The International Brotherhood of Teamsters will stay independent of the AFL-CIO under president Roy L. Williams, Monitor labor correspondent Ed Townsend reports. But the nation's largest union has moved to strengthen its close ties with the federation's Building and Construction Trades Department by joining in its legislative battles.
Frank E. Fitzsimmons, Mr. William's predecessor, who passed on May 6, had promised to seek convention approval for rejoining the AFL-CIO.* Williams, while holding that "the house of labor should be under one roof," let it be known that he does not think this is the time for reaffiliation. The matter was tabled on grounds that the cost -- in terms of per capita payments to the AFL-CIO -- would not be justifiable. Teamster members who make deliveries to construction sites are close allies with AFL-CIO building tradesmen, some of whom are beginning to question major federation policies. Construction unions have been pressing the Teamsters to return to the federation to offset the reaffiliation of the United Automobile Workers this fall. The Teamsters union strategy will be to try to increase the collaboration between itself and AFL-CIO's building trades -- but outside the federation.
Generally, the Teamsters' recent convention in Las Vegas, Nev., indicated a strong and possibly more progressive leadership under Mr. Williams, with aggressive organizing and lobbying and with bargaining policies that will recognize, as the new president put it, that employers "must make a buck before you get yours."