Hoffa 'Dis-Unity' Slate Splits

December 5, 2005: James Hoffa’s so-called “Unity” Slate split into competing factions as Tyson Johnson announced his candidacy for Teamster General President. Johnson is the Director of the Freight Division and an IBT Vice President from the Southern Region. Other Hoffa-slate Vice Presidents are reportedly joining the breakaway effort.

Johnson announced his candidacy in a letter to Hoffa on December 12. He and Central Region Vice President Phil Young have been working to recruit other International Vice Presidents and Teamster officials to their slate. Among the IBT Vice Presidents who have joined the Johnson effort is Tom O’Donnell, who previously announced he would challenge Hoffa for the presidency himself.

Hoffa is apparently trying to patch up the rift. His PR man, Richard Leebove, dismissed the whole thing to reporters on December 15, three days after Johnson faxed Hoffa of his candidacy, as “only a rumor.”

The breakup of the Hoffa “Unity” Slate is a damaging blow to Hoffa who has depended on the united support of most Teamster officials to deliver the vote. Now that unity is fracturing at the highest levels of our union-and among local officers as well.

The president of New Jersey Joint Council 73, Don DiLeo, has joined the Johnson effort shortly after declaring his candidacy for Eastern Region Vice President.

“The Teamsters do not need and should not be influenced by non-Teamsters, outside consultants, etc.”—a reference to Greg Tarpinian, the consultant who has become Hoffa’s leading strategist and a lightning rod for Teamster officers who resent the IBT’s arrogant, top-down approach to locals. Seventy percent of Joint Council 73 members' votes went to Hoffa in 2001.

Another former Hoffa supporter, Eastern Region Freight Director Danny Virtue, the president of Harrisburg Local 776, is also involved. More officers are expected to follow, draining votes out of the Hoffa camp.

One International Vice President who is sticking with Hoffa said that “Leedham and TDU must be ecstatic today.”

“It’s increasingly clear to Teamster members and officers alike that our union needs a different direction to stop the decline of Teamster power under Hoffa,” said Tom Leedham, candidate for General President on the Strong Contracts, Good Pensions Slate.

“We’ll be looking for common ground with all anti-Hoffa forces. And we'll continue to build our campaign to rebuild Teamster power, win strong contracts and good pensions, and organize the nonunion competition,” Leedham said.

Click here: Tom Leedham Campaign for Teamster Presidency Moves Ahead!
Click here: Members Back Tom Leedham Candidacy
Click here: After the Hoffa Split: Forging Alliances Based on Plans, Not Personalities
Click here: Teamster Candidates Will Debate
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