Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Hoffa Robs Working Teamsters

By staff

Picket line. Sign says "No Dues Increase"

Las Vegas, NV – Teamster President James P. Hoffa got what he wanted – the largest union dues increase in Teamster history. The vote at the April 30 convention on finances was not even close.

How could this be? What kind of Teamster would vote for this huge increase? Especially in the face of massive corruption and waste from Teamster bureaucrats – how could this happen?

The answers are simple. Hoffa did not let the rank-and-file members of the union vote on the dues increase.

Instead, he convened a convention dominated by union hacks. The overwhelming majority of the voting convention delegates were Teamsters who receive far more dues money in salaries and perks than they are required to pay in union dues. These parasites simply voted for money for themselves at the expense of working Teamsters.

Despite Hoffa's best efforts to silence the voice of the rank and file, a courageous opposition spoke out against the dues increase. Ashley McNeely, a Honolulu-based member of Local 2000, spoke for most Teamsters from the convention floor, stating, “A vote to raise dues is a vote to allow the International to spend even more money on pork. Instead of raising the dues for hard working Teamster members, we should vote to cut the fat for high-paid Teamster officials.”

McNeely went on to point out the huge salaries that many Teamster union officials receive. She said that by cutting salaries to $100,000 a year and limiting officials to only one salary each, Teamsters could strengthen the strike fund and have huge sums of money left over.

Some locals around the country conducted phony votes, pretending that they had an impact. From the convention floor, Chicago Local 743 reform delegate Richard Berg called for a real vote. “We believe that the rank and file should have the right to vote on this issue. The rank and file do not like the fact that union leaders sneak off to Las Vegas after an election is over to raise their dues,” said Berg.

Hoffa did his best to keep his misdeeds a secret. Unlike past conventions, he barred all press, all guests and even Teamster members from the convention hall. No observers, and certainly no cameras, were allowed onto the convention floor.

Soon Teamsters across the country will realize that Hoffa is taking an even larger chunk of their pay. Instead of strengthening the fight for better working conditions, Hoffa wants to spend even more money supporting anti-union Republican Party candidates and marshmallow-soft Democratic Party candidates.

Why? Hoffa wants his buddy George Bush to remove government oversight from the Teamsters. This oversight has been embarrassing and costly. Just recently, former Hoffa running mate Bill Hogan and top Hoffa aide Dane Passo, both from Chicago, were caught making a sweetheart deal with the Las Vegas convention industry. The deal was designed to enrich both Passo and Hogan in return for allowing hundreds of low-wage non-union workers to replace union workers on the job.

And, by the way, who owned the non-union company where the subcontracted workers would come from? None other than Bill Hogan's brother.

As Hoffa looks after himself and his buddies, working Teamsters cannot stand idly by hoping that things will get better. The union contract between the Teamsters and United Parcel Service (UPS) is expiring. UPS is pushing for a quick settlement. Next year, the truck drivers' National Master Freight contract will expire.

These real issues affect real people. The fate of our contracts and our union will have repercussions in the labor movement beyond the Teamsters. The battle of rank-and-file Teamsters to create a union that fights in the interest of its working class members will have an impact on the future of all workers.

#LasVegasNV #News #Teamsters #HoffaJr #TeamstersLocal743 #unionDuesIncrease