|Hoffa Cements Lead With Growth Promises|
|Key Words||Teamsters, union growth, layoffs, organizing, union locals, strike, pay, net assets|
James P. Hoffa, son of legendary Jimmy Hoffa, is likely to win the Teamster union leadership election in late 2001. That would give him a five-year term (to add to the two years he has already served). Mr. Hoffa promises tremendous growth in the union, as well as political independence and financial stability. His opponent, Tom Leedham, wants centralized organizing efforts and tougher contracts.
The toughest promise for Hoffa to keep will be increasing the size of the union. Membership has fallen from 1.55 million in 1990 to 1.4 million in 2000. The main culprits appear to be layoffs of union workers, the transfer of business abroad, and the loss of the near-monopoly on delivering automobiles to dealers. Critics of Mr. Hoffa also allege that the local organizing efforts of the Teamsters could be better coordinated.
Mr. Hoffa counters that he has helped union locals organize fuel, dairy, and car haulers. He has also mounted a strike against Overnite Transportation Co., which carries the loads of multiple clients on one truck. He is organizing with other unions and plans to increase cooperation between the locals and the union's headquarters.
On other issues, Mr. Hoffa has increased the union's net assets significantly, although they could be used up in an aggressive organizing campaign and in paying for the election and government oversight. However, he vows to reduce the pay of the top union officials. Politically, Mr. Hoffa is reaching out to Republicans, not just Democrats, in an effort to have them listen to what organized labor wants.
(Updated July 1, 2001)
|Source||Carlos Tejada, "Hoffa Likely to Get 5-Year Teamsters Reign," The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2001.|
Return to the Labor markets
©1998-2002 South-Western. All Rights Reserved webmaster | DISCLAIMER