The Teamster Rebellion

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The Teamsters’ strike described in the Teamster Rebellion was led by Trotskyites, a renegade group of Marxist-Leninists. How radical do you think the strike was? Did it aim simply to achieve tangible, bread-and-butter goals, or did it aim for more far-reaching and drastic? In the early 1930s, the Great Depression was in full swing. Businesses were cutting wages and laying off workers in order to maintain high profits. Workers faced sweatshop conditions, low wages, long hours, and the constant threat of being laid off. The conditions of the coal industry in Minneapolis were typical for the time. In the Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs; a member of the Communist League of America and one of the leaders of the 1934 strike describes his own situation: “We were just squeaking by when I was cut to forty-eight hours a week. It was a welcome physical relief since coal heavers had to work like mules, but there was also a two-dollar cut in weekly pay…. The thin flesh of mere subsistence was being scraped down to the bare bones of outright poverty…. On top of all that, I could expect to be laid off in the spring…. And I could be fired at any time without recourse merely at the employer’s whim. (Pg.30-31)” These conditions led to massive anger. Workers were joining unions like the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in growing numbers, seeking a solution to their difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, the AFL leadership tried to win favor with the bosses by siding with them and rigging the union structures to maintain their privileged positions. But these lead to defeats for the workers and there demands. In Minneapolis workers also had to face the Citizens Alliance, an association of employers dominated by the wealthiest local... ... middle of paper ... ...4 strikes in Minneapolis inspired many around the country to fight for what was right in the work place. It was thanks to the socialists and there way of thinking that helped the Local 547 to become a dominate force in this strike. The Trotskyites and there socialist way of thinking about the working class and equality throughout social classes was a fighting point for equality in the work place. Although the Communist League of America was playing a major part in the union holding many of the top leadership positions they did not require any member of the union to commit to the league or there way of thought. So I would have to say that there agenda for the strike was to help the workers out and improve the wages and working conditions for employees and if they increased there political views it was a plus but it was not there reason for entering into the strike.
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