March 13, 2009

Hoffa: Strengthening the unions will help the economy

Posted: 10:32 AM ET

By James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Multinational corporations and their front groups are launching a furious attack on the Employee Free Choice Act, which was introduced this week in Congress.

Hundreds of corporate lobbyists flew into Washington to make their case. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on anti-union advertising, with much more to come.

Several hundred workers also came to Washington to support Employee Free Choice. At least one worker who was fired because he wanted to join the Teamsters had never flown on an airplane before.

We have a number of allies who support Employee Free Choice, including religious groups, Nobel Prize-winning economists and leading U.S. corporations such as Levi Strauss and American Electric Power. They believe, as we do, that strengthening unions is the way to rebuild America.


Filed under: Economy

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Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 11:20 am ET

Do unions .... start companies with their own money and brains, does the union pay the salaries of employees, does the union pay for the benefits the employees have, is the union concerned whether a profit is made (GM & Chrysler), will the Union threaten to strike to shut a company down...on and they target and try to intimidate to go union... this is what I seeming. This is not the "unions" I grew up with...they are no better than politicians....and the rest of these political activist groups... equate them with ACORN....votes so that the unions have more money to bribe our politicians.

All this damage control..screaming in congress...and you guys would never intimidate an employee...ha...people are tired of are after the 1 or 2% of direct deposit employee salary...and taking the right of the company to fire an employee.

Didn't they just have a blowout at a $400 a night exclusive hotel in Miami...Joe Biden gave a speech there where the media was not allowed to cover....Warning...Warning. This guy's last name is Hoffa..I rest my case...

Amanda Roche   March 13th, 2009 11:34 am ET

Yes, unions may be good, but that is something I would not know. I live in New York, and in my experience with the Teachers' union, I know that when the matter is serious enough to compromise the Board of Education, the Teachers' union sides with the Board of Education. The union failed to protect me against the despotism of the school Administration. The Teachers' union, for the most part, fails to protect teachers, and teachers know this but keep silent for fear of losing their jobs. Teachers know what it means to complain about the oppression and supression of the school Administration. In essence, teachers pay the union to put a rope around their necks. Do you know that I wrote to the President of the Teachers Federations so many times, asking her to help me, and I never received an acknowlegement from her? It was as if I had sent my letters to a ghost. Do unions help? Not always! My son recently lost his job. 25% of the working population had to be layed off. Those who were working less than two years were the first to go. My son was among one of the 25%. He was an excellent worker. Never missed a day of work, or arrived late for work. He worked on holidays when called. He worked on Christmas day and Christmas Eve, while many called on those days to say they were sick. Many of the workers whose jobs were saved by the Union are less than desirable workers, slackers who feel they can do as they want, because they have a union to protect them. So, the bad apples are kept because of seniority, not because of efficiency and great job. Is that really helping an ailing economy? If you think keeping inefficient workers will help the economy, then there is something wrong with that ratinale. Unions must change their priority and begin to think about keeping workers who earn keeping their jobs.

Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 11:37 am ET

I am sorry that my previous blog was so verbal...I's because I am sick of the politics of it...we have a financial crisis that there is not even a bill presented yet by the Treasury and it's March 13th...pork bills them now..don't read...sign them..and our elected officials have to deal with a another cram through bill from the union... another activist group..the union rules to form a union are in place...they are just fine...they don't need to be revised.

Right now we need to scrutinize anybody slapping up a bill in congress.... we need to think like American taxpayers....because all costs trickle down to the consumer one way or another.

Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 12:31 pm ET

Mr. King....Please ask Mr. Hoffa....

Did Nancy Pelosi and her crew put in the Pork Bills... that work contracts go to Union companies and non-union companies still have to pay union dues to get a contract? Aren't all companies American... who does that benefit?

