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Teamsters Won’t Endorse Buchanan

November 28, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Teamsters will not endorse Pat Buchanan for president even though the union agrees with the potential Reform Party presidential nominee on trade issues, Teamsters leader James P. Hoffa said Sunday.

``We’re looking at him, but I think because of other ideas, we’re probably not going to endorse him,″ Hoffa said on ``Fox News Sunday.″

He did not elaborate on where they differ and the union did not immediately return a telephone message Sunday. Buchanan’s campaign office said no one was immediately available Sunday.

But organized labor and Buchanan do differ on some important domestic issues. Unions want to increase the minimum wage, which Buchanan opposes, and favors universal health care. Buchanan wants to allow workers to invest money they would otherwise put into Medicare, so they can provide for their own health care in retirement.

Hoffa said Buchanan, a vocal opponent of trade agreements with such countries as China and Mexico that he says take away jobs in America, ``is right on trade.″ Buchanan ``is the only candidate who understands the problem of trade and I know that he’s speaking out and I encourage him to do so.″

The Teamsters and the United Auto Workers last month refused to join the AFL-CIO in endorsing Vice President Al Gore for next year’s presidential election. Gore, his Democratic rival Bill Bradley and Republican front-runner Texas Gov. George W. Bush all advocate free trade.

Hoffa’s name had come up as a possible running mate for Buchanan if the Reform Party picks Buchanan as its nominee. But Hoffa has made clear that he is not interested in becoming a candidate.

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