The most famous president of the legendary Teamsters Union, Jimmy Hoffa, remains a polarizing figure some 39 years after his disappearance. Hoffa was the first union boss ever to grace the cover of Time Magazine, on their issue released 55 years ago today, and he remains as much an enigma now as he was then. [photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty]
During his early years with the Teamsters, Hoffa battled alongside other members of the union to defend against raids from other, more powerful unions like the CIO. He worked throughout the late 30s and into the 40s and 50s to consolidate various branches of the Teamsters, and similarly expand their membership. Through his efforts, it went from less than 100,000 members in the 30s to over a million by 1951.
Once Hoffa took over as president of the union in 1958, his troubles began almost immediately, and spent most of the 1960s on trial or in prison. Upon his release from prison in 1971, he was barred from union activities until 1980, but on July 30, 1975, Hoffa went missing while on his way to meet with two mobsters outside of Detroit.
In 1982, Hoffa was declared legally dead, but rumors and tips continue to spring up as to his whereabouts, or at least those of his remains. It’s likely we’ll never know what exactly happened to Jimmy Hoffa, but the fact that we still talk about him to this day is testament to what a huge presence he was in the growth of the American workforce. And we’ll always be hoping that the rumors are true about him ending up in Giants Stadium. And here’s a guy with some theories….