lyndon Johnson from “right to work” Texas snuggled comfortably under a twig.

Sad that these martyrs – Meany, Reuther, McDonald, and Carey – suffering from the shame of Jimmy Hoffa, should have endeavored so strenuously for status, only to have it tarnished when the Johnson spurs of reaction were dug so vigorously into the ribs of liberalism.

And this is the era of the Status Seeker.

– Placate your sympathies that Jack Kennedy got swept up in the inflationary price of the Democratic nomination. Interest on the remaining Kennedy fortune will quickly replace the $1 million the nomination cost the rich Kennedy family – thanks to the tight money policy of the Adminstration Kennedy now pledges to replace.

– Back to the “Rights of Man.” Vice Presidential Nominee Lyndon Johnson has pledged to support the Democratic platform in its entirety. Says the “Rights of Man” – “We will repeal the authorization for “right-to-work” laws…” This should be the true test of the promise-vs-performance ratio which has been dangled so luringly before organized labor since Section 14(b) of Taft-Hartley was incorporated so long ago. If Lyndon Johnson campaigns for repeal of Section 14(b) of Taft-Hartley which would strip even Texas of its state law outlawing union shop, we will, of course, be forced to eat a huge helping of crow.

– By the time you receive this issue of the Rocky Mountain Teamster, the Republican convention will be history. Our prediction is that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller will have a lot in common with Adlai Stevenson. Adlai and Rocky seem to occupy that strange place in political history in which a minority of delegates flout the popular will of the nation’s voters.

– And to those of us who find the two presidential nominees distasteful, perhaps the words of someone, whose name escapes us at the moment, are apropos:

“The apathetic and indifferent do not make a nation’s history.”

– And at last it can be said that Texas has settled for second place.

– Any labor plank in a Republican Party platform will sound hollow, indeed, considering that Republican Senate Minority Leader Everrett Dirksen introduced – just before congress adjourned for the conventions – a bill which would strip unions of the right to bargain collectively when a company arbitrarily abolishes jobs, and would forbid unions the right to strike to protect the rights of workers so displaced.

– To hear the Republican speakers tell it, there is a money tree in everyone’s back yard, prosperity is here for everyone, and no one in his right mind needs more in wages and fringe benefits. But, this is the year of promises, and promises do not buy groceries at the super market nor do they please the landlord when the rent comes due.

– And, except for a few of us foolish die-hards, is there anyone who didn’t know six weeks before the conventions began that Nixon would be the Republican nominee and that Kennedy would head the Democratic ticket?


Professor sees altered union structure as white collar workers outnumber blue

(Reprinted from the September 9, 1960, Rocky Mountain Teamster)

The large unions of the future will be multi-industry unions and will be dominated by white collar workers, in the view of two University of Illinois sociologists.

This was the picture drawn in speeches before the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association of Professors Benard Karsh and Solomon B. Levine.

“The United States has become the first industrial society in which white collar workers outnumber blue collar workers,” Karsh said. He pointed out that the number of professional and technical workers rose 60 percent and clerical workers rose 11 percent between 1952 and 1959.
Semi-skilled workers declined five percent and un-skilled laborers almost 12 percent in the same period.

Karsh added that census projections indicate the proportion of professional and technical workers will rise 50 percent in the coming decade with lesser increases in other white collar categories and continued declines among the blue collar workers.

He said that “explosive changes” in labor force technology and in the organization of men and controls within industry promised to yield an industrial system as different from the present as this one is from the 19th century.

Ewan Clague, U.S. Commissioner of Labor Statistics, in a speech to New Jersey labor and management representatives, predicted a 40 percent increase in the number of young workers in the labor force during the 1960’s.

The demand for skilled workers will increase, Clague said, but there will be less demand for un-skilled labor.

As a result, he concluded, “it is possible that substantial unemployment could exist side by side with labor shortages.


‘Reactionaries’ block minimum wage

Reprinted from the January 1973 Rocky Mountain Teamster

Labor leaders leveled bitter attacks at “reactionaries” in Congress and the Nixon Administration after the House of Representatives refused to send its minimum-wage bill to conference with the Senate.

