Teamsters Local 237

65 YEARS OLD AND GOING STRONG

65 YEARS OLD AND GOING STRONG

The year was 1952. In the U.S, the average worker earned $3,400 per year. 2 out of 3 families owned a car. 2 out of 3 families had a phone and 1 in 3 households had a television. A new car cost $1,700 and gas was .20 per gallon. Chopped meat was .53 per pound. The average new house cost $9,050 and the average rent was $80 per month. Testing continued on the atomic bomb and the first hydrogen bomb was detonated. The first mechanical heart is used on a patient and the Polio vaccine is invented. Emmett Ashford became the first African American substitute umpire in major league baseball and Perry Mason, Lassie, Wagon Train, 77 Sunset Strip and the Lone Ranger were some of the shows viewers watched on their 21” inch black and white console TV, costing $339.95. ‘Singing in the Rain’ and ‘The African Queen’ were box office hits and ‘The Caine Mutiny’ remained on the New York Times best seller list for months. Jo Stafford’s “You Belong To Me” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” topped the record charts. MAD magazine printed its first edition and Mr. Potato Head and the Joe Palooka Bop Bag were among the most sought after toys. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise opened that year as did the Holiday Inn. New York City installs “Don’t Walk” signs and the bar code gets a patent. Former World War II General Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, bests Democrat Adlai Stevenson to become President following Harry Truman.

But that’s not all that occurred in 1952. In May of that year, Teamsters Local 237 was chartered. Its first President was Henry Feinstein. Throughout the years, other divisions of municipal workers in New York City and on Long Island were enfolded into the Local to comprise almost 24,000 members in nearly every government agency today, making 237 the largest public employee Local of the Teamsters in the nation, Canada and Puerto Rico. (The entire timeline of Local 237’s history can be found on website: www.local237.org. A poignant, personal account by retirees, known as the Oral History Project, also appears on the website.)

then and now

Gregory Floyd, the current President of Local 237, elected to office in 2007, and also the Vice President-at-Large on the General Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has said about Local 237: “When you think about it, 65 years is a long time to keep anything going, let alone, going strong. Across our nation, labor unions have seen a dramatic decline in membership — to only 11% today. Union bashing and union busting are rampant, with public sector members often portrayed as greedy, incompetent workers who abuse the system. Somehow, many have forgotten that unions fought for working families so that they could enjoy a better quality of life. Unions built the middle class in America. And it is public employees who help to run and maintain services and facilities upon which millions rely — our schools, hospitals, the Housing Authority and homeless shelters — to name only a few. But, throughout 237’s history, we’ve had to fight many battles on behalf of our members and retirees. We’ve had many accomplishments, among them: Lobbying for legislation to protect our members; providing health and pension benefits for active members and retirees; and ending gender-based pay discrimination. Today, we are still faced with many challenges, but we are well-prepared to fight with the vigor and commitment that has become synonymous with Local 237 throughout our history. We are proud, and should be, because, at 65, we’re still going strong.”

Then and Now

On June 17, Local 237 hosted an OPEN HOUSE for members, retirees and their families, to mark our 65th Anniversary. You can visit www.local237.org to see all of the photos of the festivities.

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