By Meghashyam Mali - 09/04/11 01:54 PM EDT
International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa criticized the patriotism of American corporations that are sitting on assets and holding back from employing more American workers.
Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hoffa called American businesses “unpatriotic” for opening factories and stores overseas instead of helping boost employment at home. He singled out Apple Inc., saying “every time they do something, they do it in China, they do it somewhere else.”
Hoffa suggested that too much attention has been paid to what the president and lawmakers can do to boost the economy and called for increased pressure on businesses to contribute to the effort.
“What obligation does American business have?” he asked. He called on corporations to “start spending some of that money here in America.”
“We’ve lost 8 million jobs since , and we need to challenge them to get in the game,” Hoffa said.
He added that he also expects President Obama to present a “bold plan” to boost employment when he addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
“We want a bold plan. Labor wants a bold program,” Hoffa said.
“So far what we’ve done hasn’t worked; we’re still at 9 percent,” he said of the unemployment rate. “[Obama] needs to challenge business. Labor needs everybody to be in the game.”
Labor unions have indicated they are growing frustrated with their traditional allies in Washington over worries the president and congressional Democrats are more concerned with cutting the national deficit than with boosting the still-struggling economy.
Hoffa suggested, however, that the Teamsters were still behind the president in his reelection bid.
“He took over the worst economy in 80 years,” Hoffa said of Obama. “He’s going to have a very difficult time turning this around.”
Hoffa dismissed the Republican 2012 presidential field and said Obama was the easy choice.
“When the alternatives are Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, it makes it easy to make this decision,” he said, calling the GOP candidates “anti-union, anti-worker.”
Amid concern that Democratic leaders are not pushing back against Republicans, labor unions are gearing up for the 2012 election.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Wednesday that a super PAC is being set up by the labor federation to help unions earn their independence from political parties.
Trumka said labor unions would continue to push both parties to do more to boost employment. Voters are “going to check and see who’s pushing for jobs right now, see whose main purpose and focus is jobs,” Trumka said Wednesday.
This story was updated at 10:54 a.m.