As we previously discussed, James P. Hoffa left the Teamsters building after 23 years as the international president. Incoming president Sean O’Brien took office on March 22, and he has promised to rejuvenate the deep-pocketed union amid decreasing membership, down 9% in 2020 and currently standing at about 1.3 million members.
O’Brien, who has described himself as “militant,” could very well get strike-hungry in a big way. That could, as some fear, lead to conflict when the Teamsters’ current UPS contract expires in 2023. In other words, O’Brien holds the ability to trigger freight logjams, as was the case in the 1960s when Jimmy Hoffa controlled the U.S. trucking system. UPS employees haven’t gone on strike since 1997, but never say never, and O’Brien has made no secret of his desire to organize Amazon, something for which the AFL-CIO has taken notice and expressed a desire for Teamsters partnership.