Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) earned a zero rating for his legislative votes in 1999 from the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, nevertheless IBT endorsed Hoekstra for reelection according to an Apr. 27 report. The endorsement, which IBT sources admit will be controversial, has yet to be officially announced. Hoekstra led a Congressional investigation of ex-IBT boss Ron Carey that helped pave the way for arch-rival, James P. Hoffa, to win the union presidency. Hoekstra spoke at a delegates meeting in Detroit on Apr. 20 where he secured the endorsement.
In Mar. 2000, Hoekstra had Hoffa appear before his subcommittee and the two Michiganders jointly called for the ever-controversial Clinton-Reno Dep’t of Justice to end its control over IBT. Under the 1989 Consent Decree, DOJ has broad authority to “root out” IBT corruption. Despite this “DOJ oversight,” the Carey campaign was able to launder money from IBT’s treasury to steal the union’s 1996 election.
Mich. Teamsters Jt. Council 43 spokesman Bill Black said “Hoekstra’s message was one that we are very, very interested in and that is that it is time for the consent decree to end and it is time for the government to get out of the Teamsters business,”
“It will not be a popular endorsement for all the members of this union. But it was the right endorsement for the overall big picture for this union,” Black said. “We realize what his voting record is and we also realize that the Democrats have not done a whole lot to help us out with this consent decree and in getting the government out of our business.”
Hoekstra spokesman Jon Brandt called the endorsement “an affirmation that they think he did right by them in everything that we went through in the past several years.” Brandt said he was specifically referring to the Carey investigations and said that the endorsement “showed that we handled that investigation in a forthright manner and were fair.” [Roll Call 4/27/00]
Ex-Member Shoots-Up California Union Hall
Charles D. Garrigues, ex-iron worker apprentice wearing a bulletproof vest reportedly fired two handguns in a union hall May 2, terrorizing unionists who locked themselves in bathrooms, knelt behind desks and scrambled to scale barbed wire-topped fences to escape. No one was hit. According to the Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers Local 378, Garrigues had been kicked out of the apprenticeship program in Nov. for not following union rules.
Police arrested Garrigues and booked him into Solano County Jail on suspicion of five counts of attempted murder, wearing body armor during the commission of a crime and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Garrigues was convicted of burglary and indecent exposure in 1995. He was sentenced to four years in prison and served about 18 months before he was paroled. [Contra Costa Times 5/3/00]