The House, through a team up of Republicans and Southern Democrats, voted 196-188 against the motion to let the House’s version of a minimum wage hike to be subjected to a conference with a Senate passed measure.

Representative Carl D. Perkins (D.-Ky.), Labor Committee chairman, who lost an earlier try at getting the bill to conference, feared the latest rebuff would kill minimum wage legislation for this session.

The Senate bill, backed by labor, would raise the present $1.60 an hour minimum to $2.20 over two years and extend coverage to six million more workers, including domestics and state and local government employees.

The Senate also would raise the minimum for factory-farm workers to $2.20 over three years. The House bill would raise the overall minimum to $2 an hour.

It would not extend coverage or increase the farm workers minimum. It also includes a provision sought by President Nixon to let employers hire 16- and 17- year-old youths at a special $1.60 wage.

AFL-CIO President George Meany pointed out that opponents of a “decent minimum wage” required a guarantee that this sub-minimum would be in the final bill approved by Congress as the “the price” for allowing the House bill to go to conference.

“We rejected this outrageous demand,” Meany said. “It is obvious that it would do nothing to improve the American standard of living. Rather it would subsidize America’s worst employers, who would fire fathers to hire sons and pocket a 40-cent-an-hour differential.”

Promising that the AFL-CIO “will not let this issue drop,” Meany said the death of minimum wage legislation is a clear reason why unions must work for the defeat of reactionary members of the House who voted for the Administration’s intolerable position.

In other developments:

President David Seldon of the American Federation of Teachers blamed the Republican leadership in the House, supported by the Administration for keeping the House bill from conference. He charged that the situation exposes the “true plans for working people if President Nixon is re-elected.”

President Jerry Wurf of the State, County and Municipal Employees characterized the House’s hold-back as a “slap in the face” for public employees.

He also said the major blame falls on the GOP in the House and “the anti-labor forces who dominate the Executive Branch of government under Richard Nixon.”

Representatives John Dent (R-Pa.), a strong opponent of the youth sub-minimum, said that “conglomerate restaurants” were the main lobbyists in the House to prevent a conference.

He identified “McDonald’s hamburger shops” as the chief contact for all of the conglomerates opposing the Senate bill.


Teamsters to Negotiate Farm Workers Contracts

Editor’s note: This is another in the ongoing series of historical items reprinted from earlier editions of the Rocky Mountain Teamster.

January, 1973

Teamsters union officials pledged the full support of the IBT by General President Fitzsimmons, have decided to re-negotiate a contract with some 170 growers under which about 30,000 farm workers harvest and process crops in various parts of California, Arizona and Colorado.

The decision came after the leaders of unions in a half dozen western states, along with Conference Director Einar Mohn and President Fitzsimmons met at the Conference headquarters in Burlingame with three members of the Roman Catholic Bishops Committee.

For some time these clergymen – Bishop Joseph Donnelly of Hartford. Conn., Msgr. George Higgins of Washington and Msgr. Roger Mahoney of Fresno – have been striving, without success, to resolve issues dealing with organization of agricultural workers.

The meeting enabled all parties to join in a general discussion of the farm labor situation.

Bishop Donnelly emphasized his Committee’s interest in reaching a peaceful solution and, in this, all Teamsters agree.

He stressed that his Committee was strictly non-partisan — not partial to any one union-but conceded its mediation efforts had produced no results.

Moreover, they could offer no assurance that further delays and discussions would produce results.

A day before the Burlingame meeting Fitzsimmons, during an address to the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Los Angeles, reiterated his belief that bringing farm workers under the National Labor Relations Act would “bring peace to the fields in A1nerica!”

Fitzsimmons was critical of the Fann Bureau’s generally bad “track record on labor legislation and urged the growers to make “some drastic changes in attitudes which were developed in the 19th century and have survived modern economic approaches.”

Dealing directly with the boycotting of lettuce by the United Farm Workers, Fitzsimmons reminded growers that “90 pct. of all lettuce grown and harvested in California and Arizona is handled by union workers, and only nine pct. of this by United Farm Workers.”