- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 4, 2003

Wiping his eyes and choking up, Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt of Missouri addressed a Teamsters rally in Des Moines on Aug. 9, eight days after receiving the union’s endorsement from General President James Hoffa. “How proud my dad would be to see me here today getting the endorsement of his union that fought for him,” Mr. Gephardt proclaimed. As Mr. Gephardt never seems to fail to mention, he has proud memories of the Teamsters dating to his childhood. “My dad was a milk-truck driver in St. Louis. He was a Teamster,” Mr. Gephardt told an earlier Iowa rally. “He told me every time, pretty much, we were at the dinner table that we had food on the table and I had clothes on my back because he was represented by a union that could bargain to get him fair wages for his hard work.”

As it happens, Mr. Gephardt’s brother, Don, recalls that his father “prided himself on being a Republican” and did not talk “much about the union, about how great it was.” It’s also worth recalling that the Teamsters’ Mafia-controlled Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) irresponsibly managed the pension of Mr. Gephardt’s father, and now operates under court and government supervision as a result of a 1982 consent decree.

Moreover, given the recent “settlement stipulation” between the Teamsters and Overnite Transportation Co., against which the Teamsters unsuccessfully waged a three-year organization campaign that included pervasive violence and intimidation, Mr. Gephardt clearly is not the only person brought to tears by the Teamsters. According to the “settlement,” the Teamsters union and its officers shall cease and desist from actions such as “Brandishing or carrying any weapon of any kind, including, but not limited to, guns, knives, slingshots, rocks, ball bearings, liquid-filled balloons or other projectiles, sledge hammers, bricks, sticks or two-by-fours at or near any picket line.” They are also barred from “Using or threatening to use a weapon of any kind, including … hot coffee, bottles, two-by-fours, lit cigarettes, eggs or bags of balloons filled with excrement against any non-striking Overnite employee or security guard.” Also, Mr. Hoffa’s Teamsters are barred from “Threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm, making throat-slashing motions, making gun-pointing motions, challenging or threatening to fight or assault employees, threatening to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threatening to follow non-striking employees to their homes, using racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees.”

It is hard to imagine how Mr. Gephardt and the father he so reveres could be proud of a union that perpetrates such disgraceful acts of violence.

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