1997 in IBT History: Teamsters at UPS electrified the nation and provided a shot in the arm to the entire labor movement with their victorious strike.
“Lloyd Heidbreder Case” regarding central states pensions is successfully argued in Chicago. Victory benefits freight drivers who retired and could now seek re-employment with the State of Illinois and still draw their pensions.
February – Al Boyd retires and Keith Points is appointed to fill his term, with Mike Stout filling Keith’s unexpired term as Recording Secretary. Nate Houston is appointed to fill Mike’s term as Trustee. Organization of Illinois Attorney General’s Office is finalized.
May – Local 916 remodels headquarters in Springfield, adding additional office space, new HVAC, and a podium/stage for the banquet hall. The building is re-dedicated to Jimmy Hoffa in September, commemorating the occasion with a bronze plaque on the front of the building.
Construction industry slows again, resulting in the slowing of the economy and union organizing.
Local 916 approves a bylaws change that changes the month of nominations and elections. First Local 916 newsletter is published.
Local 916 closes its Credit Union.
July – A Retiree’s Club chapter is formed and Albert Boyd, Sr. is named president.
September – Nominations for office are held.
October – All Local 916 incumbents retain their offices in the election.
December – James P. Hoffa swears in new officers at the Local 916 Christmas party.
President Gary Sullivan and staff attend the Inaugural Event in Washington D.C. with IBT officials for President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration.
Local 916 first sponsors legislation to place highway maintainers under the state’s Alternative Pension Formula. It would not be until the year 2001 before Local 916’s maintainers would see this become a reality under the administration of Tony Barr.
Yellow Freight and Preston Trucking terminals leave Springfield.
October – Preparations begin for the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA). Negotiations result in a 3-week strike, costing IBT $30 million dollars. Local 916 has approximately 800 members effected by the strike.
The IBT is in turmoil with a nationwide freight strike pending.
July – Local 916 is placed in Trusteeship, along with a record number of IBT locals. The trusteeship would last for two (2) years, bitterly dividing the membership of the Local.
Ron Carey administration of the IBT ends, and Willie Schrader is elected as Local 916 President. His term is cut short when Carey re-takes the IBT. Schrader is replaced by Leo Carroll who brings back stability to the local.
Change of Operations is heard for ABF terminal 119, Springfield, Illinois. At the time of the change, ABF had grown to a 180 open door break bulk. The change would result in the loss of all but approximately 120 Road Drivers. The city/dock operations were shut down, leaving the 180 open door break bulk terminal empty. At its peak, there were nearly 800 city, road, and casual workers at the domicile.
June 29, 1996 – Election for Officers is conducted by mail referendum. Two opposing political slates run for election. The result is a split board with members from each ticket being elected.
The 1996 Local 916 Executive Board:
President – Willie Schrader
Vice President – Elmer Gueldener
Secretary Treasurer – Doug Swanson
Recorder Secretary – Diane Hendricks
Trustee – Tony Barr
Trustee – Tom Clatfelter
Trustee – Lou Menendez
The new officers were sworn in by IBT Trustee, Jim Powell, with the formal swearing in done by President of Joint Council 65 at the August membership meeting. The officers’ official terms begin July 8, 1996 and Local 916 is officially released from Trusteeship. A new policy/procedures manual is put into place.
James R. Hoffa picture is returned to its original place in The Hall.
July 1996 – Bill Smith is hired as the freight agent and in September John Geyston is hired as an agent to represent various paper contracts.
July 1996 – Jerry D. Banning passes away quietly at his home.
Even though 916 is operating under an elected executive board, the International under the Ron Carey administration still appoints a personal representative, Chuck Gauwitz, to oversee the executive board meetings. In October of 1996, a second IBT personal representative of Ron Carey’s, Joe Kumstar, is added to Local 916.
During the early months following the release of trusteeship, administration is difficult, particularly when trying to obtain a balance between opposing political views.
March 1997 – Leo Carroll is added to the Local 916 staff of business agents.
