April 27, 2007: If you're having trouble finding your local officers this week, here's where they might be: Hoffa's Unity Conference, Inaugural Celebration, Golf Tournament, and Poker Tournament, all happening this week in Las Vegas.
The whole gala is paid for by your dues.
The Unity Conference starts on Sunday, April 29, and runs through Thursday, May 3. According to the IBT website, from Tuesday through Thursday meetings are only scheduled from 9:00 am to 11:00 am each day, apparently so that officers can participate in the poker and golf tournaments.
For a $1,300 fee (which is paid from dues money), officers can enter the James R. Hoffa Memorial Golf Tournament, held at the same time as the Unity Conference.
Officers who don't like to golf can enter the All In for Education Texas Hold 'Em Tournament. The entrance fee for the card game is also $1,300.
We know many local officers who go to attend some of the meetings held there. But the partying—while our union is fighting corporate extravagance—is out of place.
April 20: Justice was slow but Hoffa and his slate have finally been forced to pay over $100,000 that they failed to pay employers during the 2006 election campaign. The Election Supervisor on March 28 ordered the Hoffa campaign to pay in full, with interest (ESD 2007 407).
Hoffa had tried to convert the debt to employer contributions, but TDU attorney Barbara Harvey successfully argued that it would be illegal.
Hoffa’s attorney (and son), David Hoffa, first tried to deceive the Election Supervisor by claiming that Hoffa’s running mates had all contributed the maximum allowed. The Election Supervisor proved that most of these rich officials had actually contributed zero or close to it, after they pressured local officials to pony up plenty.
March 14, 2007: Hoffa running mate Carroll Haynes will step down as president of Local 237 on March 31. But although Haynes is losing one multiple salary, he won’t need any collections from working Teamsters just yet.
Haynes is staying on as IBT Vice President and Public Employee Division Director, positions that bagged him $111,432 in total compensation last year. Because he is 73, Haynes is also collecting multiple pensions while he works and sweetening the pot by collecting Social Security to boot.
This is on top of a more than million dollar lump sum payment that Haynes likely cashed out from the Teamster “Family Plan”—a special IBT officers’ only pension.
On top of his multiple union salaries and pensions, Haynes has collected a no-show salary as a manager for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) at approximately $65,000 a year. If Haynes’ resignation from Local 237 means he will give up his NYCHA salary too (and that is not clear), his annual income could fall to under $300,000 a year.
Still, that’s not too bad for part-time work. Haynes informed The Chief newspaper that he’ll be working in Washington “one or two days a month” and also “working from home.”
“I’m not stopping cold-turkey,” Haynes said.
We should hope not.
Haynes told The Chief , “It's nice to go out on top, not by being forced out.” There’s a reason this is on Haynes’s mind. A reform slate led by Eunice Rodriguez almost toppled Haynes in the 2004 local election, which he won by just 470 votes out of 10,000 cast.
The local executive board will officially vote to appoint Gregory Floyd as the new Local 237 president at the end of the month.
February 27, 2007: In January Eastern Freight Director Dan Virtue was removed from his position by Teamster President Hoffa. Virtue immediately filed a protest with the Election Supervisor, charging retaliation because he ran as an independent candidate for Eastern Vice President.
Ironically, Virtue’s last work for the Freight Division was to help prevent Yellow from misusing a Premium Service Change of Operations.
The Hoffa administration is apparently claiming that they just want to save money by not paying his $45,000 IBT salary. We’re all for saving union funds, but this administration pays hundreds of multiple salaries and pensions, holds meetings at expensive resorts, and has let International reps run up astronomical restaurant bills.
Virtue made a point at the IBT Convention last June of stating that he was not affiliated with Teamsters for a Democratic Union. It seems that offers no protection from the Hoffa’s administration’s narrow-minded need to have only loyal followers on the union staff.
Does that policy help build a stronger Teamsters Union, or a cadre of flunkies?
February 27, 2007: James Hoffa’s reelection campaign was the subject of a hearing before Election Appeals Master Kenneth Conboy on Feb. 21, after failing to pay $110,000 to consultants hired by the campaign last fall. They claim they are broke, though millionaires on their slate contributed as little as $5, $60, and even zero.
The Hoffa Slate twisted the arms of International reps, IBT organizers and staff, and local union officials to collectively kick in over $3 million—often in chunks of $2,000, the maximum allowed under the rules. But most slate members contributed little themselves. Now they want permission to write off the campaign debt.
Barbara Harvey, attorney for Teamsters for a Democratic Union, has argued before the Election Supervisor and Appeals Master that it is illegal for Hoffa to accept contributions from employers and non-Teamster consultants like Richard Leebove and that the Hoffa campaign must pay its debt.
Leebove was banned from the 1998 IBT campaign for an illegal $167,000 employer contribution, and suspended from the 2001 campaign for hinting to IBT vendors they better donate to Hoffa to keep the business flowing.
Millionaires Can’t Afford a Dime?
Hoffa’s attorney, David Hoffa (son of James Hoffa), claims they just cannot afford to pay up, they are all tapped out. However, a review of the campaign documents shows that many of the millionaires on Hoffa’s slate hardly contributed a thing to their campaign, while demanding thousands from their staff!
John Coli, who bagged $362,000 from members’ dues in 2005, contributed $0 to the campaign. So did Carroll Haynes, another millionaire. Fred Gegare (total compensation $262,000) was able to muster just $5 for the campaign. John Murphy topped that with a total of $20, and Tom Keegel donated a grand total of $60.
