Sean P. Redmond Sean P. Redmond
Vice President, Labor Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 28, 2024


A curious thing happened at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) recently when organizers for the union filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be represented by a staff union.  

However, the curiosity was not in the idea that the staff of one union would be represented by another—that’s not necessarily uncommon, which sometimes leads to bitter internecine fights between the employer-union and the staff union. Rather, what is interesting is the fact that after holding a vote, the Teamsters organizers actually voted against union representation for themselves, despite their own role in pushing unionization for employees elsewhere.   

On February 14, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (WBNG), Local 32035, submitted a petition with the NLRB seeking to represent a bargaining unit of “all full-time and regular part-time Led Organizers and International Organizers employed by the [IBT].” The proposed bargaining unit consisted of 34 individuals, but on March 21, the NLRB reported the results of the representation election, which WBNG Local 32035 lost by a vote of 16-12.

According to its website, WBNG Local 32035 is one of the largest locals of The NewsGuild [sic] international union (TNG), the largest union of communications employees in North America, with more than 25,000 members and one of the sectors in the Communications Workers of America (CWA). 

As is the case with many relatively small staff unions, WBNG Local 32035 represents employees at a variety of employers, including Agence France-Presse; the Democratic Socialists of America; In These Times; Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO; the Southern Poverty Law Center; and The Washington Post. So, adding the IBT to the list may not have seemed too out of the ordinary.  

What one has to wonder, though, is why Teamsters’ organizers did not want to add themselves to that eclectic mix. After all, union organizers’ entire raison d’etre is to convince employees to join a union, so assuming they believe in what they’re promoting, joining a union of their own ought to seem a no-brainer.  

Then again, maybe IBT’s organizers have enough insight to know that union representation is not in their best interest, which is telling. If their own preference is to remain union-free, why should anyone else buy what they try to sell? 

About the authors

Sean P. Redmond

Sean P. Redmond

Sean P. Redmond is Vice President, Labor Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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