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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Federal Monitoring of Teamsters Is a Wrap

(CN) - The Teamsters reached a deal today to end decades-old federal monitoring of the union that aimed to stamp out its past involvement in organized crime.

Addressing 1.4 million union members, Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said it was a "historic day for the Teamsters Union."

The union entered into the 1989 consent decree on the eve of a federal RICO trial against its officers. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a prosecutor at the time, had filed the lawsuit, which accused the union of engaging in "a pattern of racketeering that including 20 murders, a number of shooting, bombings and beatings."

Several alleged Mafia members were also reportedly named as defendants.

Designed to rid the Teamsters of the influence of organized crime, the consent decree required the direct election of union leaders, to replace indirect election by delegates to the union's convention. It also permitted the government to establish an Independent Review Board with the power to expel any member of the union for "conduct unbecoming to the union."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that today's agreement "recognize[es] the significant progress that has been made in ridding the International Brotherhood of Teamsters of the influence of organized crime and corruption, while providing an avenue for the Union to demonstrate its ability to preserve these gains through its own independent disciplinary and electoral systems."

The Teamsters have agreed to retain the one-Teamster, one-vote election procedures implemented in 1989, and to appoint an independent election supervisor to monitor elections.

After five years, the Independent Review Board will be replaced by the union's own disciplinary-enforcement board, with appointed officers subject to government approval.

"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," Hoffa told union members.

Hoffa's father, Jimmy Hoffa, was a famous leader of the Teamsters Union, last seen in 1975 while on the way to meet with a member of the Detroit mafia.

A hearing on the proposed agreement is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2015.

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