Some slate members, like Jim Santangelo ($283,000 total compensation in 2005) reached $1,020 in contributions. James Hoffa contributed just $3,500, and 20(!) members of his slate contributed less than that. The maximum allowed from candidates was $10,000, and all these folks can afford that without denting their accounts.
So, millionaires who contributed $5 want to take employer contributions for their campaign, after extorting $2,000 donations from local officials across the country. Is that do-what-I-say-and-not-what-I-do or what?
All these figures come from official Campaign Contribution and Expense Reports, signed under penalty of perjury, by the candidates themselves.
The complete list of the 29 Hoffa slate candidates and their total donations to their campaign is available online at www.tdu.org or contact Teamsters for a Democratic Union for a copy.
February 27, 2007: Tom Bennett, the new president of Local 200, was caught by the Election Supervisor illegally using the union membership list in his campaign for local union office against reform leaders Tim Buban and Darryl Connell. In addition, the Election Supervisor ruled that Bennett lied to investigators in an attempt to cover it up. Bennett was fined $500 and on Jan. 26 the Election Supervisor referred the matter to the Independent Review Board (IRB) for further investigation and action.
Bennett obtained the membership list via the Hoffa Campaign last fall. That election has been protested to the U.S. Department of Labor, in part because of Bennett’s actions.
James Hoffa removed Michigan Joint Council President Larry Brennan from his International position effective Jan. 1. Brennan lost a $50,000 salary but will continue to head the Michigan Joint Council and Detroit Local 337.
The firing, along with that of Brennan’s assistant Dennis Hands, shocked Teamster insiders, because it was Brennan who gave Hoffa a no-show job as an assistant for two years to make him eligible to run for office in the Teamsters Union. Prior to that Hoffa was an employer, as a partner in a law firm. Hoffa and Brennan also grew up together, the sons of Bert Brennan and Jimmy Hoffa, who were so close that they were indicted together for taking payoffs from Commercial Carriers, a carhaul employer, to open a trucking company in their wives’ names.
Brennan and Hands, who endorsed Hoffa and donated to his campaign, apparently didn’t kiss enough butt for Hoffa’s taste; in fact, Brennan and many Michigan Teamster officials are fed up with Hoffa. Hands filed a protest with the Election Officer over his firing. Rumors fly that Brennan may repay Hoffa by airing some dirty laundry. Time will tell.
They say charity begins at home. But sometimes it begins with your dues. Hundreds of Teamster officials will each put down $1,300 in fees for the James R. Hoffa charity golf tourney in Las Vegas, to be held May 1-3 at the Paiute golf resort. And now, they can also put down another $1,300 for a poker tournament as well. They golf, gamble and mix with various Teamster employers.
That’s some nice charity, but it turns out the vacationing players won’t actually pay a dime. The charity will come from members’ dues, none of whom will be invited to join the fun.
Many Teamsters are exceptionally generous in lending a helping hand. But charity that takes dues money for gambling and golfing vacations somehow misses the point.
December 5, 2006: A Look at the Facts & Figures
- Hoffa won with 65 percent of the vote, in a 21 percent turnout. That is the same margin as in 2001, but with a slightly smaller turnout this year.
- The Hoffa campaign spent over $3 million to Leedham's $300,000 according to forms filed by each campaign with the Election Supervisor. The IBT and Central States and Western Conference Pension Plans spent millions more on propaganda attacking TDU and the pension movement.
- Leedham won a majority of the vote in 82 locals, seven states, and five joint councils. In nine more joint councils Leedham got over 40 percent of the vote.
- Leedham edged out Hoffa in the overall vote among Leedham’s best 194 local unions with 448,000 Teamsters. These locals account for 32 percent of the Teamster membership, but cast 37 percent of the votes. Where Leedham did well, voter turn-out went up.
- Among members covered by national contracts negotiated by Hoffa (UPS, freight and carhaul), the election was a toss-up. Leedham won most of the UPS-freight-carhaul votes in the Central and Southern Regions, while Hoffa won more in the Eastern and Western Regions.
- Among the 175,000 members covered by the Central States Pension Fund, Leedham had strong support.
- Among locals where the Leedham Campaign and TDU had strong outreach, Leedham was able to split the vote or win.
- Among members with little or no connection to the International Union, under local contracts and pension funds, and where there is not a strong TDU presence, Hoffa won big. This was Hoffa's winning margin: less involved members, in a low turnout.
- Among the three newly merged unions in rail and graphic communications, Hoffa won. But in one of them, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), Leedham made inroads, due to TDU activity, a rank and file campaign for the right to vote, and Leedham's running mate for International Vice President at Large, engineer Ed Michael.
- The Virtue-DiLeo Slate in the East, a two-leader slate running for Eastern Vice President slots, had significant support and strong candidates, but won relatively few votes. This showed, as we have seen in earlier elections, that most Teamsters who vote are choosing between the viable candidates for General President, the power position at the IBT. Independent vice presidential candidates cannot muster the votes needed to win. Leedham attempted to get all those who wanted a new direction onto one slate, but it didn't happen this time.
- Aside from tiny locals (with less than 20 votes), the most politically unified local in the IBT was St. Louis Local 604, a unit of carhaulers that voted 97 percent for Leedham (and its principal officer John Thyer).