Hoffa predicts 'civil war' in Michigan
December 11th, 2012
03:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Hoffa predicts 'civil war' in Michigan

(CNN) - Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into "civil war" after the state legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions' power.

"This is just the first round of a battle that's going to divide this state. We're going to have a civil war," Hoffa said on CNN's "Newsroom."

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The Republican-controlled state House passed two bills that had already been approved by the GOP-dominated state Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, is poised to sign the bill, which would allow workers at union-represented employers to forgo paying dues.

As thousands of protestors gathered at the state capitol on Tuesday, Hoffa called the legislation a "tremendous mistake" and "a monumental decision to make" by outgoing lawmakers in a lame duck session.

"What they're doing is basically betraying democracy," he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. "If there's any question here, let's put it on the ballot and let the people of Michigan decide what's good for Michigan."

Proponents of the legislation say it gives workers more freedom, while opponents say a less robust union presence will negatively affect workers’ rights. Hoffa also argued that those who don't pay union dues will be considered "free riders,” as they’re getting the same benefits from union representation without the cost.

Hoffa pointed to Michigan's recovering auto industry, saying the Wolverine State has bounced back from the recession without being a "right to work" state.

"This is basically a step backward," he argued.

- CNNMoney's Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNNMoney.com • Michigan
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Karen

    A Hoffa thug threatening people? What is this 1950s? On the Waterfront?

    December 11, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Timmeh

    Communist, union thugs! It'll be a great day when unions are no longer around. They are about 60 years past their usefulness. Now they do nothing more than suck money from the productive sector.

    December 11, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. NameNC_Right

    Just another BS thug move

    December 11, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Of course he does. he IS a mobster, masquerading as a union leader, after all.

    December 11, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    KNow what the federal gov't can't do to bail out the auto industry (after it pays the GOP/Teatrolls to destroy unions)?

    That's right: fill it's assembly lines with skilled workers/scabs.


    December 11, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. California Gary

    "Right to work" means you get to work 2 or 3 jobs for less pay and no benefits. The one "good" thing about it is that there won't be as many jobs being shipped overseas.......companies won't need to do that when they can get slave labor right here in America.

    December 11, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Ed1

    Just like we have always thought nothing but a bunch of thugs and cry babies. Can't have your way so lets start war and put more companies out of business. Suck it up we had to it's your turn.

    No place in the United States with bullies and threats of war in the workplace or anywhere else.

    Unions should be out of every workplace in the United States with threats and class warfare starting to sound like Obama.

    I guess Obama will side with the unions as always.

    The people were voted into office the people were herd.

    December 11, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    They better pray for snow and extremely cold weather in Michigan because that may be the only thing that stops it.

    December 11, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Karen M

    This is very disappointing to Italian-Americans. We have taken decades to overcome the goons and mob, we have become educated and productive members of society. Now, we go back in time, and the 1950s "bosses" are threatening civil war.

    Italian-Americans against mob rule!!!

    December 11, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. ct

    This is another move by ALEC. We all need to wake up and see how certain groups are manipulating our democracy.

    December 11, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. PaulCat

    This is just one reason you should never vote republican. They tell you exactly what you want to hear until they are voted into office. Pay attention Americans.

    December 11, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Critical Thinking

    News Alert : We are a country of laws. Don't like the law, elect officials to change it. Oh that's right you won't have the money to re-elect democrats that will give you what you want. Yeah, I guess war is you only recourse then. Good Luck with that, but that what they said to the South about 160 years ago. Didn't work out to well for them either ;'-(

    December 11, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. NC_Right

    Unions are obsolete...period.

    December 11, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. steve mitrivini

    Michigan is NOT "The Wolverine State." It is "The Great Lakes State." Only a small section of Ann Arbor would argue the point.

    December 11, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. anonymous

    yes it is the great lakes state – it seems like they are changing the license plates much too often, in the quotes of a lot of states.

    December 11, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Right to Work Advocate

    Jimmy Junior should join his Dad.

    The Union bosses are like gangsters - they force Americans to pay for "protection money" which they call Dues – their time has come and gone. In this country , any American should have the right to work without being foreced to pay somebody dues -–

    December 11, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. chucklej

    This guy's a complete idiot

    December 11, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Right to Work Advocate

    Lincoln freed the slaves – it is now time for the GOP to free the Merican worker from the thuggery of the Union MOb Bosses

    Threatening civil war Kimmy - gimme a break, and crawl back in your hole

    December 11, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. ronvan

    Unions are not only outdated but their MAIN effort is to 'EXTACT" as much of your money as they can! IF you want to keep them then you need to take the "criminals" out of the system, completely overhaul it, and WORK for their members! Today you have the same kind of problems with these "temp hire" companies. You cannot even find a job unless you are lucky or go to one of these places, who in turn will get you a job and, again, take part of your earnings, under the guise, excuse, for health care, etc..

    December 11, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Karen M

    I am guessing Mr. Hoffa's liver and sun spotted face is an indication of too much time by the pool of his Boca condo with a scotch on the rocks.

    December 11, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. MrBeenThere

    Love all those against Unions have never really looked at what Unions have done for all Americans even the Non-Union worker. Better pay, Vacations, bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, child labor laws, 5 day work week, work safety, even laws and regulations for the clean air we all breath and the water we drink.
    I remember from history if you spoke up in the work place about anything you were beaten and in other cases Shot dead. Your right the bad Unions looking out for the common folk............... I can see why the big corporations and Republicans are so against the Unions.
    They can make us a disposable work force again......... so much easier to kill us to shut us up and get us back to working to make them money.

    December 11, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Wilson

    And the mafia rears its ugly head.

    December 11, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Squigman

    Interesting. When the communist party took over in Russia, and the Soviet Union was created, one of the first freedoms to get taken from the people was the right to form and belong to any labor union at all. Today we have the same thing happening, but the parties have the people believing that the unions, the people that belong to the unions, and the people that believe in the right to collective bargaining are the communist thugs. The sad truth is you've again been played like cheap band instruments by the people that control your ability to have access to information. More than likely the people calling other people leftist, thugs, and communist because they strive for freedom and equality are nothing more than sounding boards for the communist that want to control people, not help them.

    December 11, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. betterdays

    One of very few things that could have made living in Northwest Ohio worse than it already is: Having Michigan beat you to the punch on finally wising up.

    By the way, Democrats: Jimmy Hoffa is a rich, old white man. Feel free to mock and defame him for that.

    December 11, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. 2012liberal

    @paulcat, ct and cal gary. All true. Right 2 starve state. U will now work 4 minimum wage and like it. No bargining 4 living wage or better work conditions! Only way 2 fight it now is make fed min wage $15hr. Like most other industrial advanced nations. Or b treated like chinese worker at foxconn. Razor wired fence 2 keep out all those ppl that want 2 come n and suicide nets. Can't wait lol

    December 11, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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