Why Hoffa Can't Clean Up Corruption

Hoffa came into office 17 years ago promising to run a clean, democratic union. But with an International VP facing racketeering charges, Hoffa is circling the wagons. Why Hoffa can't kick the corruption habit.

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On February 10, International Vice President Rome Aloise—Hoffa’s chief operative in the West—was hit with 122 pages of corruption charges by the Independent Review Board, involving almost every conceivable labor crime, including:

  • racketeering
  • requesting things of value from employers during negotiations
  • taking employers’ gifts, including admissions to Playboy’s Super Bowl Party for Hoffa’s Executive assistant and his friends
  • trying to leverage jobs for his relatives from employers, including UPS, Costco and others during labor negotiations
  • negotiating a sham collective bargaining agreement
  • using union resources to punish political opponents and prevent a fair Teamster election

Hoffa has not stepped away from Aloise—quite the opposite. Aloise remains on the Hoffa-Hall slate and his facebook page brags that Hoffa-Hall have his back.

Employer pay-offs? Denying members’ rights with threats? Sham contracts? Hoffa says “No problem!”

In fact, Hoffa has his own close ties with each of the shady characters at the center of the Aloise corruption charges.

Aloise’s fate will be decided by the Independent Review Officer, former US Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti. The charges against him are exhaustively documented. Aloise will almost surely be barred from the Teamsters Union.1

Rome Didn’t Fall in a Day

The IRB notes that Aloise has a documented history over many years of illegally denying members’ rights. He was caught threatening to hurt a Teamster strike against Safeway because the local president was running for IBT office;2

He was caught and fined $5000 for threatening a member who wanted to run for delegate in Aloise’s local;3

He was fined and assessed $29,561 for using union dues for his campaign and then lying to the Election Officer to cover it up.4

Why Hoffa Can’t Kick the Corruption Habit

Hoffa came into office 17 years ago promising to run a clean, democratic union. But time and again, Hoffa has covered for corruption in his own ranks. The Aloise scandal is only the latest example.

When he was first elected, Hoffa hired an anti-corruption czar: Edwin Stier, a respected former federal prosecutor.

But when Stier’s inquiries into corruption and organized crime influence got too close to Hoffa’s top ally in Chicago, John Coli, Hoffa shut down the investigation.

Stier resigned in disgust, writing that when it comes to cleaning up corruption: “The problem is Hoffa.”

When members won the right to elect our International Union leaders for the first time in 1991, they elected a reformer who challenged the union’s power structure.

Teamster power brokers chose Hoffa, a lawyer with the most famous last name in labor, as their front man to take the International Union back.

Hoffa is beholden to that devil’s pact two decades later. Hoffa will never act against corruption when it implicates one of the power brokers that keeps him in office. And that’s why Hoffa can never kick the corruption habit.

1 Independent Review Board report of Charges on Rome Aloise, February 10, 2016.

2 2000 EAD 57 December 6, 2000, Office of Election Supervisor 

3 2011 ESD 286 June 28. 2011, Office of Election Supervisor

4 2006 ESD 341 August 23, 2006, Office of Election Supervisor

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