Did James Hoffa Jr., President of the Teamsters, cross a line when he said he wanted to “Take Out” the Tea Party? In my column for The Week I try to provide a bit of context for the remarks:
The Teamsters have a reputation as one of America’s less delicate unions. Some say that reputation is outdated — an artifact of a ruder time. Then you come across something like the following: A 2003 National Labor Relations Board settlement between the Teamsters union and a picketed employer.
Here’s the first full page of the text, unedited. Just imagine the events that might have led to such a statement.
“We [the Teamsters local] will not engage in mass picketing or otherwise impede the ingress or egress of COMPANY employees or employees of any other employer to or from any COMPANY service center or any facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY or patrol or walk across the entrance of any COMPANY service center or a facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY in such a manner as to impede or delay the ingress or egress of any individual.
“We will not batter, assault, spit on, blow whistles loudly near a person’s ear, throw any liquid or solid object at, or attempt to assault any non-striking employee of COMPANY or any member of his or her family or any employee of a neutral employee doing business with COMPANY, or any security guard or supervisor or manager of a neutral empoyee doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees.”
“We will not threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees doing business with COMPANY, or on any security guard, supervisor, or manager of COMPANY or neutral employers doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees
“We will not videotape or photograph any non-striking employees of COMPANY, or vehicles of COMPANY or its non-striking employees while engaging in coercive activity observed or known by those being videotaped or threaten to release the photographs, names, addresses or photographs of non-striking employees
“We will not prevent any non-striking employee from accessing a COMPANY vehicle or COMPANY vehicles or the personal vehicles of non-striking COMPANY employees.
“WE will not threaten to fine or cause the discharge of non-member employees because they cross a picket line or refuse to go on strike.
“We will not threaten to cause any employee’s discharge if they do not engage in strike or picketing of COMPANY or any neutral person doing business with company.
“We will not attempt to harass or intimidate employees or security guards on COMPANY property by using mirrors to reflect sunlight into the eyes of COMPANY drivers or use mirrors or laser pointers to shine light into the eyes or video cameras of security guards.”
And that’s just page one!