Coleman Davis, Tulsa Teamster

by Michael Mason


There’s tough, and then there’s Teamster tough. With his tenacity and stubborn demeanor, C. Coleman Davis exemplified the kind of unflinching resolve it takes to lead an organization like the Tulsa Teamsters.

Davis fought for the rights of working Oklahomans. When the deceptively named “Right to Work” bill was proposed in our state, Davis fought to oppose it–but Oklahomans thought they were voting for something that would allow them to work. Most people didn’t realize they were voting to cripple the power of labor unions to protect their income and jobs. Now that Oklahoma is a Right to Work state, our workers make less money and enjoy fewer benefits: the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. As every economist can tell you, you wouldn’t have a middle class without labor unions.

According to current Tulsa Teamsters president Gary Ketchum, Davis continued to fight for the rights of Oklahomans even after he left the Teamsters. In this episode of Goodbye Tulsa, we’ll hear about the kinds of threats that Davis faced on the job, and we’ll learn about the Teamster’s long history of representing working Oklahomans.