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Government oversite of Teamsters Union to end in five years

03.02.15

MARCH 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Government oversite of Teamsters Union to end in five years

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 23rd- The United States District Court for Southern District of New York Chief Judge Loretta Preska on February 17th approved an agreement reached between the United States of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union that will allow the IBT to manage their union without government oversight.

The federal government has overseen the IBT for more than twenty-five years after it was discovered that there were some Teamsters officials allowing unlawful corruption into their labor organization.

The deal between the IBT and the federal government was reached with United States Attorney Preet Bharara’s Manhattan, New York office, it was announced in mid-January.

“The Teamsters Union and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed an application with Chief Judge Loretta Preska requesting that she approve an agreement to end decades of government oversight over the Teamsters Union. We anticipate that she will approve the agreement,” stated James Hoffa, General President of the 1.4 million member IBT. Mr. Hoffa is the son of the legendary IBT General President James R. Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975 and was never found. He served as the IBT General President from 1957 to 1971.

Under the agreement, the United States of America represented by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, will enter into consideration of its terms and conditions to dismiss its action against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sounding in the provisions of the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act Section of 1964 and will thereby extinguish the consent order that was applied against the IBT in 1989.

The agreement calls for the federal government oversight to be phased-out over the next five years and the IBT agreed to appoint independent office holders to probe into corruption allegations. Currently, there is a three-member independent board that includes a federal government appointee that oversees any allegation of corruption. The IBT members pay for the oversight board and all expenses occurred during any investigation or allege corruption through their union dues.

“This is a historic day for our Teamsters. 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 government oversight can come to an end.

When I took office in 1999, I pledged that we would run a clean union, that organized crime would never have a place in the Teamsters Union. I also promised that we would ensure that every rank-and-file Teamster have a direct voice in electing the Union’s International officers. After 15 years, we have accomplished these goals,” added Mr. Hoffa.

The IBT believes by the agreeing to end the RICO complaint against the union, the government is acknowledging that there has been significant success in eliminating corruption from the Teamsters.

The consent decree is replaced with a final order in which the government’s continued involvement in the internal affairs of the IBT will be phased-out during a five-year transition period which will begin immediately and end in 2020.

“Today is a new day for our great union. My administration is first and foremost committed to representing the membership. The members are the heart and soul of our great union,” Mr. Hoffa stated.

Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, represents IBT members throughout the Lehigh Valley. IBT Local 773 was chartered more than 70 years ago. Mr. Dennis Hower is the President and Principal Officer of Local 773.