By Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa
Published in The Detroit News on September 14, 2011
Last week, I told a Labor Day crowd here in Detroit that there's a war on workers — a war we didn't start, but one we intend to fight.
Few people disagreed with me when I said there was a sustained, coordinated attack on workers being waged here in the United States.
Rich corporations are outsourcing the jobs of long-time workers or demanding concessions as never before — just because they think they can.
Corporate-backed politicians give lip service to shared sacrifice even as they balance their budgets on the backs of working families.
Public sector jobs are being cut, collective bargaining rights attacked and essential services slashed — sometimes to pay for corporate tax breaks.
But we're fighting back. That's what Teamsters do. We stand up for what is right.
Teamsters have marched in California, collected signatures in Ohio, rallied in the streets of New York, gone to court in Florida, stormed the statehouse in Wisconsin, walked picket lines around the country and even driven a copy of a Maine labor mural to an art exhibit in Maryland.
Here in Michigan, we will fight with everything we've got against any right-to-work "for less" legislation that gets introduced.
This fight is about the economy, it's about jobs and it's about rebuilding America.
As I said last week, we all have to vote to take anti-worker politicians out of office.
Too many of our elected officials serve as order-takers to the corporations that fund their campaigns. Their main concern is satisfying corporate masters interested only in fattening their profits. They have no qualms about taking a wrecking ball to the middle class.
In Wisconsin and Ohio they stripped government workers' collective bargaining rights. They filed right-to-work "for less" legislation in 14 states — unsuccessfully.
They are trying to run the U.S. economy into the ground to win the presidency and gain seats in Congress next year even as millions of Americans face the agony of unemployment. That's shameful.
The jobs crisis is an American problem. It isn't President Barack Obama's problem and it isn't a Republican or Democrat problem. All Americans need to come together to create good jobs for the good of our economy and the good of our great country.
Unfortunately, that's not the way they see it. And they have powerful allies in the media. We saw the stark evidence last week when outlets such as Fox News and the Drudge Report edited a clip of my Labor Day speech and created a media firestorm. There wasn't even smoke.
We shouldn't be surprised that some media outlets distorted a comment about voting tea party politicians out of office. We've all seen how these media outlets work. They try to bully and intimidate. They create fake news to distract the public from their real agenda of lowering wages for American workers. They ignore the failures of politicians who duck the tough challenges of creating good-paying jobs, jump-starting an anemic economy and leaving behind a better America for our children and grandchildren.
I stand by my criticism of elected officials who are out to destroy the middle class.
I will never apologize for standing up for my fellow Teamsters and all American workers.
To read archived articles from General President Hoffa, click here.