Hoffa-Hall and the Downsizing of the American Dream

January 3, 2014: The labor movement is launching a national effort to raise the minimum wage. But Teamster wages and benefits are bottoming out under Hoffa and Hall.

The labor movement is launching a national effort to raise the federal minimum wage to more than $10 an hour and to boost local and state minimum wages even higher.

In the meantime, Teamster wages are bottoming out under contracts negotiated by James Hoffa and Ken Hall.

Even under our largest contract for the most profitable Teamster employer, UPS, our wages are falling behind.

If UPS part-time wages had kept pace with inflation since 1982, the starting wage would be over $20 an hour today. Instead under the contract negotiated by Hoffa and Hall, many UPS part-timers will start at $10 an hour through 2018.

That’s less than the $10.10 an hour that is the target minimum wage under federal legislation that will be introduced this year.

Labor unions and community allies are campaigning for even higher minimum wages in many states and local areas. For example: new legislation just won in the two largest counties in Maryland and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum wage to $11.50—raising the pay of Teamsters hired at the Landover, Maryland UPS hub in the middle of the contract term.

Teamsters should not have to wait for minimum wage legislation in order to get a pay increase.

Other Teamsters are not at minimum wage, but their pay and standard of living is falling behind. Under Hoffa Sr., a Teamster job was a ticket to the middle class. Under Hoffa Jr, freight Teamsters have seen their pay and pensions gutted while tycoons like Hoffa appointee Harry Wilson have made millions off of the concessions at YRC.

Hoffa’s pay has ballooned to $367,864 since he took office. He’s not feeling any pinch or planning any fightback. That’s up to working Teamsters to do for ourselves and that is what TDU is all about.

TDU members will be there in the campaign to raise the minimum wage. We’ll also be organizing for living wages and against contract concessions in our own union.

Good pay, quality benefits, a secure pension and some power on the job. These aren’t supposed to be exclusive perks for top Teamster officials. In TDU, we’re working to rebuild a Teamsters Union that fights for a better future for every working Teamster.

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