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Older photo of men holding signs on strike.
Labor Unions
  1. U.S. Labor Unions in the 1940s
  2. U.S. Unions in the Cold War
  3. Public worker unions in the United States
  4. Decline in Strike Activity in the US
  5. Union Membership Across the United States
  6. Right-to-Work Laws
  7. Types of Unions in the United States
  8. The AFL-CIO
  9. Labor Contracts in the United States
  10. Strikes in the United States
  11. What Happens During a Strike
  12. Long Strikes and Violence
  13. The 1964 Civil Rights Act
  14. Union Campaign Contributions and Political Influence
  15. Unions and Politics
  16. U.S. Unions in the 90s and Today
  17. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: George Meany
  18. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: John L. Lewis
  19. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: Walter Reuther
  20. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: A. Philip Randolph
  21. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: Jimmy Hoffa
  22. Important U.S. Labor Leaders: Caesar Chavez
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Hoffa behind a table in a roomful of onlookers.
Hoffa, at right, testifies before the McLellan Committee in the late 1950s.
Photo from
Important U.S. Labor Leaders: Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971, was perhaps the most controversial American union leader during the last half of the twentieth century. Hoffa began union organizing activities for the Teamsters—truck drivers—in the 1930s. He rose rapidly through the union’s ranks and in 1957 became its president when his predecessor was sent to jail. But Hoffa’ rise to prominence was tainted by his ties with the Mafia, or “organized crime.” Under Hoffa, corruption was rampant in the Teamsters union. The union leadership built a reputation for fraud, violence, and stealing from union funds to live lavish lifestyles. During the Kennedy administration, Attorney General Robert Kennedy led a government investigation of the Teamsters Union that resulted in criminal charges of fund fraud, jury tampering, and conspiracy being leveled against Hoffa. After a lengthy trial, Jimmy Hoffa was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for thirteen years. However, after serving only four years, President Nixon ordered Hoffa released. Hoffa was a staunch Republican and Nixon supporter and it was rumored that a deal had been struck between the two men. Hoffa’s organized crime connections finally did him in on July 30, 1975. Following a meeting with Mafia bosses, which apparently didn’t go well, Hoffa mysteriously disappeared. It is assumed the Mafia ordered his murder. Jimmy Hoffa was legally declared dead in 1982, although his body has never been found.
Special Terms: Teamsters Union  |  organized crime

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