Jimmy Hoffa facts for kids
Hoffa (left) with son James P. Hoffa in 1965
James Riddle Hoffa
February 14, 1913
|Disappeared||Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan|
|Status||Declared dead in absentia
July 30, 1982 (aged 69)
Josephine Hoffa (née Poszywak) (m. 1936)
James Riddle Hoffa (February 14, 1913 – disappeared July 30, 1975) was an American labor union leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1958 until 1971. He vanished in late July 1975, at age 62.
From a young age, Hoffa was a union activist and became an important regional figure with the IBT by his mid-20s. By 1952 he had risen to national vice-president of the IBT, and served as the union's general president between 1958 and 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters' rates in 1964 with the National Master Freight Agreement. He played a major role in the growth and development of the union, which eventually became the largest (by membership) in the United States with over 2.3 million members at its peak, during his terms as its leader.
Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, and this connection continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud in 1964, in two separate trials. He was imprisoned in 1967 and sentenced to thirteen years. In mid-1971, he resigned as president of the union as part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon; he was released later that year, though barred from union activities until 1980. Hoffa, hoping to regain support and to return to IBT leadership, unsuccessfully attempted to overturn this order.
Early life and family
Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana on February 14, 1913, to Indiana natives John and Viola (née Riddle) Hoffa. His father, who was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, died in 1920 when Hoffa was seven years old. The family moved to Detroit in 1924, where Hoffa was raised and lived the rest of his life. Hoffa left school at age 14 and began working full-time manual labor jobs to help support his family.
Hoffa married Josephine Poszywak, an 18-year-old Detroit laundry worker of Polish heritage, at Bowling Green, Ohio on September 24, 1936; the couple had met during a non-unionized laundry workers' strike action six months earlier. The couple had two children: a daughter, Barbara Ann Crancer, and a son, James P. Hoffa. The Hoffas paid $6,800 in 1939 for a modest home in northwest Detroit. The family later owned a simple summer lakefront cottage in Orion Township, Michigan, north of Detroit.
Hoffa worked to defend the Teamsters unions from raids by other unions, including the CIO, and extended the Teamsters' influence in the Midwestern states, from the late 1930s to the late 1940s. Although he never actually worked as a truck driver, he became president of Local 299 in December 1946. He then rose to lead the combined group of Detroit-area locals shortly afterwards, and advanced to become head of the Michigan Teamsters groups sometime later. During this time, Hoffa obtained a deferment from military service in World War II by successfully making a case for his union leadership skills being of more value to the nation, by keeping freight running smoothly to assist the war effort.
Hoffa disappeared sometime after 2:45 p.m. on July 30, 1975, from the parking lot of Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, a suburb of Detroit. He had told others he was going there to meet with two Mafia leaders: Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. Provenzano was also a Teamster leader in New Jersey and had earlier been close to Hoffa. Provenzano was a national vice-president with IBT from 1961.
Hoffa's wife reported him missing that evening. Police found his car at the restaurant, unlocked, but there was no indication of what happened to him. Years of extensive investigation, involving numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI, came to no definite conclusion. Giacalone and Provenzano, who denied having scheduled a meeting with Hoffa, were found not to have been near the restaurant that afternoon. Hoffa was declared legally dead on July 30, 1982. The case continues to be the subject of rumor and speculation.
Hoffa is portrayed by:
- Robert Blake in the TV-film Blood Feud (1983)
- Trey Wilson in the television miniseries Robert Kennedy and His Times (1985)
- Jack Nicholson in the biographical film Hoffa (1992)
- Paul Dewdney in the UK television series Conspiracy (2015)
- Al Pacino in the crime film The Irishman (2019)
Images for kids
Hoffa (right) and Bernard Spindel after a 1957 court session in which they pleaded not guilty to illegal wiretap charges
Jimmy Hoffa Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.