Are Nancy Pelosi and her crew allowing illegal aliens to work on jobs in these pork bills...they removed the program to check if they are citizens..estimate is 300,000 will go to them?

sean brizendine   March 13th, 2009 1:54 pm ET

he would know because he's the boss.
"sean in santa rosa"

Pietro Sirianni   March 13th, 2009 3:34 pm ET

Its the American worker's right to join or form a union if he or she chooses. The republicant party should stop trying to take away our rights.

Republicants want "trickle-down" economics.
"Trickle-down" economics does not work. That is a proven fact.

If the upper class does not have money to spend (or hide in Swiss bank accounts) then the middle class will. The same amount of money will flow. The republicants can't stand the notion of having a healthy middle-class, their whole party is geared towards the wealthiest 5%. Its time for them to pay their due like the rest of us.

Harry   March 13th, 2009 3:54 pm ET

The CEOs & CFOs of Corporate America are taking the country down. NOTHING...I repeat NOTHING is going to get better as long as UNCONTROLLED CAPITALISM is at work.

Everyone including the White House is focussing only on Housing & the Financial crises, which is only a SMALL part of the problem.

Many decades ago AGRICULTURE was outsourced and destroyed (Eliminating jobs)
A few dcades ago MANUFACTURING was outsourced and destroyed (Eliminating Jobs)
Ten years ago SERVICES started to be outsourced and destroyed (Eliminating Jobs)
In addition what little business that is left in America is ALWAYS routed to the BIG companies, eliminating more and more smaller does this happen...through directives from CEOs & CFOs to consolidate primarily to improve their bottom lines so that they can pay themselves MILLIONS...At what cost?... MILLIONS OF JOBS in many many related fields.
Wealth is migrating to the TOP and will continue to do so until it is too late. Everyone is not smart enough to be a MBA, a Doctor, an Engineer, a Phd, a scientist where do the rest fit in...your guess is as good as mine.

I am extremely frustrated as I have suffered due to the above for 10+ years. I work for a Small (40 employee) company and have consistantly lost out to the BIG guy even though we have a proven track record and the will to perform. Who and where do companies like ours turn to? I love this country but I only see DOOM & GLOOM no matter how much positive spine you like to put. Yes there will be $ 5.00 per hour jobs aplenty.

Next year I have to change my car ...and I have promised myself that it WILL be AMERICAN MADE.
Every AMERICAN must DUMP companies that contribute to sending work overseas or companies that reward CFOs & CEOs that eliminate jobs through consolidations and their business practices of only patronizing other BIG companies.

I hope my message does not fall on deaf ears. The MATH just does not add up.

THE FIRST JEW MINISTRY   March 13th, 2009 4:38 pm ET

Dead Larry,
If Rush Limbaugh before CPAP had made his Larry King joke about Mohammed and Islam he would be mark for death for blasphemy. Now, either Rush is announcing that he is the antichrist or there is no antichrist according to the Bible. He has set himself as God, in this well intended joke.

The sad part about this is, that everyone in that room at CPAC claims to be a Born-Again Conservative Christian, and not a Liberal on their way to hell. Also is the Republican Party now, the Party against God, and the Bible in America who can laugh at blasphemy against the name of GOD?

Charles Linder Floyd

simonsays   March 13th, 2009 4:58 pm ET

It's a global economy. American workers are competing with workers all over the world to produce the cheapest and most reliable products. GM is going down the drain because of mis-management and excessive pay and benefits to unions. They can't compete cost-wise with the Japanese or Koreans. They build better cars for less money. That is why when Honda and Hyundai build factories here in they US to produce cars they end up in the south in right to work states. THESE ARE AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS. It's just $33 per hour compared to $78 per hour in Detroit. Many Americans are taking pay cuts to keep there jobs. The unions would rather run GM into the ground than give up anything to save their jobs. There are a lot of umemployed Americans that would love to be making $33 per hour.

Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 5:10 pm ET

Pietro.... Americans can form a union in any company in the country...if you are an American you learned this in history class in high school...the balloting is secret by the employee...why is that a bad thing. Ask yourself this question...why would anyone make this an issue...for who's benefits?

