Unmasking Hoffa's Lies on Organizing & Employer Funding

January 30, 2006:It’s the first rule of politics. When you can’t run on your record, you lie, spin and go negative.

Hoffa campaign operative Richard Leebove has made millions off of Teamster elections with his lies and distortions.

And he’s at it again in this month’s Teamster magazine. Under Hoffa, the Teamsters Union has lost over 100,000 members.

To cover for his failures, Hoffa’s campaign operatives lie about Hoffa’s organizing failures and distort Tom Leedham’s record.

In the February Teamster magazine campaign “battle pages” Hoffa brags, “We have added nearly 200,000 new members.”

He also charges that Tom Leedham’s Local 206 lost 17 percent of its membership over the last five years because of decertifications. Both claims are outright lies.

The Truth Squad is here to present Teamster members with the facts so you can cut through the spin and make up your own mind.

Membership Loss Under Hoffa

  • The Teamsters Union has lost over 100,000 members since Hoffa took office.
  • In the mid 1990’s, before Hoffa, the Teamsters Union reversed a 16-year decline in membership in the mid-1990s by launching aggressive organizing campaigns.
  • When Hoffa pushed through the biggest dues increase in Teamster history, he nearly doubled the International Union’s income. But Hoffa has failed to use these new resources to organize and grow our union.
  • The membership additions under Hoffa have come through mergers not organizing. Three mergers added 140,000 members to our union, inflating Hoffa’s numbers and covering for the lost Teamster members since Hoffa took office in 1999.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor LM-2 Reports filed by the Hoffa administration.

The Facts: Local 206 Membership

  • Like most Teamster locals that are not predominately UPS or public sector locals, Local 206 has lost members due to changes in the U.S. economy. More than 90 percent of Local 206’s membership loss is due to companies closing down or moving to another local jurisdiction.
  • Much of the Local 206’s membership “loss” came when Food Service of America, moved into a neighboring local union’s geographic jurisdiction. These members are not “lost.” They are proud Teamsters in Local 324.
  • The Hoffa administration has failed to help Teamster locals to organize and grow—despite the largest dues increase in Teamster history. Hoffa’s own home Local 614 has suffered a double-digit membership decline.
Tom Leedham is running for General President to reinvigorate Teamster organizing. Leedham will rebate money to Teamster locals to help them organize the nonunion competition.

Unlike Hoffa, Leedham will take responsibility for rebuilding Teamster organizing—not pass the buck to Teamster officers and blame them for our union’s membership losses.

Employer Donations—A Big Lie

In the same Teamster magazine campaign ads, Leebove and Hoffa claim that the Tom Leedham Strong Contracts, Good Pensions campaign is “linked to employer funding.”

This is another outright lie.

Accepting direct or indirect employer contributions is a blatant violation of Federal Law and the IBT Election Rules.

If Hoffa had any evidence to back up his bogus claims, he would immediately file a charge with the Teamster Election Supervisor and the Department of Labor.

But Hoffa restricts his charges to the Teamster magazine. Why? Because his claims are campaign propaganda and nothing more.

Leebove should know all about employer contributions. The Election Administrator expelled him from the 1998 campaign for making an illegal $167,000 contribution to Hoffa. Leebove was suspended from the 2001 campaign for hinting to employers that they should donate to Hoffa’s campaign.
Source: Decisions of the Election Administrator.
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