General President Jim Hoffa was awarded a lifetime honorary membership to the Teamsters National Black Caucus today, during the 35th annual TNBC Conference held in Washington, D.C.
A true believer that civil rights and labor rights go hand in hand, Hoffa has followed in his father’s footsteps to promote diversity and recognize the actions of African-Americans within the Teamsters Union.
The Teamsters Union has championed civil rights since its founding in 1903, securing the first color-blind, gender-blind contract for workers in 1917, financially and politically supporting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and being the first major labor union to endorse Barack Obama for president, among other things.
“Workers in this country, regardless of race, gender, religion or heritage, want to be treated with dignity and respect,” Hoffa said. “The best civil rights program out there is a Teamster contract. A Teamster contract is the great equalizer in this country.”
In order to bring Teamster contracts to workers, Hoffa explained that organizing is key. Through organizing, workers of all backgrounds will gain power and they will gain a voice.
But a voice in the workplace isn’t the only place America’s working class needs to be heard. Hoffa encouraged workers to be politically active and elect pro-union candidates—especially during this election year—so the American middle class can have a voice in Washington.