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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Chauffeurs Warehousemen and Helpers of America is one of the largest trade unions in the world It was first chartered as the Team Drivers International Union in 1899 The name was changed to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 1903 The Teamsters came about like other unions because workers were not protected from economic exploitation or from the consequences of illness disability or unemployment The Teamsters enabled employees to participate in many types of political activities and to protect themselves by political and economic means The membership consists of about 17 million people in such different fields as transportation warehousing health care office management and construction as well as many workers in the bakery dairy brewery and food-processing industries The Teamsters is the only union that represents every craft of workers in the airline industry The union also represents a growing number of public employees especially ones working in prisons One out of every ten union members is a teamster The union is organized into five area conferences that help some 700 locals in the US Canada and Puerto Rico with regional contracts and negotiations Their Headquarters is in Washington DC Unlike other labor unions the Teamsters union is structured to promote strong local unions and strong local leaders Since the locals negotiate most Teamster contracts and provide most of the services to the members At the unions headquarters in Washington DC the International Brotherhood of Teamsters supports local unions with coordination of national contract negotiations political action and organizing 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 The local Teamster representatives negotiate with the management of a company for contracts that guarantee union members fair promotion policies health coverage job security paid time off pay levels and raises and other benefits The negotiating process starts
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