Letters From Our Members - May/April 2006


Hoffa Jr. Lacks the Teamster Experience

Why are there so few examples of Teamsters secure in their jobs? I don’t mean that the national union has not been there fighting for fairness and contracts in companies like UPS or DHL, I mean language and improvements in the small companies that make up the heart and bone of our union. UPS and the rest are important, the muscle of our brotherhood. But not all of us work for those mega employers.

Our jobs have never been in as much danger as they are now. Dues increases, CAFTA, replacement workers, health insurance and pension degradation are just the beginning of indignities heaped upon us by our employers as Hoffa Jr. and his golden boys are at the club mingling with the Bush regime.

Where have Hoffa and our national union officials been? We elected them to see that our lives and futures were secure, but every day I see otherwise. I don’t see that they have earned multiple pensions, much less their current pay.

Perhaps playing politics is all they can do.
Hoffa Sr. was one of us, someone who had worked for a living in some of the most grueling conditions imaginable. Like most of us, he probably never wanted his children to go through the same experiences.

It looks to me like he got that wish. I see a son who has never worked beside us in the trenches, leading our futures from behind a desk, someone who will call ANYONE who has a vision that varies from his policies a SCAB. The Teamsters Union is not a kingdom, and no man or woman has the right to lead us simply because their father deserved our respect.

Vote your heart. You know what is right. When we are old and no longer able to work, we will look back and see what we are doing now with either pride or regret. It would be nice to do that with a real pension.

Patrick Lamb
Local 206, Kroger/Fred Meyer
Portland, Ore.



Hoffa Jr. Losing Sr.’s Victories

It is an ironic twist of fate with possible serious consequences for hard working Teamsters. Jimmy Hoffa Sr. oversaw the rise of the Teamster national contracts. Jimmy Hoffa Jr. seems determined to oversee the demise of those very contracts.

Mark Graham
Local 604, Cassens
St. Louis

Leaders Need to Reflect the Union

Teamster Brothers and Sisters:

Hoffa overruled the 24-month requirement to run for office in Local 631 for Jackie Presser-era anointee as Secretary Treasurer, Edmund Burke. Surely members with real service to their country and fellow citizens should not be disqualified by double standards from the IBT. These selective rules for the hierarchy will be dealt with when we elect a real Teamster. A REAL TEAMSTER, Tom Leedham, not fake old tough guys with organized crime entanglements.

Bruce Swearington
Local 631, Convention Industry
Las Vegas

Subcontracting Breaks Solidarity

Why does the UPS driver have to sit in the UPS yard waiting for subcontractors to bring UPS doubles from across the country? Subcontracting is everywhere. It is a violation of the contract, isn’t it? The top Teamster officials are being paid to enforce the contract, but they all pass the buck to the local where the subcontracting occurs. “Not enough people wanted to drive tractor trailers in our area, so the local let them outsource.” One union, right? Cooperation? If we work together to solve the problem, maybe more people would be interested in becoming Teamsters.

Michael D. Sherar
Local 25, UPS

Thanks to Activists

Thank you very much, TDU, for all you do to reform, strengthen and build our union. It does give me hope that the Teamsters and all its benefits will be around in the future. All of you at TDU, keep up the good work!

In solidarity,

John Landgraf
Local 364, retired
South Bend, Ind.

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