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He began Teamsters with Jimmy Hoffa Add to ...

Robert Holmes, who helped a teenage Jimmy Hoffa launch his career as a labour organizer and then served for decades as a Teamsters union official, died Sunday of heart failure. He was 94.

In 1931, Mr. Hoffa, Mr. Holmes and a co-worker were credited with planting the seed for the Teamsters when they organized a strike at a Detroit grocery warehouse where they worked.

Until 1989, Mr. Holmes served as the Teamsters' international vice-president, director of the 13-state Central Conference and president of Local 337 in Detroit.

Federal authorities waged a long legal battle to force the Teamsters union to reform and curb alleged mob influence. In 1989, Mr. Holmes, along with two other international vice-presidents, resigned from the union executive board and agreed to endorse election reforms and other steps sought by the government.

Mr. Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and is presumed dead. Investigators believe mob figures had Mr. Hoffa killed to prevent him from regaining the union presidency after he served time in federal prison for jury tampering . AP

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