James R. Hoffa James Riddle Hoffa (following called Hoffa) was born in Brazil, Indiana on February 14, 1913. His father, John Hoffa, died in 1920. Therefore, his mother, Viola Hoffa (maiden name: Riddle), had to start earning money. Hoffa and his three brothers and sisters additionally had to support the family.
When Hoffa was eleven years old, they moved to Detroit. At the age of twelve, he started working in a grocery store on the weekends. In 1927, he went to a full-time job instead of going to the local high school.
When the Big Depression started in 1929, he changed his job and worked at the Kroger warehouse. The working conditions, however, were very bad. As a result, Hoffa and his co-workers formed a little union and planned a strike, which finally ended successfully.
Afterwards, the Teamsters' Union asked Hoffa's little union to join, which they did. Later, Hoffa quit his job at Kroger's and worked for the Joint Council 43.
In 1935, Hoffa got appointed business agent of Local 299.
He first met his future-wife, Josephine Poszywak in May 1935. They got married September 24, 1936 in Bowling Green, Ohio and had two children, James Philip Hoffa and Barbara Hoffa.
By 1940, Hoffa was chairman of the Central States Drivers Council and two years later, he had become president of the Michigan Conference of Teamsters. In 1952, he was elected to vice-president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Robert Kennedy as chief of the AFL-CIO (McClellan Committee) started an investigation against the Teamsters in 1956 due to unclear relationships to the mafia and association with organized crimes. Later, the AFL-CIO expelled the Teamsters.
In October 1957, Hoffa got elected as International president of the Teamsters. He replaced the former Teamsters' president Dave Beck who got convicted on embezzlement,