Boston Goon Squad Update: Members, Contracts Under Attack in Boston

July 21, 2009: Hoffa’s Trade Show Director John Perry heads to court on charges of assaulting a Teamster member for filing a grievance.

In the meantime, Perry’s assault on Local 82 members’ seniority rights continues.

Working Teamsters in Boston Local 82 are standing up to violent intimidation and attacks on their seniority rights in the Trade Show industry.

As Convoy Dispatch goes to press, IBT Trade Show Director John Perry is heading to court on charges he assaulted a member who filed a seniority grievance. Perry’s enforcer, Joseph “JoJo” Burhoe, will be in court the same day. Burhoe is accused of brutally beating a trade show Teamster who criticized Perry’s refusal to enforce members’ seniority rights.

As the International Union’s Trade Show Director, Perry is supposed to coordinate our union’s efforts to defend members’ rights in the Trade Show industry—including seniority.

The problem for Perry is that enforcing seniority rights would make it impossible for him to put his enforcers and friends to work while long-time Local 82 members sit at home. That’s why Perry has refused to process seniority grievances.

Violating Voting Rights

Now, Perry has bargained the seniority language out of Local 82’s Trade Show contracts altogether—by violating members’ voting rights.

After members at Freeman Decorating and Champion Exposition Services voted to reject contracts that eliminated the seniority language, Perry held new votes on the same contract offers. But this time, only members approved by Perry or his enforcers were allowed to vote.

At Greyhound Exposition Services, enforcers and an off-duty cop barred some members from entering the hall to vote. At Champion, Perry let some supervisory personnel vote on the contract while other Local 82 members who work at Champion were denied their right to vote. Perry played the same game of pick and choose at balloting on the Freeman contract.

With the votes stacked, the contracts passed. Teamsters at another company, Nth Degree, have filed internal union charges against Perry for refusing to hold a proposal meeting and having elected rank-and-file members on the bargaining committee—as required by the Local 82 bylaws.

Perry is also under investigation by the Independent Review Board, the panel set up to investigate Teamster corruption.

The Boston media has begun to seize on the story playing to stereotypes that all Teamsters are dangerous criminals.

To try to defend himself, Perry has told the press, “What’s wrong with trying to provide jobs” to people with criminal records? The answer is: nothing. The problem in the Boston trade show industry is not anyone’s past criminal record, but the criminal behavior that is happening right now—including Perry’s.

Time for Hoffa to Act

The International Union has the power to put an end to the goon tactics, protect seniority language in the Local 82 contracts and enforce members’ rights to a voice in bargaining and fair contract votes.

It’s time for Hoffa to stop protecting his political appointee and start protecting working Teamsters.


Update:

July 22, 2009: John Perry and Joseph "JoJo" Burhoe appeared in court today in separate hearings on their assault charges against Local 82 members. Both Perry and Burhoe—a career criminal who has served as an FBI informant since his release from prison for armed bank robbery—were represented by the same attorney! Their next court dates are set for Sept. 18.

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