Teamsters’ Internal War Spills Out Into The Open As Boston Union Boss Blasts Hoffa


‘Outsiders’ are running the union: The head of Teamsters’ Local 25 calls Hoffa a ‘weak leader’ and weighs a run for the union’s top spot.

Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien (center) weighs run against Teamsters President James P. Hoffa (left). Source: Teamsters for a Democratic Union

It’s been nearly two decades since the son of legendary Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa took over the reins of his father’s union. During that time, James P. Hoffa, a lawyer, has overseen a union in transition.

During that time, his union critics have called him a “sell out” and, as well, accused him of corruption and cronyism. Nevertheless, in large part due to his famous name, Hoffa has held onto his job.

Now, plagued with a declining membership and severely underfunded pension plans, as well as a 2013 NLRB finding that the international union engaged in “union busting” of its own employees’ union, the Teamsters are currently gearing up for negotiations against their largest employer, United Parcel Service (UPS).

Until last week, it appeared that the union was going into negotiations with a unified front.

However, Hoffa–who is 76-years old–unexpectedly dismissed Teamsters’ Local 25 leader Sean O’Brien as head of the union’s small-package division and lead contract negotiator at UPS Inc. and its UPS Freight less-than-truckload (LTL) unit,

The Teamsters “said the move to replace O’Brien was made ‘in the best interests of the members at UPS,’ and that the decision was not politically motivated,” according to DC Velocity.

O’Brien, however, disputed Hoffa’s account that the move was not political in a scathing letter directed to Hoffa.

In the letter, O’Brien questioned Hoffa’s use of “full-time political hacks” who “have never been Teamsters” and are “driving decisions and making policy in place of the elected leadership.”

In a subsequent radio interview (audio below), O’Brien stated he may challenge Hoffa for the presidency of the entire union in the next election, which takes place in 2020.

Teamsters Local 25 president Sean O’Brien is weighing a challenge to the International’s head James P. Hoffa, whom O’Brien accused of playing politics to keep his rivals in check after Hoffa axed him from the committee negotiating a new contract with UPS.

O’Brien, 45, told the Herald he and many Teamsters are fed up with Hoffa for not taking stronger stances on pension and health care issues, and “putting his own agenda before our members.”

If O’Brien does challenge Hoffa’s reign in 2020, Hoffa will be 80-years old.

There is speculation, however, that Hoffa may retire before his next re-election campaign.

Teamsters Local 25 Sean O'Brien Letter to Hoffa on Scribd


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