New Collection Open for Research Roy Lee WIlliams papers, 1974-1983

Submitted by LHRC on Thu, 07/19/2012 - 08:46

The Roy Lee Williams papers are now open and available for research within the Teamsters Labor History Research Center.

Roy Lee Williams served as Teamsters General President from May, 1981 to April, 1983. Early in his union career he served as President of IBT Local 41 and Joint Council No. 56 in Kansas City, MO. In 1955 he was elected trustee of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund, and in 1976 he was appointed Director of the Central Conference of Teamsters. During this climb up the union ranks Williams became deeply involved with organized crime, and he also formed a close relationship with Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa.

Williams was elected Teamsters President shortly after the death of Frank Fitzsimmons in 1981. At this time he was already under investigation by the Federal government for his connections with organized crime, specifically to Kansas City Mafia man Nicholas Civella. After being convicted in December, 1982 of conspiring to bribe Nevada Senator Howard Cannon in connection with a proposed trucking deregulation bill, Williams resigned his presidency. For his cooperation with other investigations Williams only served three years in prison, and died in April of 1989, shortly after being released.

The collection is comprised of files from Williams’ Kansas City office produced during his tenure as Teamsters President. The largest portion of the collection is correspondence, mainly with IBT employees, joint councils and union locals, and transportation companies. Also included are case files from Williams’ bribery case (as well as other cases), reports, financial information, General Executive Board meeting material, and subject files on such topics as trucking deregulation and out-of-work benefits. Completing the collection are a variety of miscellaneous materials, including news articles and paper clippings, materials from the inauguration of President Reagan in 1981, holiday cards, and drafts of the International Teamsters magazine. For more information please see the electronic finding aid available here

Image Caption: 

Excerpt from protoype for a new IBT quarterly magazine - Box 18, folder 8