Sean..."he would know because he’s the boss".... no he is the son of a crooked union boss....Jimmy Hoffa. His Dad spent 10 years in jail and held the position with the Union that this man James Hoffa holds. However, his fathers body has never been's believed the Mafia put him in cement somewhere. The apple cannot fall too far the tree...because this man, James Hoff, knows all about corruption and runs in his family. He just thinks he talking to a crowd who doesn't know American history.

Pietro Sirianni   March 13th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

It is bad because the process of collecting and tallying the votes is the hands of the company owners who have a vested interest in not having unions at their shop. Let the process be open and transparent. If Bush could steal two presidential elections I'm sure self-interested corporations can steal union elections with no problem at all. That is not democratic process.

GM ruined itself by mismanagement and overpaying executives. The unions had nothing to do with it. Why is Ford doing well? Ford is a union shop?

Face it girls your day is done. The republicant party is divided, its de-facto leader is an obese, drug addict, radical whom 80% of the country looks at as a joke. The middle class will be held down no more so that the wealthy can stick it to them dry.

Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 5:55 pm ET


Obviously you have not done reading on the unions and the past horrors, the Mafia haven't taken American History...the process is open and transparent. Due to abuses and harassment of employees and even death for those opposed in the past. Laws were past so that would never happen again. Read up on James Hoffa's dad...Jimmy Hoffa....

Pietro.....Simon is an American and is exactly right on the money. He explained it well and you are wrong. GM was screwed over by the unions not wanting to make concessions in a crisis and thus needed bailout money...we have to be competitive. Ford has the same problem...but their union made concessions.

Pietro's 3rd paragraph...Again you are just spewing anti-Capitalization rhetoric. using "Palin" attack mode.... "you day is done"...that sounds like almost Jihad rhetoric...these quips don't work anymore..can't frighten us......everybody is over the "historic" election.... we are American Taxpayers who are united and in this group pretty intelligent.

Terry, TX   March 13th, 2009 6:52 pm ET

Pietro...there you go again...
....the "Palin" attack mode refers to someone who goes ballistic over meat to their writings
....there is no such thing as the Mafia
..... always say republicants in your writings. just wants Obama's socialism policy to technically you picked the wrong can you compare Jihadist terrorist to Rush... those who strap children with bombs and cross borders to blow up markets, mosques, restaurants in the name of Allah.
...Do you realize we have a peaceful transition of power in this country when we change Presidents....and that we have the right to complain but we should never worship anyone in power. Whoever is in power is fair game whether you voted for him not...we are allowed without fear to state our opinions. Don't mess with the American taxpayer and their constitutional rights.

Jay   March 13th, 2009 7:06 pm ET

American CEOs are sending jobs to poor countries, and exploiting their labor and enviromental laws, the workers are fifty cents and hour from being slaves. Maybe unions can stop this exploitation.

ed,vancouver canada   March 14th, 2009 1:25 am ET

what is wrong with a union?
if there were no unions the rich would stomp all over the working class for their own benefit.
here are some union people.
GM and CHRYSLER workers
airline pilots
if everyone had a non union job at minimum wage,the tax base would be gone,
medical would be paid by who?
without unions,and walmart wages the u.s. would be bankrupt.
the biggest benefit to unions is the government.
the entire country should sign up.
never mind the global competition,it's third world.
sokmething stinks
must be the chinese gyproc

Pietro Sirianni   March 15th, 2009 1:01 pm ET

Good point ED.
Lets start paying pilots, cops, firemen, and teachers minimum wage and see what happens. The republicants would love that.

Glo   March 15th, 2009 10:34 pm ET

I believe the American people should have the opportunity to form or join a union. The Employee Free Choice Act would be good for America. However, a person would be taking a risk because joining the union would never be declared as a reason for termination, they would just choose another "legal" reason to get rid of the employee. How could it ever be proven otherwise???

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