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Ron Carey and the Teamsters: How a UPS Driver Became the Greatest Union Reformer of the 20th Century by Putting Members First


In this riveting account, retired UPS driver and unionist, Ken Reiman, gives us the first in-depth portrait of Ron Carey as he rose from a local union officer in the mid-1960s, to president of what was, in 1991, the largest labor union in the United States.

For many years, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was one of this country’s most corrupt unions, with close ties to organized crime. Hundreds of officers drew enormous salaries while doing no work. Pension funds were drained to build Las Vegas casinos. Ultimately many Teamster leaders were either sent to prison or killed. But because he was willing to put members first, Carey and the Teamsters were able to defeat UPS and the major trucking companies along with their many enemies in the mob, in corporate boardrooms, and in the halls of Congress. In the process Carey tangibly transformed the lives of countless workers.

Drawing on transcripts from court hearings, public records, newspaper references and over fifty first-person interviews—including several off-the-record conversations—Reiman brings us the untold story of Carey’s meteoric rise and demise.

What people are saying about Ron Carey and the Teamsters

An inside look at Ron Carey, using extensive interviews of his close advisors, blended with a Teamster member’s outside view. As much about reform efforts in the fight against mob-based corruption, as it is about Carey himself, this book recounts the story of the Teamsters’ 1997 membership mobilization – which acted as the basis for the 2023 outstanding contract campaign at UPS.”
Larry Cohen, former President, Communication Workers of America

Reiman’s book is both a history of Teamster members’ struggles to reform their union, and a guidebook for younger activists determined to revive the union movement. Ron Carey was GUILTY– guilty of fighting, courageously for over 40 years, for union democracy and against both corporate bosses and union corruption. And a jury of his peers in a federal trial made it clear that Carey was INNOCENT, of all fake, trumped up, fraudulent charges against him. Read Ron Carey and the Teamsters, the tale of one of America’s great working-class heroes.”
Bob Muehlenkamp, Teamster Organizing Director; Assistant to President Ron Carey

The ’97 UPS strike, that Ron Carey led, revived a dead labor movement with action, not bluff. Reiman shows us that Carey didn’t suddenly morph into a reformer – he was the real deal from the beginning.”
Tom Leedham, 1996 running mate to Ron Carey; former Director of Warehouse Workers

An interesting read by a working Teamster who participated in Ron Carey’s rise with a rank and file movement. And Reiman details Carey’s fall: a hard lesson in what happens when professional consultants are substituted for that movement.
Ken Paff, founding member and organizer, Teamsters for a Democratic Union

Ken Reiman’s Ron Carey and the Teamsters is a sympathetic and frank portrait of the former Teamster president who in 1997 led one of the country’s largest strikes and was then driven from union office by the powers he had challenged. Reiman has talked to everyone, read everything, and provides a comprehensive account of Carey’s life as he dealt with the challenges of the Mafia, the Teamster Old Guard, UPS, and the government. We come away having met an honest man who was ensnared in the net woven by big business, government, and the Teamster Old Guard. If he was defeated, still we admire him for having worked to create a union that fought for its members.”
Dan La Botz, founding member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union; author, Rank-and-File Rebellion Teamsters for a Democratic Union


Ken Reiman worked for UPS for over thirty-three years as both a package car driver and a preloader. He was involved in the UPS strike of 1997, and first became politically activated when he and his fellow unionists witnessed the attacks on Ron Carey by the powers-that-be. During the years following he joined Teamsters for a Democratic Union, was elected as a Business Agent for 804 Members United on a reform slate, and became the writer, publisher and distributer of his local’s newsletter, The Local Agitator. Ken Reiman is currently a school bus driver and lives with his family on Long Island, New York.

SKU: mrp0588 Categories: , , , Tags: ,

Publication Date: 04/09/2024

Number of Pages: 320

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-68590-058-8

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-68590-059-5

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68590-060-1