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.Read more
Chicago Teamsters Patronage Scandal
Hoffa-Hall Vice President John Coli is under fire for turning the Teamsters Union in Chicago into a family business.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Local 727 is funneling millions to a law practice run by Coli’s son.Read more
Leaked Email Exposes Hoffa’s Support for Pension Cuts
A leaked email from the Central States Pension Fund Director obtained by TDU blasts Hoffa for pretending to oppose pension cut legislation that he actually supports.
How Hoffa Fueled the Pension Crisis
May 20, 2015: Nearly 400,000 Teamsters and retirees are threatened with pension cuts. How Hoffa helped put the hit on their retirement.
Nearly 400,000 Teamsters and retirees in the Central States Pension Plan are threatened with the worst pension cuts in Teamster history. So are thousands more in some local plans in New York, New Jersey and Western Pennsylvania.
How We'll Beat Hoffa
May 20, 2015: Hoffa has won re-election three times. Here’s why Hoffa will be beat in 2016.
Hoffa has won re-election three times, including the 2011 election with 60 percent of the vote. But the key indicators point to a different outcome this time. Here’s why Hoffa will be beat in 2016.
Pension Fund says Hoffa’s Kroger Deal is Illegal
May 7, 2015: The Central States Pension Fund has decisively rejected a proposed deal between the Hoffa administration and the Kroger Co which would pull all Kroger Teamsters out of the fund, without even paying the required withdrawal penalty.
In a letter to the IBT and Kroger, Central States Director Thomas Nyhan pointedly reminds them that federal law requires cash payment of withdrawal liability before an employer can pull out of a union pension fund. The letter details the ways that the proposed deal violates the law, the fund’s Trust Agreement and the Plan Document.
Meanwhile, the IBT is proceeding with the plan to pull all Teamsters working for Kroger and Kroger contractors out of the pension fund. Votes are being taken on the national Kroger contract, covering warehouse operations in Houston, Memphis, Wichita, and dairies in Indiana and Michigan.
Many Teamsters see no alternative but to vote for the plan, in hopes of saving their hard-earned pension benefits. But as more than one Kroger Teamster has noted, pulling out of the union pension fund could be a first step in a plan to bust the Teamsters Union at Kroger.
The IBT’s proposed deal also covers Kroger third-party contractors who operate its distribution warehouses in Atlanta, Louisville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, along with other Kroger operations. A detailed memorandum of agreement for these operations actually provides for the employer to pull out of the pension fund in mid-contract. Nyhan’s letter reminds the IBT that the pension fund cannot approve a contract which allows for a mid-contract pull-out.
Nyhan’s letter notes that the pension fund “cannot prevent an employer from withdrawing from the fund if the employer and union are determined to do so” and if the employer pays the withdrawal liability, estimated at $1 billion for Kroger. He seems to be reminding the IBT Warehouse Division and the Hoffa administration that defense of union pensions is a primary responsibility of union officers. At the very least, he is telling the IBT that giving a $1 billion gift to an employer while letting them gut the pension fund stinks.
How will the IBT and Kroger fix this deal? Stay tuned.
What Hoffa Tried to Do to Your Right to Vote – and the Results
Hoffa went to court to try to destroy our Right to Vote. Teamsters fought back. Get the detailed run-down on the rights that Hoffa tried to gut -- and the outcome.
With end of Teamsters supervision, an era passes
The U.S. government is ushering in a new era for the Teamsters, ending its 25-year supervision of a union once infamous for its ties to organized crime.
Teamster corruption has held the federal government’s attention since the late 1950s, when Robert F. Kennedy first pursued the matter as counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, also known as the McClellan committee. Kennedy continued to investigate the Teamsters after he became attorney general in 1961, and those investigations continued in one form or another through the 1980s.
Click here to read more at Politico.
Teamsters’ 25 Years of Federal Oversight to End
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the federal government said Wednesday they had reached an agreement to end 25 years of strict oversight designed to root out corruption and alleged Mafia influence in the union’s highest ranks.
The proposed deal, which was reached with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in Manhattan, would end a 1989 consent decree stemming from a landmark racketeering lawsuit brought a year earlier by the Justice Department. Prosecutors alleged that organized crime members had seized “an interest in and control of” the 1.3 million-member union.
The agreement calls for government oversight to be phased out over five years. Eventually, the union will appoint independent officers to probe corruption allegations, a task currently handled by a three-member independent review board that includes a government appointee.
The Teamsters also agreed to maintain an election process for top officers mandated by the consent decree in which all union members can vote. At many other unions, only convention delegates cast ballots.
Union officials said they expect a federal judge to approve the agreement at a Feb. 11 hearing.
Mr. Bharara said that while the Teamsters have made significant progress in ridding its ranks of corruption, the threat of wrongdoing by organized crime still exists and the government would continue to monitor the union’s handling of disciplinary matters.
“While threats persist, the organized crime influence the government found to have reached the highest echelons of IBT leadership in 1988 has long been expunged,” Mr. Bharara and the union wrote in a joint statement to the judge.
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, who fought the consent decree for years, said it was a historic day for the union.
“After decades of hard work and millions of dollars spent, we can finally say that corrupt elements have been driven from the Teamsters and that the government oversight can come to an end,” Mr. Hoffa said.
Ken Paff, national organizer with a rank-and-file group called Teamsters for a Democratic Union and a Hoffa critic, praised the continuation of election rules.
He said a new requirement that the union pay for one mailing of campaign materials to all members before elections would help level the playing field for challengers to Mr. Hoffa.
“We’re pleased because we have protected and even enhanced the supervised right to vote for all members,” Mr. Paff said.
The Teamsters originally agreed to government oversight to settle the broad racketeering lawsuit. At the time, then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani alleged the union had made a “devil’s pact” with the Mafia by allowing it to control officer elections.
The suit named as defendants 18 members of the union’s executive board and 26 alleged organized-crime members, 25 of whom had been convicted of crimes such as extortion, embezzlement and illegal union payoffs.
On Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani said he believed the consent decree had been a success, noting that oversight continued across Republican and Democratic administrations. He said he believed the union had cleaned up corruption, but noted that the Mafia is far weaker today.
“The Teamsters is now free to operate as a very legitimate union. There’s no burden placed on it to operate as a subsidiary of organized crime,” he said.
Before reaching the agreement under the Obama administration, union officials had lobbied unsuccessfully in the past for an end to the decree, including through negotiations with the Clinton administration.
The current deal was the result of years of settlement negotiations, the union and prosecutors said in their memorandum to the judge.
Last summer, the Teamsters asked a federal judge for the first time to end the consent decree.
At that time, prosecutors responded that they would support scaling back government control over the union but not eliminating the measures, saying that “corrupt and undemocratic practices persist at all levels of the union.”
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday on the earlier statement.
The union wrote in a court filing last year that charges of corruption had dropped precipitously. Cases that involved alleged racketeering or other activity that prompted the consent decree fell to 33 in the past decade, from 144 in the first five years of the consent decree, the union wrote.
Teamsters Save Their Right to Vote
January 14, 2015: Teamster members’ Right to Vote will be protected under fair rules and independent supervision under a motion filed in court today on the future of government supervision in the Teamsters Union.