April 2, 2010: Hoffa moves to protect an International Vice President caught in a nepotism scandal.
Friends and relatives of Local 107 officials work on Philadelphia movie sets, while experienced Teamsters sit home out of work.
The Independent Review Board (IRB) has released a devastating 125-page report detailing a “nepotism and favoritism” scandal in the home local of International Vice President Bill Hamilton.
The IRB recommended that Philadelphia Local 107 be put in trusteeship. Instead Hoffa has moved to protect Hamilton, a Hoffa ally and campaign donor.
A lengthy investigation by the IRB found that movie jobs in Philadelphia Local 107 were doled out to friends and relatives of Hamilton and other union officials.
Instead of movie jobs going to the most senior Teamsters available they went to brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, nephews, uncles, sons-in-law and other relatives of Local 107 officials.
Local 107 members even did unpaid work at Hamilton’s home in exchange for movie jobs.
Hamilton’s sister Donna, with no driving or movie industry experience or a CDL, obtained good movie jobs while experienced Teamsters lost out. Hundreds of Local 107 drivers are laid off and out of work.
After the IRB investigated this blatant nepotism, the union produced a bogus “request” from a movie employer, which was dated more than a month after Donna Hamilton started the job.
Hamilton even got members to work for free for him in exchange for movie jobs. Hamilton assigned movie industry Teamsters to move his furniture, rebuild his kitchen and do plumbing work.
One of them, John Morrone, testified that “I felt as though I had to help the president of the local…if you didn’t help, you didn’t work.” Another Teamster, George Palladino, who did extensive free plumbing work for Hamilton, testified that “I felt obligated…to keep my job.” The movie Teamsters even used the employer’s truck to move Hamilton’s belongings to his lakeside home.
The local union’s dispatcher, John Dooley, testified that he worked for two weeks on Hamilton’s kitchen while being paid by Local 107. Dooley further testified that he told Hamilton that he made enough money to hire people to work for him. Hamilton made $213,975 in union salaries in 2008.
The local has a history of covering up this problem and subverting attempts to operate a legitimate union referral list. The local created written referral rules in May 2001. But the IRB investigation found that these rules “were never put into effect” and were in fact “window dressing” to cover up the practice of nepotism.
The IRB report recommended that Hoffa put Local 107 into trusteeship. Instead Hoffa has kept Hamilton in both his International and local positions. International Rep Ron Schwab has been sent to oversee the movie and trade show division of Local 107.
The man in charge has changed but not much else. Three new movie and television projects are gearing up in Philadelphia and hiring-by-nepotism remains the order of the day.
The brother of Local 107 Secretary-Treasurer Shawn Dougherty is working on a TV pilot, ironically called “Justice.” So is Mike Nugent, a trustee for the local, as are other relatives and friends of Local 107 officials. They don’t have the industry experience or seniority that out-of-work members do. But they’ve got the connections.
In this economy more than ever, we need our union officials to be looking out for working Teamsters—not looking out for themselves. Unfortunately, that’s not happening in Local 107. But that can change.
Hoffa isn’t going to clean up Local 107. That job is up to the members.
You can read the IRB investigative report here