Hoffa Denies Pattern of Violence

October 29, 1999

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Teamsters President James Hoffa defended the union against charges of violence in its campaign against Overnite Transportation Co.

Allegations of violence surfaced in a letter to Hoffa from a trio of U.S. Senators. Michael B. Enzi, R-WY, Tim Hutchinson, R-AR, and Chuck Hagel, R-NE, members of the Labor and Human Resources Committee, wrote that there have been numerous reports of Teamsters violence.
They said they have reports that Teamsters have threatened violence, and that Overnite equipment has been damaged -- shots have been fired.
“We vigorously deny that there has been a pattern of violent incidents,” Hoffa replied. Picketers have been told to keep their demonstrations peaceful, he said.
Hoffa acknowledged that the president of a Teamsters local in Kansas City, Phil Young, was charged with criminal trespass and battery during a demonstration in Bedford Park, IL, last June. But, Hoffa added, Young has denied the allegation and should be presumed innocent.
The exchange of letters took place before the current strike began, and before most recent incident of violence. On October 27, an Overnite driver was pulled from his truck and beaten up. There also have been reports of Overnite trucks being shot at in Memphis, TN, where the strike began Oct. 24.

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