Hoffa Establishes Procedure for Potential Raids on AFL-CIO Unions

August 5, 2005: On July 26, one day after James Hoffa pulled the Teamsters out of the AFL-CIO, the Teamster General Counsel sent a notice to all Teamster locals establishing a procedure to be followed if any local desires to raid an AFL-CIO affiliated union.

This statement appears to point in a dangerous direction. Instead of coming out squarely against raids, it provides a procedure to potentially initiate them, and even hints at a suggested reason: claim another union has a substandard contract.

We hope Teamsters, Teamster officers, and other Change to Win unions will urge Hoffa to adopt a solidarity policy. Every AFL-CIO union should do the same.

The directive to locals states that “…we did not disaffiliate for the purpose of raiding AFL-CIO affiliates at already organized job sites. In this regard, if you are planning any organizing activity in connection with a bargaining unit already represented by a AFL-CIO affiliated union, you must follow the following procedures prior to engaging in further activity:

1. Submit a letter to the General President which sets forth the name of the targeted employer; the location of the targeted employer; the current bargaining representative of the unit; and your reasons for targeting the unit (e.g. adversely affecting the area standards).

2. Courtesy copy the letter to the IBT Legal Department.”

The statement reads quite differently regarding Change to Win unions: it says there shall be no raiding or interfering with the organizing drives of those unions.

The new policy was sent out over the name of IBT General Counsel Patrick Szymanski.

What the Teamster raiding policy will be in practice remains to be seen. Hopefully, the IBT will quickly arrange no-raid agreements with all AFL-CIO unions. We need solidarity with other unions and other workers, regardless of where their leaders line up on the AFL-CIO split.

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