James P. Hoffa
It's Labor Day, a time to commemorate and reexamine the role of organized labor in American life. The best way to do so, of course, is to browse this collection of classic TNR pieces on labor, written by senior editors John B. Judis and Jonathan Cohn: "Can Labor Come Back?" by John B. Judis. May 23, 1994. By the mid-1990s, it became conventional wisdom to think of organized labor in America as a fading political force.
For decades, Republicans have attacked Democrats' alliance with labor, slamming union "bosses" as corrupt and undemocratic. It's more than a touch ironic, then, that as the Bush administration tries to make political inroads with labor, it continues to favor unions whose recent record on these scores has been particularly problematic. The most notorious of these are the Teamsters, who appear to be currying favor with the administration in the hope that it will lift the Independent Review Board that has overseen the union since 1992 (see "Dirty Deal," April 1 & 8). But, fond as George W.
It's not hard to figure out why the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership are wooing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. They want the union to lobby for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. And they really want support and endorsements in states like Michigan and Ohio, where the union's members may hold the balance of power in key House and Senate races—and even in the 2004 presidential election. Less well understood is why Teamster President James P.