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latimes.com: Hoffa, Nader set 'statement' on campaign

June 21, 2000
Web posted at: 12:26 p.m. EDT (1626 GMT)

latimes.comWASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times) -- Underscoring his brawny union's disenchantment with Vice President Al Gore, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa will join Ralph Nader on Thursday to make a "special statement . . . concerning the 2000 presidential election."

A Teamsters spokesman said on Tuesday that Hoffa did not plan at that time to endorse Nader, who is running a quixotic presidential campaign on the Green Party ticket. "It will be a nonendorsement announcement," said Bret Caldwell, who would not elaborate. The joint news conference will follow an appearance by Nader at the Teamsters General Executive Board meeting.

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With 1.5 million members, the Teamsters is one of the nation's largest unions. An endorsement would give Nader, whose support is measured in single digits, an unexpected boost among working-class voters. The United Auto Workers has hinted it may also support Nader for his opposition to "corporate globalization."

Thirty-five years ago, Nader was the auto industry's enemy. He earned the moniker "consumer advocate" because of his crusade against dangerous U.S.-made cars, particularly General Motors' Corvair.

The Teamsters and UAW pointedly abstained in October when the AFL-CIO voted to give Gore an early endorsement, which helped propel him toward the Democratic nomination.

Since then, however, labor leaders have voiced concern about Gore's support for liberal trade agreements, particularly during the recent House vote to normalize trade relations with China. Gore further miffed labor last week when he appointed Commerce Secretary Bill Daley to head his campaign, a move described by Hoffa as a "slap in the face."

Organized labor has fiercely opposed two of Daley's major accomplishments for the Clinton administration: the shepherding of the China trade bill and the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Appearing Tuesday on CNN's "Inside Politics," Nader said he didn't know whether the Teamsters would endorse him. "But I know they are very upset with the Clinton-Gore administration," he said.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2000

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