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Bob Mattingly Button Collection

Labor Buttons

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Date: Circa 1965

Place: Oakland, California

Text: Chief Steward -- Bottlers Union -- Local 896

Size and Material: 2" paper/metal

Color: black on light green

Maker: IBT ; GAU bug

Subject: International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Pepsi-Cola Company

Background: Bob Mattingly worked at the Bay Area Pepsi-Cola Bottling plant beginning in 1954. For 20 years there he served as a union shop steward. He was elected Business Representative to Teamster Local 896 in 1985, serving until 1988. He retired in 1989. He was a frequent contributor to Socialist Action, Labor Notes, and Socialist Viewpoint, writing under his own name and the pseudonym Charles Walker. He wrote about the Teamsters and other labor unions. Mattingly passed away on May 27, 2004.

(Socialist Action, July 2004; Socialist Viewpoint, July/August 2004)


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Date: ca. 1984

Place: Delano, California, USA

Text: Grapes of Wrath -- Delano

Size and Material: 1 3/8" paper/metal

Color: light blue on purple

Maker: Berkeley Lith Svc; union bug

Subject: United Farm Workers; Boycotts

Background: United Farm Workers (UFW) leader César Chávez called for a third boycott on California table grapes in 1984. Whereas previous UFW boycotts had been about farm worker conditions, this one called for a ban on five major pesticides used in grape fields. The UFW claimed in their 1989 film, "Wrath of Grapes," that the chemicals caused cancer and birth defects, and that they were getting into the ground water of surrounding communities. Chávez went on a 36-day hunger strike in 1988 to promote the boycott, receiving support from many politicians and celebrities. Later that year, city leaders in San Francisco, San Jose and Alameda County joined the boycott. UFW continued its boycott after Chávez's death in 1993, ending it in 2000 when four of the five pesticides in question had been banned and the fifth regulated.

(United Farm Workers "Wrath of Grapes" 1989; San Jose Mercury News / August 31, 1988, October 5, 1988, December 13, 1988; Associated Press / November 21, 2000; San Francisco Chronicle / November 22, 2000)

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Date: [1991],

Place: United States

Text: Teamsters for a Democratic Union; TDU

Size and Materials: 2" paper/metal

Color: white/blue on red

Maker: IAMSCO, Inc, CHGO [Chicago]

Subject: Teamsters for a Democratic Union; International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Background: Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU)was formed in 1976 from a number of reform groups including Teamsters for a Democratic Contract and UPSurge. They were reacting to corruption within the union caused by leadership being too close to businesses, as well as their alleged affiliation with organized crime and the Nixon administration. Professionals Drivers' Council (PROD) merged with TDU in 1979, bringing their lobbying and legal expertise, and new members from the East Coast and South. As a reform group within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, TDU believes in a democratic union with control resting in the membership. Their Rank and File Bill of Rights emphasizes election of union leadership, majority approval of contract votes, equality throughout the union, workplace standards and fair salaries. Over the years, several of their goals have been implemented union-wide. In 1988, Majority Rule on Contracts became part of the IBT Constitution. TDU won direct election of officers through a federal RICO lawsuit in 1989. With the election of TDU-backed Ron Carey as Teamsters president in 1991, officers' pay was slashed and financial waste ended. The TDU was active in the successful 1997 UPS strike. They supported Tyson Foods workers in Pasco, Washington in 1999 who called a strike even without IBT support. Today they continue their reform struggle against current IBT president James Hoffa, Jr., who they blame for new corruption and a loss of union membership.

(Convoy Dispatch June/July 1987, November/December 1988; Rank and File Rebellion, Dan La Botz 1990; www.tdu.org)

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Date: 1991

Place: United States

Text: Honest-Teamsters-Leadership -- Elect Ron Carey -- I.B.T. Pres. 1991

Size and material: 2 3/8" metal/metal

Color: white on blue

Maker: [union bug]

Subject: Carey, Ron; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Teamsters for a Democratic Union

Background: Ron Carey ran an independent reform campaign during the Teamsters' first direct election of national officers in 1991. President of New York Local 804, Carey won the endorsement of Teamsters for a Democratic Union at their 1989 convention despite not being a TDU member. His reform platform included pledges to end corruption and extravagant salaries to union officers, improve pension and health care benefits for members, and increase equality for female members.

Carey won the election in December 1991 against R.V. Durham. Within four months of taking office, he dismissed nearly 30 "old guard" officials drawing multiple salaries. He sold two luxury jets and a stretch limousine belonging to the union as well. Carey led a reform effort to eliminate regional conferences, saving the union $15 million a year. He was involved in major actions at United Parcel Service (UPS), Overnite, and Diamond Walnut.

He ran for reelection in 1996, defeating James Hoffa, Jr. Following Carey's leadership of the successful UPS strike, in September 1997, three Carey campaign officials pleaded guilty to improperly using union money for the campaign. Carey was removed from office by the U.S. government's receivership and disqualified from running for office. The TDU endorsed Tom Leedham in his place. However, Leedham was defeated by James Hoffa, Jr. in December, 1998.