June 1997 – Local 916 loses the 44 members of the Champaign/Urbana Sanitary District and the 15 members of Long Elevator. The Nestle Beverage Plant in Jacksonville goes out on a three-week strike during contract negotiations over a dispute over economic issues including pension and wages.
July/August 1997 – Local 916 black tops The Hall’s parking lot. The lot had been a rock/gravel lot since the building was purchased in 1966. The resurfacing greatly improved the look and functionality of The Hall.
Willie Schrader receives a suspension imposed by IBT and the Ron Carey administration that will make him ineligible for the next election under the 24 month consecutive rule.
The IBT has its own problems as the Carey administration scrambles following the James Hoffa IBT election win, although Hoffa remains uncertified by the Government. The Carey administration removes Chuck Gauwitz and Joe Kumstar as personal representatives and appoints Terry Lovan as the personal representative to Local 916.
October 1997 – Willie Schrader returns and hires Bob Ward, long time Teamster from the IDOT Highway Department as a business agent.
January 1998 – Willie Schrader is permanently removed as principal officer of Local 916 by the Carey administration.
February 1998 – The executive board appoints Leo Carroll to fill the vacancy of principal officer until the end of the term in December 1998.
Once Leo Carroll is appointed, a balance and neutrality occurs. The board is no longer split, but equal. Carroll is able to defuse the inner conflict among board members.
April 1998 – Local 916 has its 5 year audit of the books by IBT. The audit finds that Local 916 is operating in the black and doing well. AFSCME attempts to claim the work of our members at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The dispute over the restructuring of work involves 34 Local 916 members and an election is set for June 3. The outcome is a settlement agreement with AFSCME and the Teamsters retain the members at DNR.
June 1998 – Local 916 begins holding “Quincy West” meetings for the members in the Quincy and surrounding areas. Tenneco organizing campaign begins. A petition is filed for representation of 27 workers at District 186 SCOPE school board. Tenneco is lost, but SCOPE is won at the elections.
August 1998 – Bennett Krause is hired and Local 916 places a memorial plaque in honor of former president Jerry D. Banning to hang in the front office with the inscription “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
The Federal Government finally certifies the IBT ‘96 election and James P. Hoffa prepares to take office as General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
September 1998 – The Local prepares for the nomination of officers, with the three-year term to begin January 1, 1999.
October 10, 1998 – Tony Barr’s slate is elected by white ballot. This marks the first white ballot since the election of Jerry D. Banning.
The 1998 Local 916 Executive Board:
President – Tony Barr
Vice President – Lou Menendez
Secretary Treasurer – Steve Lindsey
Recording Secretary – Mike Worthey
Trustee – Tom Clatfelter
Trustee – Jim Franklin
Trustee – Dave Shafer
November 1998 – Local 916 is finally released from having an IBT personal representative.
January 1, 1999 – Tony Barr begins his term of office.
After 33 years, a new sign is put at the front of The Hall with the Local 916 logo. The building also receives a new roof and front awnings, and “The Hall Report”, a quarterly newsletter for members, is born.
May 1999 – The front enclosure is built to guard against weather and is made wheel chair accessible.
June 1999 – A large organizing campaign begins for 327 members employed by DOT Foods. An intensive campaign is launched and goes through September with the Local allotting significant resources, but in the end, the effort fails.
August 1999 Local 916 holds its first “Annual Membership Appreciation Day” in August.
Local 916 begins an intense effort to restore the political connections it used to have with the Illinois General Assembly. A campaign to help bring about the “Alternative Pension” is launched.
November 1999 Local 916 helps bring back the Legislative Reception with the involvement of the IBT, and Joint Councils 25 & 65. This reception is for State of Illinois lawmakers with influence over policymaking that impacts labor. The turnout is so impressive, that the reception is declared an annual event.
Local 916 membership at this point has reversed its steady decline. The Local is now comprised of 75% public sector and 25% other crafts. At the end of 1979, those figures were 79% other crafts, and 21% public sector.