"These bozos want to turn back the clock to when the fat cats paid the workers pennies and took dollars for themselves," he said. "Should we go back to slavery? Take the vote away from women? Go back to child labor? Give raises to CEOs?"
"I got an idea, how about outsourcing the CEOs and bringing the jobs back to the USA," he said, to thunderous applause.
Another diminutive person brought the crowd to its feet -- and some to tears. Ten-year-old Christopher Duffley, born autistic and blind, sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" a cappella for the opening ceremonies. Hours later, he sang "Stand By Me" as an homage to General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel, who is retiring.
General President Jim Hoffa paid tribute to Keegel. "I am so grateful to have had you as our Secretary-Treasurer," Hoffa said. "Your strength, perseverance and wisdom have helped to make the Teamsters what we are today. You will never be forgotten."
Keegel's emotional farewell speech was another high point of the convention's fourth day. Keegel, introduced as a man who never forgot where he came from, recounted his early days in what is now Local 120 in Minneapolis. There, he said, he was inspired by veterans of the 1934 Truckers' Strike.
"It has been a fantastic trip. I'm so proud to be a Teamster," he said.
Micky Ward, the welterweight boxing champion, graciously signed autographs and had his pictures taken with Teamsters after speaking to the delegates.
"When people ask me what I do," he said, "My proudest thing is that I'm a Teamster for Local 25."
According to the Teamster Constitution, the International Convention, held every five years, is the supreme policymaking body of the union with the power and authority to modify the Constitution, establish programs, address fiscal issues and set priorities. This week, delegates will consider a number of constitutional measures and resolutions. Delegates also have the important task of nominating candidates for the International offices of General President, General Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and Trustees.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hard-working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Go to www.teamster.org for more information.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters