by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU)
Dec 6 1998 USA Teamsters for a Democratic
Union (TDU), the rank-and-file reform movement founded in 1976,
urges reporters and other observers to measure Jim Hoffa's performance
in office as Teamsters General President against his own lofty
promises made during the campaign.
The following list is drawn from Hoffa's
statements in the press, at the 1996 Convention (action plan currently
posted on his web site), and in his platform that was published
on page 31 of the October/November 1998 campaign section of the
Teamster magazine. A fuller description of each item follows the
Dealing With Corporations
1) Make UPS deliver the 10,000 new full time jobs won in last year's strike;
2) Organize Overnite Transportation;
3) Negotiate a good contract for Teamster Carhaulers;
4) Take on Anheuser Busch to win job security provisions members deserve;
5) Stop the trucking part of the NAFTA trade deal;
6) Refuse to give money to anti-union politicians;
7) Balance the union's budget with no dues increase;
8) Cut and cap International Union officer and employee salaries;
9) Eliminate International Union perks;
10) Allow Teamsters the right to open debate and dissent;
11) Protect members' democratic rights within the union;
12) Continue the fight against union corruption.
Full-Time Jobs at UPS.
Hoffa has said he will unite the union to restore Teamster power.
Will he unite members in a campaign to reach out to the community
and put pressure on UPS to make the company deliver the 10,000
full-time jobs it agreed to create by combining existing part-time
positions? (These combined jobs do not depend on increased package
volume, and they are not the same as the full-time opportunities
normally created when full-time workers retire or leave the company.)
Or will Hoffa make a backroom deal that will let UPS off the hook?
Organizing at Overnite Transportation.
After more than 40 years in which old guard officials, including
Hoffa Sr., failed to organize Overnite Transportation, the largest
nonunion trucking company, where 3,650 Overnite workers have voted
since 1995 to join the Teamsters or work at terminals where the
NLRB is seeking an order to force the company to bargain with
the union. Hoffa promised members he would "organize nonunion
competition." Will he now build on the historic achievements
of the past three years by organizing the remaining terminals
and mounting an effective campaign to bring those workers under
the national freight contract? Will he build on the Overnite workers'
momentum to organize the other major nonunion trucking companies?
A Good Contract in the Carhauling Industry.
Carhaul members conducted a successful three-week strike in 1995
to win job security, wage improvements, and record increases in
pension contributions. Will Hoffa organize a UPS-style campaign
before the current agreement expires on May 31, 1999 or will he
go back to the old "get along, go along" approach to
A Good Contract at Anheuser-Busch.
After AB Teamsters got involved in a fight for a good contract
and reached out to the community for support, the International
Union and the union negotiating committee, controlled by Hoffa
supporters, pulled the plug on the campaign. The company has imposed
their "final offer" on workers. Will Hoffa accept the
concessionary deal or will he gear up the kind of contract campaign
it will take to win a fair contract for AB Teamsters?
Dealing With Politicians
Stopping the Trucking Part of NAFTA. Strong
grassroots political action by Teamsters and community allies
have stopped implementation of the trucking part of the NAFTA
trade deal, which was supposed to go into effect in December,
1995. That part of NAFTA would let corporations exploit $7-a-day
Mexican truck drivers to haul freight on all U.S. highways. The
Clinton-Gore administration is under heavy pressure from the American
Trucking Associations to implement NAFTA trucking now that the
congressional elections are over. Will Hoffa mount a rank-and-file
and community campaign to fight back?
Payoffs to Anti-Labor Republicans. Republicans
who have long carried water for anti-labor corporations worked
hand-in glove with the Hoffa campaign. In fact, testimony before
a subcommittee headed by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) confirmed
that Hoekstra's staff told a witness he should get Hoffa's lawyer
and strategist, George Geller, to draft testimony for him. Will
Hoffa now use members' money to pay off Republicans for their
campaign assistance? Hoffa promised members "political action
that delivers instead of blindly passing out DRIVE money to politicians
who do nothing for Teamsters." Did he mean it?
Reform Within The Union
"The Right to a Balanced Budget With
NO Dues Increase." At the 1996 Convention, Hoffa promised
Teamster members $100-250 per week strike benefits with no dues
increase. Will he make the cuts in officials' salaries and perks
that it will take to make good on all these promises? Will he
publish a balanced budget, as well as quarterly reports of all
income and expenditures, as he promised?
"Cut and Cap" International
Union Salaries. At the 1996 Convention,
Hoffa promised to cut the salaries of the General President and
General Secretary Treasurer to $150,000, cut International Vice
President's Salaries to $50,000, and institute a $150,000 cap
on total aggregate salaries of all International Union officers
and staff. Hoffa Slate Central Region VPs, elected in 1996, have
refused so far to cut their salaries. Will Hoffa, Keegel, and
the VPs elected on their slate who now make as much as $225,000
cut and cap their own salaries?
Eliminate International Union Perks.
Will Hoffa eliminate perks for International Union officers and
staff, such as the payment of FICA taxes, housing expenses, personal
income taxes, and unnecessary car allowances, as he proposed at
the 1996 Convention? Will he require an accurate accounting of
all International Union officers' and employees' travel, lodging,
and other payments?
The Right to Dissent and Open Debate.
Will Hoffa maintain a union "free of political terror"
with the "right to due process," as he has promised
or will the old guard begin to attack political opponents with
phony charges, crooked elections, violence, and other devices?
Will the Teamster magazine continue to publish criticism of top
officials and focus on members who are fighting for a better future,
or will it return to the fawning praise of top officers that was
its staple before 1992? Will the minutes of all GEB meetings including
a record of all action and votes be sent to all affiliates and
available to members?
The Right to Vote.
Will Hoffa preserve members' right to vote for delegates to the
IBT Convention and to directly elect all International Officers,
as he proposed at the 1996 Convention? Will appointed delegates
to the IBT Convention or any Special Convention be prohibited,
as he proposed at the 1996 Convention? Will Hoffa guarantee members
or delegates of all local unions or other affiliates the right
to vote on all mergers, charter revocations, or reorganizations?
The Right to be Free of Corruption. Will Hoffa establish a truly independent and effective Ethical Practices Committee, as he has promised, that has rank-and-file involvement and that is "composed of individuals free from political control by any administration"? Or will he set up one that is stacked with individuals he knows are not committed to fighting corruption? ###