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The legendary rivalry between Jimmy Hoffa and Robert Kennedy

American labor leader James Riddle Hoffa, known as Jimmy Hoffa, chaired the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 to 1971. His role was crucial in the growth and development of the union, which became the largest in the United States in terms of membership. However, he gained national fame due to his confrontation with the Kennedy brothers during televised Senate hearings in the late 1950s.

Hoffa faced a tough childhood, forcing him to leave school at 14 to work. He started as a freight handler in the transportation sector, joining the union in the 1930s. As a teenager, he called for a strike when trucks carrying strawberries arrived at the warehouse, earning his group the nickname “Strawberry Boys.”

He quickly rose to prominence, becoming president of the Central States Drivers Council in 1940, and later elected as the international vice president of the Teamsters in 1952. Within five years, he succeeded Dave Beck as international president. His leadership was marked by both his contentious handling of power and his cult-like popularity, as well as his longstanding ties to the underworld of organized crime.

The transportation industry regarded him as a tough negotiator and a fair leader. His achievements helped make the International Brotherhood of Teamsters the largest labor union in the United States. Despite this, talks about Hoffa’s possible ties to organized crime, overshadowing his reputation as a public leader. The mafia backed him, and his influence in local unions made it easier for mobsters to pressure local businessmen.

En la imagen se muestra a Jimmy Hoffa y Robert Kennedy
Jimmy Hoffa y Robert Kennedy, imágenes obtenidas de Wikipedia Commons

Rivalry between Hoffa and Kennedy

The legendary rivalry between Jimmy Hoffa and Robert Kennedy, leader of the Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, was characterized by intense enmity. The dramatic courtroom confrontations between these two characters, described as charismatic and determined, were worthy of the big screen.

Despite Kennedy’s relentless investigations and questioning, Hoffa managed to stand his ground and was re-elected as president of the Teamsters. However, the feud was far from over, as John F. Kennedy’s presidency in 1960 meant that Robert Kennedy, now Attorney General, would continue to pursue Hoffa.

Their rivalry peaked during Kennedy’s tenure. Serving as attorney general, Robert Kennedy prioritized combating organized crime in the United States. Due to his background, Kennedy focused on Jimmy Hoffa, publicly branding him as the most dangerous man in America and establishing a special unit within the Department of Justice to pursue Hoffa and the Teamsters.

Hoffa was convicted of federal perjury and sentenced to 13 years in prison but clung to his position as union president until 1971. After his release in 1975, he disappeared mysteriously, leading to speculation of a mafia-orchestrated murder.

Although officially declared dead in 1982, his disappearance remains one of America’s great mysteries. Investigators have spent decades searching for clues about his fate, uncovering evidence of corruption and unraveling intrigues at government and criminal levels. Despite these efforts, the mystery of James Riddle Hoffa’s disappearance, last seen at a Michigan restaurant in 1975, remains unresolved.


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