Reynolds, left, was active on the regional and national Teamsters stage and a staunch supporter of Washington, D.C., Teamster Local 730 president John Cleveland, right, and Cleveland’s candidacy for International Vice President as the first African-American to sit on the Teamsters International Executive Board.
May 10, 2012 | Legendary local Teamster leader Paul Baynard Reynolds, who passed away earlier this year at the advanced age of 102, was remembered in a dedication ceremony immediately following the May 6, 2012 monthly membership meeting at Local 355's Salisbury, Md. office. With nearly a dozen Reynolds family members from near and far in attendance, a plaque honoring his works and his memory was unveiled and the Salisbury Hall named The Paul Reynolds Meeting Hall.
Reynolds was founder and former president of Teamsters Local 876, a local that merged with Local Union 355 in 1984. He was a powerful inspiration to past and current Teamsters - a fearless labor leader during the early, and at times violent, years of struggle for union recognition by thousands of abused and underpaid men and women working in the Delmarva region.
Mr. Reynolds' organizing successes not only increased the ranks of his own local to more than 5,000 members by the 1950s, they also included the unionization of more than 10,000 poultry workers in Maryland and Delaware. He founded the Maryland Chapter of Teamsters (now Teamster Joint Council 62) and served as its president until his retirement in 1972.
Mr. Reynolds' commitment and contributions to the Teamster organization earned him the admiration and respect of members and leaders alike. In a written statement to the family, Secretary-Treasurer Dave White, who was out of town on union business with President Denis Taylor and Recording Secretary Bill Alexander, said: "In the short time I had to know Mr. Reynolds, I learned a lot just watching and listening as he worked. He was eager to teach anyone who would listen. But I also know that he had a love for the labor movement, and if he thought you did not share that feeling, you were not going to get anything from him…Having the Salisbury Hall dedicated to you is one small way for us to honor your legacy and say thank you for the lifetime of work you did for so many thousands of workers."
Vice President Erv Williams told the family in his closing remarks, "Mr. Reynolds' legacy will live on in the very building that represented fairness and justice to thousands of workers organized under his leadership. He will forever be remembered here."
Read more about Paul Reynolds' life and legacy in "A Profile in Leadership." More story and photos in the next issue of Local 355 Union News.
Bob Reynolds (center, with Local 355 Business Agent John Caparatta, left, and Vice President Erv Williams), a former Local 355 vice president prior to his retirement, and the only surviving son of Mr. Reynolds, traveled from his home in Georgia to join other family members for the dedication ceremony.