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Jimmy Hoffa

James Riddle Hoffa (1913-probably 1975) was a noted American labour leader.

Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana and was the son of a poor coal miner. His father died when he was young and Hoffa could not stay in school. Hoffa moved to Detroit to work in a warehouse. He was a natural leader who was annoyed at the mistreatment of workers, and in 1933, aged just twenty, he helped organize his first strike.

Hoffa rapidly advanced through the ranks of the Teamsters[?] union which controlled a sizable number of truckers and related fields. Hoffa worked to build and in 1964 succeeded in bringing all American truck drivers into the union. Hoffa then pushed to try to bring the airlines and other transport employees into the union, greatly worrying the American government and business which saw how devastating a strike of all transportation systems could be for the national economy.

Hoffa was long suspected to have ties to unsavory characters such as mobsters. One group he definitely had close ties to was the Republican party. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson both put pressure on Hoffa, attempting to investigate his activities and disrupt his ever-growing union. The Kennedys especially were sure that Hoffa had pocketed a great deal of union money. The AFL-CIO also disliked Hoffa and aided the Democrats against him. A number of Republicans such as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover are believed to have helped Hoffa.

In 1967 he was convicted of attempted bribery of a grand juror and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. In 1971, however, President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence on the condition that he not participate in union activities.

The last few years of Hoffa's life are shrouded in mystery. It is widely believed that he attempted to reassert his power over the Teamsters. In 1975, however, Hoffa dissapeared. His fate is a mystery that continues to this day, and there are many theories as to what happened to him. Among these are that Hoffa is buried under the New Jersey Turnpike or under the end zone at Giants Stadium[?] in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Another theory is that Hoffa was actually put in a cement making machine and turned into cement. No theory has been proved and his body has not been found, but in 1981 he was pronounced dead and a death certificate was issued.

A motion picture of Hoffa's life entitled Hoffa[?] was released in 1992 starring Jack Nicholson in the title role and Danny DeVito as a mobster.



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