For decades, Inside-the-Beltway politicians have again and again sullied themselves and the American public’s view of how Washington, D.C., works by turning a blind eye to Teamster union-boss corruption.
One noteworthy example is the Nixon Administration’s 1971 decision to pardon Teamster czar Jimmy Hoffa well before he had served out his 13-year sentence for mail fraud and attempted bribery of a federal jury.
‘Corrupt and Undemocratic Practices Persist at All Levels of the Union’
More recently, the George W. Bush Administration publicly toyed from 2001 to 2003 with cutting an outrageous deal to end federal oversight over the Teamsters, even as major cases of ongoing rampant Teamster-boss corruption and orchestration of strike violence were making national news.
And just last month, it was publicly reported that Preet Bharara, the President Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, had cut a deal with the Teamster union hierarchy that could potentially entrust ethically-challenged Big Labor bosses with the job of policing themselves.
As recently as last June, Mr. Bharara publicly admitted that, 25 years after Teamster union officials had entered into a consent decree with the federal government to avoid prosecution on an array of felony charges, “corrupt and undemocratic practices persist at all levels of the union . . . .”
Former Boston Teamster Chief Faces Sentence For Extortion, Racketeering This Month
Nevertheless, Mr. Bharara has now seen fit to join with current Teamster President Jim Hoffa (son of Jimmy) in submitting a request to Judge Loretta Preska that she allow court supervision of Teamster activities to be phased out over the next five years. (At press time, the deal still awaits Judge Preska’s approval.)
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix observed that Barack Obama and his advisors had started laying the groundwork for lifting federal oversight over the Teamster brass even before Mr. Obama was elected to his first White House term more than six years ago.
“In May 2008, two Wall Street Journal reporters uncovered the fact that Mr. Obama had won the Teamster hierarchy’s endorsement for President three months before by ‘privately’ telling the union ‘he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption,’” explained Mr. Mix.
The evidence of widespread ongoing corruption and lawlessness by Teamster union officials that continues to emerge year after year was plainly not sufficient to turn Mr. Obama from his plan to reward Jim Hoffa and his cohorts for their political support.
Just this month, for example, John Perry, the former czar of Teamsters Local 82 in Boston, is set to be sentenced to prison on multiple counts of racketeering and conspiracy.
Forced-Dues Repeal Could Actually Break Cycle Of Teamster Corruption
Mr. Perry and his co-conspirator Joseph Burhoe extorted hotels, event planners, caterers, and other firms in order to generate money for themselves, their friends and their family members. Workers who spoke out against such lawbreaking were threatened and assaulted.
“Based on the recent crimes of John Perry and others like him, you could certainly argue that federal oversight has failed to get at the root of the problem of Teamster corruption,” said Mr. Mix.
“The genuine way to break the cycle of violence and corruption is passage of the National Right to Work Act [H.R.612], recently introduced in Congress by Rep. Steve King [R-Iowa] and 76 original cosponsors.
“This legislation would make it far less difficult for rank-and-file Teamster members to fight union corruption by empowering them to resign and withhold all of their dues, without being fired as a consequence.
“But until this bill and other needed reforms are passed and signed, rewarding Jim Hoffa by ending federal oversight of the Teamsters sends the wrong message to the union rank-and-file and victims of Teamster violence.
“That’s why Right to Work supporters across America are hoping Judge Preska will take a close look at Teamster officials’ ongoing record of criminality and abuse of unionized employees and reject the Bharara-Hoffa deal.”