(Convoy Dispatch, December 1989, December 1991, May 1992, June 1994, May 1995, June 1997, October 1997, January 1999; www.tdu.org)

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Date: 1991-2005

Place: Stockton, California, USA

Text: Can Walnuts Not Workers -- Boycott Diamond Walnuts

Size and Material: 1 1/2" paper/metal

Color: white/aqua on red

Maker: Classic Specialties, Inc., Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Subject: Boycotts; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Diamond Foods

Background: Diamond Walnut workers agreed to a 30 percent pay cut in the 1980s when the company faced financial difficulties. When their contract came up for renewal, the company was thriving again but refused to share profits, so in September 1991 the workers went on strike. Diamond quickly hired non-union replacement workers, and the IBT called for a boycott on Diamond Walnut products. In 1993 Diamond tried to decertify the union but the vote was overturned by the National Labor Relations Board. Discrimination against returning union workers landed Diamond in the U.S. Supreme Court. Local 601 leaders traveled the world gaining support for the strike and boycott. By October 2004, a third decertification vote failed. Contract talks began again, and in March 2005, union members ratified the new contract. It established a 401(k) plan, provided wage increases and respected seniority of striking workers. The company also agreed to provide English-language classes and machinery training. The 14-year effort was the longest strike in Teamsters history.

(Convoy Dispatch / February 1995; Teamster Magazine / June/July 2005; Modesto Bee / March 24, 2005)

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Date: 1995-1996

Place: San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Text: Bad for patients -- Bad for workers -- Vencor-Hillhaven

Size and Material: 2 3/8" paper/metal

Color: pink/black on white

Maker: UFCW Local 174, AFL-CIO [union bug]

Subject: United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Service Employees International Union; Vencor Hillhaven Corporation; Nursing homes

Background: In 1995, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) set up the Vencor-Hillhaven Family Advocates Network for the families of residents in Vencor-Hillhaven nursing homes across the U.S. The union accused the company of hundreds of federal standards violations, poor patient care, and understaffing. SEIU represented Vencor-Hillhaven workers in California, who were involved in a contract dispute.

The union reached a contract settlement in May 1996 giving Locals 250, 399 and 22 a seven percent wage increase, as well as establishing a worker-management committee so workers are "given a voice in patient care."

(Tampa Tribune / Dec. 16, 1995; Sacramento Bee / May 30, 1996)

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Date: 1997

Place: Oakland, California, USA

Text: IPA/Teamsters -- Strength through Unity -- Contract '97

Size and Material: 2 3/8" paper/metal

Color: gold/blue/white on black

Maker: GCIU [union bug]

Subject: Independent Pilots Association; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; United Parcel Service Strike, 1997

Background: Negotiations over the 1997 UPS contract, which covered 185,000 Teamsters, focused on workplace safety and injuries, as well as the overuse of part-time workers who received no benefits. Talks began in March led by Teamsters president Ron Carey and UPS representatives, with rallies around the country in April and May. The Independent Pilots Associations (IPA), representing 2,000 pilots who fly for UPS, pledged their support for a strike. That August, union members walked out for 16 days, with the IPA honoring picket lines. They ultimately agreed to a new five-year contract that provided raises for both full- and part-time employees. The company also agreed to limit subcontracting to non-union firms. A tentative contract between UPS and IPA followed in January 1998.

(Northern California Teamster, June, August, October 1997; www.ipapilot.org)

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Date: 1984

Place: San Francisco, California

Text: Emporium [with circle and slash over]

Size and Material: 1 1/4" paper/metal

Color: red/black/ on white

Maker: [union bug illegible]

Subject: strikes; retail industry; Department Store Employees Union

Background: Department Store Employees Union Local 1100 went on strike against Macy's in San Francisco on July 7, 1984 over employers' concession demands. The Emporium-Capwell locked out its Local 1100 employees three days later in an attempt to divide the union. Employers proposed a two-tier wage system, reduction in health benefits, and a 2 per cent wage increase over three years. The union responded with loud picketing at three stores. However, the stores won an injunction prohibiting the union from picketing in front of store doorways and from using any noisemakers except their voices. The strike ended in August, 1984 with a contract agreement that included many of the concessions but a larger wage increase.

(Socialist Action / August 1984, September 1984)

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Date: ca. 1993

Place: USA


Size and Material: 2 1/4" paper/metal with blinking lights

Color: white on red

Maker: AFL-CIO [union bug]

Subject: North American Free Trade Agreement

Background: Many labor unions, environmental groups and human rights watchdogs opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement. They sought protections of wages and working conditions for workers in all three affected countries -- the United States, Canada, and Mexico -- as well as requirements that foreign companies invest in public works programs.

While the U.S. government claimed NAFTA would increase jobs, many corporations instead quickly moved operations to Mexico where the peso was devalued and workers were already underpaid. Layoffs in the U.S. nearly doubled in NAFTA's first two years, while workers' rights complaints went largely unheard.

(NAFTA: A No-Win Choice for Workers / Nat Weinstein / 1993 [originally appeared in Socialist Action]; Challenging 'Free Trade' in the Americas: Building Common Responses -- Country Report: United States. Canadian Labour Council / 1996)

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Page created by Shannon Sheppard, MLIS
Allyson Eddy Bravmann, MLIS candidate
Romy Ruukel, Photographer
rev. 01/22/09