Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. visited Washington state on September 9 to support the hundreds of union members and their community partners backing the 362 grocery warehouse workers of Teamsters Local 117 in their fight for a new contract. Those union members at the Fred Meyer distribution center are currently working without a contract.
Hoffa told hundreds on hand in Puyallup, Washington that corporations and the Tea Party are waging a “war on workers” and “we’ve got to fight back, right now.” Workers chanted “Teamster power!” and waved signs that read, “Stop the war on workers!” and “Quality health care now!” After the rally, the group marched across the street to the Fred Meyer distribution center that serves 140 stores in Washington, Alaska, and Idaho.
Hoffa’s visit was not without opposition, however. Thanks to email blasts by the Tea Party Patriots, who provided event details and recommendations for protest sign slogans, a handful of Tea Partiers showed up to protest the event.
The Tea Partiers were not happy with Hoffa’s remarks on Labor Day, when he said voters should “take out” Tea Party members who are in elected office. He called those members “sons of bitches.” The Tea Partiers waved signs with slogans like “Mr. Hoffa. S.O.B.s United, Tea Party USA”
Speaking at the rally, Hoffa did not back down from his comments, “I’m very proud of what I said, because what I said was, that we, basically, are very frustrated. We’re frustrated with people attacking working men like people here.” Hoffa noted that the Tea Party is trying to crush unions and that he has never seen “such an organized effort against organized labor, against working people, basically to take back everything they have.”