Updated September 30, 2010: The Independent Review Board (IRB) has exposed Hoffa’s Trade Show Director. The IRB's 161-page report on John Perry's web of corruption is available here in three parts: part 1, part 2 and part 3.Boston Local 82 was placed in emergency trusteeship on September 27 as a result of a lengthy investigation by the Independent Review Board and courageous actions by a number of Local 82 members. The action was long overdue. It opens the door for Local 82 Teamsters to make their Local Union work for the members. The trusteeship action was ordered by General President Hoffa two weeks after he received a 161-page report from the I.R.B. on the web of corruption, violence, and sweetheart deals run in Boston’s trade show industry by Local 82 Secretary-Treasurer John Perry. Incredibly, Perry is Hoffa’s national Trade Show and Convention Director, in charge of the whole division of Teamsters. Hoffa's trusteeship announcement lists eight grounds for the action, including that the local violated members seniority and assigned work to family members and cronies, ignoring experience and qualifications. Click here to download the trusteeship notice. The notice reports that the individuals who “abused their authority to award jobs to their friends and relatives” include an individual who was barred by federal law from acting as a union agent. This is a reference to JoJo Burhoe, who has delivered muscle to suppress members and keep Perry in power, in exchange for control of hiring for lucrative jobs. This situation has been detailed by members and reported by Teamsters for a Democratic Union for the past two years, including Hoffa Appointees Boston Goon Squad and Local 82 Members Will Clean Up Their Union. Hoffa covered for Perry, his political ally, until the IRB forced his hand. Other violations cited in the trusteeship notice include, the ratification of trade show contracts in 2009 that violated members’ voting rights, that “relatives of Local Union officers were appointed as Speculating or Chief Stewards” and received benefits beyond the contract; that Local 82 was not operated according to the bylaws or International Constitution; that the local has no legal accounting system for separating the union from the benefits funds; and that the local failed to enforce provisions of contracts requiring the maintenance of active seniority lists. That’s quite a list of corruption, and, remember, this is all run by Hoffa’s national Trade Show Director, whose multiple salaries for 2009 were $183,627. These violations were long ago detailed by members, reported by TDU, and given to the International Union. One important element conspicuously omitted from Hoffa’s report is the use of violence against members. One member, Eddie Flaherty was beaten so seriously by Perry’s thug Burhoe that he was unconscious and hospitalized. He left the industry for fear of his life. His crime was to be a critic of John Perry. When another Local 82 Teamster, Dave Corbitt, was threatened and wrote to the International for help, he got back a letter from Hoffa which said “the International Union does not have agents in the Boston area to provide protection to you or your family.”
Actually the International union did have an agent in Boston: John Perry, the very man behind the threats.
Credit for this too little, too late action goes to the Local 82 Teamster members who have documented these violations and pursued them with dogged determination and great courage.
Thanks to them, Local 82 members have a chance to restore pride, power and integrity to their Local Union.