April 22, 2006: Hoffa International Rep Rick Middleton, who also heads Los Angeles Local 572, has a little explaining to do. Middleton has invested $20,000 of members’ dues money in the notorious union-buster Wal-Mart.
Many members of Local 572 who work in the grocery warehousing and distribution industry have been hurt by Wal-Mart’s predatory practices and low wages. Why is Middleton putting their money into Wal-Mart?
Ironically, three years ago Middleton was named co-chair of a Teamster anti-Wal-Mart committee.
TDU uncovered this information on Local 572’s new LM-2 financial report, which includes a list of all investments over $5,000. Local 572 has put about $200,000 of members’ money roughly equally into the stocks of ten corporations, including J P Morgan, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and…Wal-Mart!
Hoffa and his campaign supporters like Middleton recently spread the ridiculous lie that Tom Leedham is funded by Wal-Mart. The Hoffa Campaign circulated smear materials, but did not even file an election protest let alone a complaint with the Department of Labor.
Why didn’t the Hoffa Campaign turn over its evidence? Because it doesn’t exist. The Hoffa smear about Leedham and Wal-Mart is just dirty politics—a big lie with no basis in fact.
The fact that a Hoffa International Rep is signing over members’ money to Wal-Mart is indisputable. Middletown’s own financial report with his signature on it proves it. You can review it yourself by doing a search on the DOL website for Local 572’s LM-2 (or contact TDU).
If someone tries to tell you that Middleton was just buying a share so he could get the stockholders’ report or participate in stockholders actions, let them know that one share would do the trick. Wal-Mart shares are trading at $46, not $20,000!
How about it, Hoffa. Could you ask your staff to pull Teamster members’ money out of Wal-Mart?
The data for this article come from forms filed with the Department of Labor. You can view them on the DOL website or call TDU for a copy.
Member Speaks Out
“Wal-Mart is hurting the Teamsters and all of organized labor.
“When our local officials invest thousands of dollars into Wal-Mart, it sends a mixed message to the membership. Our members should not shop there and our local unions should not invest there.
“The International should be coordinating with locals and the strategic campaigns department about appropriate and necessary investing and not allowing locals to invest thousands of dollars unnecessarily into Wal-Mart.”
Local 572, Ralphs
Click here: The High Cost of Hoffa's PR Men
Click here: Membership Declines