Friday, December 9, 2016

Teamsters

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Hoffa Corruption

Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced the end of settlement terms with the U.S. Government.

In 1989, the Teamsters agreed to government oversight to remove corruption within their organization and their elections.

The 25 years of oversight stemmed from a RICO (Rackateer Influence and Corrupt Organization) Act lawsuit brought by the government against the Teamsters.

The current Teamsters president, Jim Hoffa, lauded the announcement saying, “When I took office in 1999, I pledged that we would run a clean union, that organized crime would never have a place in the Teamsters Union. I also promised that we would ensure that every rank-and-file Teamster have a direct voice in electing the Union’s International officers. After 15 years, we have accomplished these goals.”

Jim Hoffa is the only son of missing union boss, Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa vanished in 1975 and is believed to have been murdered.

Jimmy Hoffa had been relentlessly pursued by Robert Kennedy in his quest to root out organized crime. Hoffa was convicted as a result of Kennedy’s tenacity and served time for bribing a juror and setting up illegal pension funds for mafia bosses.

Hoffa Jr., an attorney, has kept his nose clean but appears to have traded corruption for hard-handed political processes to keep any opposition in check.

Hoffa Jr. and his “old guard” bosses have been accused of extravagant expenses along with using political donations to lock in support members of Congress.

The accusations hold true when looking at the numbers.

Jim Hoffa receives a salary and benefits of $381,403 per year. 181 other Teamster bosses receive salaries of over $100,000. Thirteen others receive over $200,000 a year.

They average salary for a union worker is $48,776. Union dues are 2.5 times the member’s hourly rate, per month. For a member making $12 an hour, dues would be $360 per year.

The Teamsters represents 1.2 million members.

While unions should enjoy the right to operate without government intervention, only 25 states are “right to work” meaning that workers have the right to choose whether they want to participate in a union.

With laws protecting unions in half of the other states, unlike the Teamsters and their new freedom, workers in those states are not free to work without government collusion that forces union participation and payments.

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Jim Hoffa Teamsters

In a sharply worded letter to congressional leaders, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa complained bitterly this past Tuesday about a “last minute deal to give United Parcel Service (UPS) a $2 billion bailout to relieve the company of negotiated pension obligations” under a pension reform plan working its way through Congress.

Saying such funds would offset Big Brown’s pension payments, Hoffa seemed to express anger that a deal would lessen the pain UPS management and shareholders would feel funding its pension obligations on their own.

When asked about the “bailout” language contained in Hoffa’s letter, UPS Spokeswoman Kara Gerhardt Ross denied that any “bailout” was in the works and that the multi-employer pension reform under consideration by Congress will not change UPS’s “contractual obligation and no policy will change our commitment to our people.”

Ross added that in 2007 “UPS paid $6.1 billion in a cash lump payment to the Central States Pension Trust in order to cover our commitment to protect our 45,000 employees under the plan and their pensions”…“started a new Teamster-UPS Jointly Trusteed Single Employer Plan that is completely funded by UPS today”…and that “UPS took an additional $1.7 billion in Central States’ liability (former UPS pension plan) to support the plan and more importantly our people under it.”

UPS expressed surprise that the Teamsters were calling these contributions bailouts or a special interest earmarks affirming instead that “UPS is standing by its contractual commitment to our union employees under the collective bargaining agreement and has advocated to protect our employees’ benefits during this process.”

So why is Hoffa so upset?

Perhaps it has something to do with the thinly veiled class warfare rhetoric that keeps Big Unions – and Big Union Bosses – in power.

In his closing salvo against UPS in his letter to Congress, Hoffa thought it important to point out that UPS is a Fortune 50 company with sales in excess of $100 billion a year – and that pension reform would somehow lessen the impact that union demands would have on Big Brown’s bottom line.

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