(WASHINGTON) – International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today addressed the 1,100 delegates at the United Auto Workers (UAW) 37th Constitutional Convention at the Cobo Center in Detroit.
“There is no greater solidarity than that between the Teamsters and the UAW,” Hoffa said. “Next year is a pivotal moment for the UAW as you head into negotiations with the Big 3. I am here to tell you that the 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union will be there to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”
Hoffa also invoked the role the Teamsters and the UAW had with civil rights leaders and promoting the civil rights movement in light of the recent events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Dr. King understood that civil rights and labor rights are the same,” Hoffa said. “He knew that you couldn’t have one without the other. That is why he was in Memphis standing with the striking sanitation workers.”
Hoffa praised the actions of UAW President Walter Reuther and Teamsters General President James R. Hoffa in providing financial support to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the Poor People’s Campaign and other organizations.
“They understood that we could never achieve labor rights without civil rights,” Hoffa said.
Hoffa praised UAW President Dennis Williams who is retiring later this week after 40 years with the union, the last four as its leader.
“Dennis has been a tremendous partner in the fight for fair trade and worker rights and he is a good friend,” Hoffa said. “He grew the UAW’s membership and balanced the budget. He has dedicated his life to his union brothers and sisters and will be missed.”
Williams is expected to be succeeded by Gary Jones.
“I look forward to continuing our relationship with your new leadership,” Hoffa said. “I know that Gary and I will work closely together in the continued fight for working families.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including over 200,000 public employees. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.