The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

He was a mafia-connected labor union leader whose mysterious disappearance still captivates — and he's a key figure in Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman." This is the life of Jimmy Hoffa.

A prominent figure in various labor movements

On July 30, 1975 at 1:15PM Union Leader James Riddle Hoffa got in his 1974 Pontiac and left his home for a meeting with mafia members Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. At 2 p.m. he arrived at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Detroit. At 2:15 p.m. he placed a call to his wife complaining that the 2 men were no-shows. 15 minutes later he was seen talking to 3 unidentified men and entering their vehicle. He was never seen again.

Born in Indiana in 1913, Hoffa was a prominent figure in various labor movements from a young age. His father, a coalminer, died of lung cancer when he was 7. As a teenager, he helped his coworkers at a Kroger grocery store organize a labor strike to fight unfair wages. For 14 years he was the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters — a labor union for truck drivers founded in 1903. Beginning in the 1930’s he helped grow the Teamsters into the largest labor union in the United States. At the time, trucking unions were heavily intertwined with organized crime, and Hoffa’s rise in the Teamsters went hand-in-hand with his mafia connections. In 1964 Robert F. Kennedy’s crackdown on the mob landed Hoffa in prison on a federal bribery charge.

He served 5 years of his 13-year sentence before having his sentence commuted by President Nixon. He attempted to regain control of the Teamsters but was met with resistance from union leadership — as well as mafia members, including Anthony Provenzano. Both of the men Hoffa was scheduled to meet have air-tight alibis. He was officially declared dead in 1982 — but his body was never found according to the FBI. For over 40 years the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa has remained a mystery.