PRESSER, WlLLlAM E. (14 July 1907-18 July 1981) was a labor organizer and an influential Teamster union official who played a key role in the union's growth. The oldest of 6 children of Benjamin and Yetta Presser, William was born in Cleveland where he attended local schools until he was 16. Presser had numerous jobs during the depression, and by 1939 was employed by several local unions to recruit members. Through intimidation and threats, Presser gained control of the Cleveland area's jukebox and vending machine operations in the 1940s by organizing its distributors into associations where prices were fixed, and exclusive territories were allocated to the members in order to eliminate competition. He completed his monopoly by establishing a union for the workers who serviced the jukeboxes and vending machines and negotiated their wage increases with the same association members he controlled. Association and union dues gave Presser a sizeable income which increased as he expanded his operations. He joined the growing Teamsters Union in 1951 bringing his unions with him, and two years later, with the support of James Hoffa, he was elected president of the Ohio Conference of Teamsters and Joint Council 41. Under his leadership, its membership grew from 23,000 to 100,000. The subject of several federal investigations for labor racketeering, Presser served a brief term in prison in 1961 for destroying evidence and was fined $12,000 in 1971 for illegal shakedowns of local businesses. Presser's growing influence in the Teamsters culminated in his election as Vice President for the International union in 1967, a position he held for the rest of his life.
On 15 Jan.1928, Presser married Faye Friedman, and they had 4 children: Jack (see JACKIE PRESSER†), Marvin, Toby (Mrs. Bernard Bader), and Ronald. William Presser died in Cleveland.
Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 04:50:14 PM
James Neff. Mobbed Up: Jackie Presser' High-Wire Life in the Teamsters, the Mafia and the F.B.I. (1989).
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