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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection includes the papers of Jim Hamilton, an active member of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), Local 688 in St. Louis, Missouri, who held various administrative roles in the union and advocated for rank-and-file reform. It includes correspondence, convention reports and publications, flyers, newsletters, meeting notes, constitution proposals, newspaper articles, contracts, and color photographs.
Background
Jim Hamilton was a taxi driver in St. Louis, Missouri and a member of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), Local 688. He was also a charter member and first recording secretary of the Public Service Workers in Columbia, Missouri, and in 1972-1973 he participated during the Teacher's Union Local 420 strike. As a shop steward for Local 688, he implemented changes such as providing written copies of shop meeting minutes to all member taxi drivers, and called for reform within the Labor Health Institute (LHI), which was a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) that benefitted members of Local 688, in addition to helping workers write grievances and negotiate contracts. He was also a delegate to the city-wide shop conference in 1978, where he advocated for improving working conditions for taxi drivers by negotiating with airport administrations. His leadership laid the groundwork for his campaign for Shop Secretary Treasurer of Local 688 in 1981, for which he ran among Bob Matthews, candidate for President, and Jesse Mize and Bufford Logan for Trustees, on a program of maintating union democracy, using militant action against companies by way of strikes and boycotts, fighting race and sex discrimination within the union, and opposing anti-labor laws. He consistently advocated for maintaining democratic leadership within the organization, and in 1981 campaigned to serve as a "delegate for change" at the International Teamsters Convention to attempt to build a rank-and-file movement within the Teamsters to reinstate membership control, freeze due fees, and promote membership control over political action and union politics. He also ran to serve on the Political Education Committee for the Teamsters Local 688 to suggest a separate political party that would advocate for workers rights and collaborate with other organizations including the St. Louis Coalition Against the Draft.
Extent
1.67 Linear Feet
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Availability
There are no access restrictions on this collection.