Teamsters Say Cheney Part of 'Lawless' Company
Oakland Press September 27, 2000
Teamsters' Hoffa says Cheney is part of a lawless company
Hoffa holds up Union Pacific as "one of the worst labor law
violators in the history of America"
By Joe Szczesny
LANSING - Dick Cheney's role as a director of Union Pacific Corp. has
come under attack from Teamsters President James P. Hoffa.
Hoffa blasted the Republican vice presidential candidate Tuesday for his
role as director of a "lawless company" and said it indicated
Cheney's lack of concern for the welfare of ordinary Americans.
"It's amazing that he (Cheney) would be part of a lawless company
like Overnight, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union
Pacific," Hoffa told reporters after a rally on the steps of the state
Capitol. "He's part of an outlaw company that is one of the worst labor
law violators in the history of America.
"I think he should be more sensitive. They're not thinking
straight," said Hoffa, who added the Teamsters union was preparing to
go all out to help elect Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.
Hoffa said the union would be devoting both money and manpower this fall
to electing Gore and Lieberman.
"The alternative is disaster," said Hoffa of the Republicans.
"The alternative is turning back the clock to (the) 1920s and start
cutting benefits and wages."
Cheney had served as director of Union Pacific Railroad Corp., the parent
company of Overnight Transportation.
The Teamsters have been trying to organize Overnight's drivers for more
than four years and the dispute has spawned charges on both sides. But the
National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Overnight has violated federal
labor law on several occasions.
Calls to the Bush-Cheney campaign brought no immediate response to
During the rally at the state Capitol, which was organized by the
Teamsters and Michigan AFL-CIO, Hoffa urged the crowd of about 500 to
campaign hard for Democratic candidates.
"We've got a chance in November to remember what they've done to
us," said Hoffa, who charged Michigan Republicans with tilting state
policy and practices in favor of business.
"They've gutted everything that protects workers. It's all for
business. The question couldn't be clearer. What are we going to do in
November? We're going to sit down and vote Democratic all the way."
Hoffa singled out a Republican legislator, state Rep. Joanne Voorhees of
Grand Rapids, as an example of what working people can expect from
"These are all the cronies of the governor who want to take away
good jobs. We've worked so hard to get good jobs, wage, health care and
pension," added Hoffa.
The Teamsters represent more than 600 workers at Spartan Stores, which
recently formed a partnership with Serv-U-Sweet. Serv-U-Sweet is owned by
the Voorhees family and the distribution of snack foods by nonunion workers
now threatens the jobs of workers at the Spartan warehouse in Grand Rapids.
Voorhees said Serv-U-Sweet distributes snack foods to several grocery
chains in Michigan and Ohio. The company has grown from 40 to 400 employees
in recent years, she said. "It's a family owned company that provides
for its employees. It's the American dream."
Hoffa also said he's been encouraged by the positive response of union
members to Gore, Lieberman and other Democrats.
"We're for the Democrats because they stand up for union
labor," said Matt McPhee, a member of the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers who was wearing one of the hardhats that dotted the
Hoffa also brushed aside suggestions Gore would hobble the auto industry.
"I think he's a realist and he knows we're going to be driving cars
for a long time. I think he's realistic about what we've got to do to keep
jobs in America and to keep the unemployment rate low," said Hoffa, who
noted Gore had pledged to keep the U.S. manufacturing base strong when he
accepted the Teamsters' presidential endorsement last week.