If your only connection to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is falling asleep during the first 90 minutes of The Irishman, think again. The Teamsters are one of the largest labor unions in the United States and their 1.4 million members include not only truck drivers but also construction workers, farm workers, public defenders, zoo keepers, bakers, airline pilots, and, in our case, garment workers that made the t-shirt you see above.
Earlier this year, I was looking for blanks for Heddels printed tees and that ended up being a much more difficult task than I expected. As you may know, one of the standards we try to achieve when featuring a product is that the people who made it had safe working conditions and were paid a fair wage for their labor.
It’s nigh impossible to determine if anything you didn’t make yourself was actually produced “ethically”, but two of the best markers are if the item was made in a country with strong labor laws and it was made by unionized labor. So I didn’t feel like we could slap our logo on a $2 Gildan that was made in a developing nation sweatshop. Nor could we use a blank from one of our niche brand favorites without having a printed tee run north of $100.
So when I happened across the above shirt, made in USA, by unionized workers from cotton that was grown, spun, and knit in USA, and it was a reasonable price, I thought it was too good to be true. So I ordered a few different models and this tee is everything I could hope for and more.
It’s heavyweight with a dense knit, the cut is a bit boxy but fits slim when sized down, the details are sparse (save for a woven label with the Teamster crest), and the construction is as solid as what you’d expect from that moniker. If I had found this tee during my Great White T-Shirt Review, it would’ve taken home the value pick hands down.
However, this tee is not available for direct consumer sale…UNTIL TODAY! These were designed to be printed as work tees (I’m guessing for other union workers that had it in their contracts to wear union made uniforms) so the only place you can find them is price-locked wholesale. But that didn’t stop us from buying a bunch and making them available to you. While these are the tees we’re going to use for prints (more on that later), I think this shirt is too good to not just put it out 0n its own.
It is what it is. Available for $22 at the Heddels Shop.
Update: Ok, so y’all are more into these than I thought! Very cool. Lemme order some more.