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Teamsters Resist Hoffa's Dues Increase

by staff |
April 2, 2002
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International Brotherhood of Teamsters president James Hoffa Jr. has proposed the largest dues increase in the union's history. Right now, workers are paying the equivalent of two hours pay per month. Hoffa's proposal is to increase dues by 25%.

Hoffa made this proposal through a hand-picked "blue ribbon committee" right after he was elected to a five-year term. Before the election, the hypocrite Hoffa Jr. accused his opponents inside the union of wanting to increase dues. He campaigned on a pledge to hold dues down. In his first two elections, he went so far as to name his electoral slate the "Hoffa No Dues Increase Slate."

Hoffa's lies came as no surprise to the reform movement within the Teamsters. At the 2001 Teamsters convention, the reform candidate for International President, Tom Leedham, told Hoffa from the floor, "Be honest with the members. You have a secret plan. If you are lucky enough to win this election, your secret plan is to convene another convention and raise dues."

As he was making those charges, Leedham was shoved away from the microphone by pro-Hoffa Jr. thugs. Now it is evident that Leedham and the reform movement were right when they charged that Hoffa was lying to working Teamsters.

The reform movement, led by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (T.D.U.), is demanding no dues increase without a vote of the members. They have launched a petition drive and are coordinating the national campaign.

As Leedham predicted, Hoffa Jr. is calling a special convention in Las Vegas to vote for the dues increase. While there will be some reform rank-and-file delegates there, the convention will be dominated by union bureaucrats. The special convention is to be held in conjunction with two golf tournaments where Teamster officials will be golfing with Teamster employers.

"The biggest problem is the gross waste of the money that they are getting now," said reform delegate Richard Berg. Berg, a union steward and housekeeper at the University of Chicago Hospitals, pointed out, "Over 200 union officers currently make over $100,000 a year. That's our money, and now they want more."

Berg continued, "In the 1990's the reform movement forced old-guard Teamster officials to sell their private airplanes and give up the most blatant perks. Now these fat cats want them all back. At the last convention in 2001, they increased their daily meal allowance to $75 a day. They want us, working Teamsters, to pay for their corruption."