In a critical test of whether our union leaders can root out corrupt officials who abuse their positions, a narrow majority on the IBT General Executive Board (GEB) voted 12-11 to give a pass to corrupt Teamster power broker Rome Aloise.
In a GEB vote today, Aloise was given a slap on the wrist for his serial corruption violations. For now, Aloise will walk away with a 30-day suspension with no admission of guilt. This decision was opposed by nearly half of the GEB.
The GEB’s sham decision will surely be overturned by Judge Barbara Jones, the Independent Review Officer, who has the final say on the issue.
Given the mountains of evidence against him, we expect that Aloise will be expelled from the union or hit with a lengthy suspension.
HOW THEY VOTED
Today’s vote by the General Executive Board was a test of whether the Teamster leadership can police ourselves and clean up our own house. The Hoffa majority failed.
IBT Vice President Sean O’Brien issued a detailed letter denouncing the decision.
Eleven leaders stepped up and stood with the members: Sean O’Brien, Avral Thompson, John Palmer, Bill Frisky, Bob Kopystynsky, Kimberly Schultz, Tony Jones, William Hamilton, Rick Middleton, Dan Kane Sr, and Greg Floyd.
Twelve GEB members sided with corruption: James Hoffa, Steve Vairma, Ron Herrera, Ken Hall, George Miranda, John F. Murphy, Fred Potter, Freddie Simpson, George Tedeschi, Stan Hennessy, Francois Laporte, and Craig McInnes.
“The Hoffa-Vairma majority on the General Executive Board put politics over principles. They are more concerned about protecting their cronies than representing the members,” said John Palmer, IBT Vice President for the Southern Region.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Aloise was removed from all Teamster offices for two year after he was found guilty of taking expensive gifts from an employer he was bargaining with, pressuring two employers to hire his cousin; making a sham contract with his investment friend; and misusing Teamster resources to get a supporter elected to union office.
Aloise flaunted his punishment and continued to make decisions for multiple Teamster affiliates while he was suspended from office. He also unleashed a series of retaliatory attacks against Teamsters he perceived as rivals. This resulted in new charges against him.
A Teamster panel found Aloise guilty on multiple counts while ignoring some of the most serious evidence against him. The panel decision sugar-coated the case against Aloise to justify a light sentence.
Even this white-wash was too much for Aloise.
Aloise’s attorney Pat Syzmanski, who also works for both Hoffa and Vairma, maneuvered behind the scenes and brokered a settlement that eliminates the guilty verdicts issued by the Hoffa-appointed panel. .
The Hoffa majority voted to approve this disgrace of a deal.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE
The final decision on Rome Aloise will be decided by Judge Barbara Jones. Aloise is expected to be suspended or barred for life.
Many GEB members stepped up and did the right thing today.
But the cover-up by the majority of the General Executive Board shows our union still has a way to go before our top leaders will police corruption and keep our own house clean.
Next year, Rome Aloise will be gone and Teamster members will have the chance to elect new leadership and a new direction for our union.
2021 can’t come fast enough.