Thursday, November 11, 2010

James Hoffa Interview on The Ed Schulz Show 11-9-10

Joining me now is James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters Union. 

Mr. Hoffa, good to have you with us tonight. 

JAMES HOFFA, PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS UNION:  How are you doing, Ed?  Good to be here. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m doing great, sir. 

The 50,000 jobs that the president is talking about that are going to be created because of our trade dealings with India, do you buy that?  And where are these jobs? 

HOFFA:  It‘s a drop in the bucket.  Let‘s look at the entire picture that you have been talking about. 

We‘re losing millions of jobs.  It is not 50,000 jobs.  We have lost millions of jobs to Mexico, India, China, and it continues today. 

Last month, Whirlpool closed down a plant, 1,300 Americans laid off in Indiana, and they moved it to Mexico.  It‘s going on as we speak right now.  It hasn‘t stopped. 

And when we talk about outsourcing, that‘s an easy word.  It sounds—

“outsourcing,” it sounds like it doesn‘t hurt anybody.  We‘re closing down plants of workers in America.

Your fellow Americans are losing their jobs.  They‘ve worked there 30 years.  They‘re closing the plant down, most of the time taking all of the equipment and moving it to Mexico, or somewhere else.

We‘ve got to stop this hemorrhaging.  Jobs, jobs, jobs.  And the jobs that are leaving America are the good jobs, the high-paying jobs, the manufacturing jobs, the union jobs, where people make good wages, they have good health care, they have pensions.

Those are the jobs that are being shipped out of this country.  We‘ve got to stop this.

You know, when the president ran, he talked about renegotiating NAFTA. 

That was a great issue.

When you go in front of workers as you have—you‘ve done town halls, I do it, too—you talk about, NAFTA‘s bad, NAFTA‘s cost jobs.  Everybody can say that‘s right.  We‘ve got to make sure that trade agreements open up and create jobs, not lose jobs.  And what‘s happened is that the previous administrations going back to Bill Clinton have lost their way when it comes to trade, when it comes to NAFTA, CAFTA, China PNTR.

These have been terrible mistakes that have basically cost us millions of jobs, and we continue to hemorrhage jobs.  The jobs aren‘t coming here, the jobs are going there.  And every time they buy a company, they close it down, they put everything on a boat, and they take it back to China, or it goes on a railroad car to Mexico.

So, if we want to talk about jobs, let‘s talk about stopping this hole.  Let‘s talk about negotiating good trade agreements that are ones that create jobs, instead of sending jobs overseas.

Take Korea right now.  Korea basically is one of the most walled-off countries right now.  They won‘t let American cars in, they won‘t listen, you can‘t let different types of products, agricultural products, because they‘re a closed economy.

But what do they do to our country?  They‘re shipping Hyundais over here, all kinds of cars are filling our highways.  And they get away with it.  We can‘t send one car there. 

That is wrong, and we have to have people that will stand up for the American worker and have good trade agreements that, when you go over there, you‘re going to say you‘re going to open up your economy and you‘re going to be able to buy American products.  That‘s the solution. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Hoffa, has your expectation and has labor‘s expectations been diminished with this president and the Democratic Party?  I mean, the only people that can change trade agreements and push change at this point are the people in charge and the people in power, and it was not a good day at the office one week ago tonight for wage earners in this country. 

What are your expectations right now? 

HOFFA:  Well, the answer is it‘s obviously a lot darker now because we have lost so many Democrats that were standing up for the American worker.  Now, we‘ve got the Republicans you talked about that can hardly wait to send more jobs overseas.  They are pawns of big business. 

So they are basically eager to send these jobs overseas.  So it‘s going to be harder.  But I want you to know that organized labor are the ones that are standing up and saying, no, we are going to make sure that we don‘t pass these trade bills that send American jobs overseas. 

You know, the idea is, with this administration and other administrations, any trade deal—a trade deal is good.  Well, that‘s not true.  A trade deal that sends American jobs overseas and, basically, ,we don‘t get any access to their markets, that‘s not a good trade agreement.  And nobody can get that through their head in Washington. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Hoffa, thanks for speaking up tonight.  It‘s a story that we are just not going to let go, and because this is going to go on.

And I‘m afraid that the Democrats are fallen prey to the corporations and the right wing of this country that can‘t get enough of getting rid of jobs in this country.  It‘s who we are, it‘s where we are as a country now.  It is an identity crisis when it comes to how we feel and how we view the importance of American workers. 

Thanks, James.  I appreciate your time tonight.  Thank you. 

HOFFA:  Thank you

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