September 1, 2009: The Hoffa administration continues to threaten the employees who work at the Teamster headquarters, who are bargaining to try to avoid concessions.
Their latest threat came on August 25, when Hoffa’s Administrative Assistant Ed Keyser instructed all department heads to prepare a report on how they will work behind picket lines in the event of a strike. Click here to see that memorandum.
This follows previous threats, including a July 31 series of letters threatening layoffs in mid-September, and a July 29 letter to all local unions threatening to operate normally in the event of a strike. It was this employer-style letter which angered many Teamster officers and some members of the General Executive Board.
IBT employees in Washington—janitors, secretaries, and folks who work in education, communications, trade divisions, pensions, accounting, data entry and so on—belong to the office and professional union, OPEIU Local 2. Over nearly two decades they have bargained several contracts, but this is the first time the top officials have demanded such concessions.
Hoffa and Keegel ignore a basic union principle: cuts should start at the top!
When an employer asks for concessions, any good union negotiator immediately asks for cuts at the top—equality of sacrifice—before considering any cuts at the bottom.
Hoffa and Keegel each took a huge raise two years ago in the form of a bloated “housing allowance.” They have increased the number of officials, consultants, and cronies getting big money: multiple salaries paid by the IBT have gone up more than ten-fold under Hoffa. The only officials they have let go have been those who dared to think independently of Hoffa. They have special pensions that will make them millionaires in retirement. International officials get a meal allowance of $100 per day when traveling, often to resorts.