Teamster VP at Center of Nepotism Scandal

March 11, 2010: 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 and his political power base in Philadelphia.

A lengthy investigation by the IRB found that movie jobs in Philadelphia Local 107 were doled out to friends and relatives of Bill 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 more varieties of relatives of the officials of Local 107. 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.

How bad is the corruption? Hamilton got members to work for free for him in exchange for movie jobs. The International Union VP assigned movie industry Teamsters to move his furniture, rebuild his kitchen and do plumbing work.

“I felt obligated…to keep my job”

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.

History of Cover-Up

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 with the assistance of attorney Robert Baptiste.

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 position. International Rep Ron Schwab has been sent to oversee the movie and trade show division of Local 107. Hamilton now claims the local has nothing to do with movie referrals—a claim he has made before.

Corruption Weakens Our Union

The corruption and cover-up in Philadelphia are similar to the scandal in Boston Local 82 where another Hoffa appointee—Trade Show Division Director John Perry is under investigation for favoritism schemes run by violent union thugs. Hoffa has refused to take action there as well—even after the violent beating of a Teamster member and a grand jury investigation of Perry and his enforcers.

Employers love to seize on scandals like these to run down our entire union. This is especially true in organizing drives where employers jump on every case of corruption and throw it in the face of Teamster organizers. That is why it is critical for our union to take swift action against officials who exploit our union and the members’ trust.

The majority of Teamsters officers are honest and hard-working. Hoffa does a disservice to them and every Teamster member when he covers up corruption—instead of rooting it out.

The IRB report is available here. (Warning: This is a large file).

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