Despite a recent history of heated rhetoric over the full access of Mexican trucks to the United States, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is trying to forge closer ties with the Republican Party.

The Teamsters recently hosted a reception for Dennis Hastert, who serves as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and several other Republican Party members. Even Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao attended, the Teamsters said.

The purpose of the event, said Teamster president James Hoffa, is to continue the dialogue between the union and the Republican Party on working together in areas of common interest.

"We have learned that to get things done in Washington, you have to get support from both sides of the aisle," Hoffa said. "We have had many good working relationships with members of the Democratic Party and the same holds true in the Republican Party."

The union said it is making an aggressive effort to expand its political influence in Congress and build a pro-Teamster majority, regardless of party affiliation.

"Our alliances are determined by the issues, not by party labels," added Hoffa. "We work with those who share our concerns. In short, we want to be seen as a potential friend to all who are with us on the important issues, and we see all our friends as accountable for their actions."