General President Hoffa’s Bio

James P. Hoffa
General President
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

“The Teamsters are well on our way to transforming the labor movement into a social force to improve the lives of all working people. Despite the unchecked forces reshaping our economy, some things never change: the human desire for dignity and respect. As long as workers are underpaid, overworked, or mistreated, there will always be a place for unions. The power that people have when they stand together to demand a better life cannot be exported, downsized or otherwise diminished.”

Since taking office on March 19, 1999, James P. Hoffa has been rebuilding the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Under Hoffa’s leadership, Union membership has increased and its finances are strong and stable. As a result of renewed solidarity, Teamsters are winning industry-leading contracts, engaging in vigorous contract enforcement and organizing new members. Teamster positions on the issues of the day — from unsafe Mexican trucks to the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs — now hold sway in Washington’s power corridors.

Hoffa has spent a lifetime preparing for the challenge of running the Teamsters Union and he has put that knowledge into action, restoring strength and power to one of America’s largest labor unions. Hoffa knows first hand what Teamsters can accomplish when they work together. He is determined to lead a Union that is a credit to its proud history.

Hoffa is recognized as the foremost authority on workers’ issues. As the most visible and outspoken critic of government trade policies and anti-worker corporate agendas, Hoffa remains a strong and passionate leader on all issues affecting working people.

BACKGROUND

James P. Hoffa grew up on picket lines and in union meetings. He is the only son of James R. Hoffa, former General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. On his 18th birthday, Hoffa received his own union card and was sworn in by his father. Prior to becoming Administrative Assistant to Michigan Joint Council 43, Hoffa was a labor lawyer in Detroit for 25 years.

TEAMSTER CAREER

  • 1960s: Teamster laborer in Detroit and Alaska, loading and unloadingfreight from ships, driving trucks and buses, and operating heavy equipment
  • 1968-93: Teamster attorney representing members, local unions and Joint Councils in worker compensation cases, Social Security, and personal legal matters
  • 1993-98: Administrative Assistant to the President of Michigan Joint Council 43
  • 1999-Present: General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

EDUCATION

  • 1959: Graduated from Detroit public schools, National Honor Society, All- City and All-State football player
  • 1963: Degree in Economics, Michigan State University, played football under legendary coach Duffy Daugherty
  • 1966: LLB Law Degree, University of Michigan
  • 1967: Awarded Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in Michigan State Senate

PERSONAL

  • Born: May 19, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan
  • Family: Parents – Josephine and James R. Hoffa; Sister – Barbara Hoffa Crancer, attorney and Circuit Judge in St. Louis, Mo.; Wife – Virginia Harris Hoffa, former teacher and licensed veterinary technician; Children – David and Geoffrey, both Michigan State University graduates; Three grandchildren.

TEAMSTER GOALS

  • Organize the unorganized
  • Negotiate industry-leading contracts
  • Vigorously enforce Teamster contracts
  • Ensure a corruption-free union
  • Continue to improve and expand Teamster assets
  • Fight trade policies that threaten American jobs and other anti-labor legislation