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In the third episode of our new series examining historical allegations of union corruption and relations with organized crime, we discuss the changing of the guard at the top of the Teamsters, from the long era of Daniel Tobin’s presidency, to the rise of Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa. We discuss Beck and Hoffa’s real talent for organizing and the way their efforts helped the Teamsters experience massive growth in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. But we also discuss their opportunism and openness to corrupt deals with mob figures, which hurt the interests of the entire rank and file. We cover the way both Hoffa and Beck’s devotion to their own personal power and wealth influenced their adherence to business unionist style of leadership which created the conditions for the mafia to get a foothold in the union.
In future episodes, we will discuss the confrontation between the Teamsters and the US government, largely personified by the Kennedys, during the McClellan Committee investigations.
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