NLPC Pres. Comments on IBT Ethics Controversy

From an op-ed published nationwide, by NLPC president Peter Flaherty…

Organized labor was an undisputed election day loser, but John Kerry’s defeat was a particular blow to Teamsters chief Jim Hoffa. For Hoffa…It was about getting the 1.3 million-member Teamsters out from under federal government oversight, in place since 1989.

 

The stakes for Hoffa were so high because of a burgeoning controversy that exploded with the April 28 resignation of Edwin Stier, the former federal prosecutor hired by the Teamsters to clean up the union. Stier charged that Hoffa had “backed away” and “inexplicably retreated” from anticorruption efforts.

 

…[Now] the Teamsters are refusing to release Stier’s 303-page report on the six locals…Stier asserted that he encountered “active resistance” from Hoffa’s office in investigating these allegations.  In 1999, the Teamsters established an internal reform program and hired Stier.  It was a way of staving off more serious scrutiny, and of showing “good faith,” in hopes of eventually escaping government oversight

 

Ironically, the Teamsters had made tentative progress toward walking on their own with the current Bush administration and Republicans in Congress…

 

Republicans should feel lucky that the courtship of Hoffa never led to anything more serious. Richard Nixon famously enjoyed the support of Hoffa’s still-missing father, and Ronald Reagan won the support of Teamsters president Jackie Presser…A better approach would be a renewed Justice Department crackdown on mob influence in labor unions. It worked for Robert Kennedy, who became a hero to many in the rank-and-file.

 

In his resignation letter, Stier…cited two specific examples of how Hoffa personally impeded his investigations, and in one of the cases, he accused the union of being “insensitive to witnesses’ justifiable fears of retaliation.” The bad old Teamsters are back, or maybe they never really went away.

 

In his resignation letter, Stier stated that he had “substantial reliable information that organized crime again threatens the union.” He cited two specific examples of how Hoffa personally impeded his investigations, and in one of the cases, he accused the union of being “insensitive to witnesses’ justifiable fears of retaliation.” The bad old Teamsters are back, or maybe they never really went away.

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