John Ransom
Recommend this article

Fred Gegare, who is challenging Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa in elections this month to head up the transport union, says that Hoffa and the US government are colluding to control the union by the use of intimidation.

If true, the allegations could mean that 50 years of work trying to rid unions of mob influence has come to an end.  

Hoffa and the Justice Department, says Gegare, have abused a decades-old consent decree, “which was once used to remove mobsters two decades ago, [but] is now being used to target [Hoffa’s] critics” through a “rogue investigative unit set up by the decree.” 

The result, according to Gegare, is a dwindling treasury and deficit spending from the union that is leaving the Teamsters in the red. In part, the financial difficulties have stemmed from an unprecedented spending spree, putting the union in debt and threatening the negotiating power of the union.

“Instead of buying pretty dresses and designer shoes,” says Gegare, “[Hoffa] put a stable of personal assistants and high-priced consultants on the Teamster payroll.  Their jobs are to do little else than satisfy the every whim of James Phillip [Hoffa] and the rest of the Hoffa family.”

According to a statement released by Gegare, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters spent $212 million last year, but brought in only $172 million to the IBT treasury.

“This is a disastrous trend for our union, but Hoffa continues to buy loyalty by paying exorbitant salaries to his pay rollers and huge fees to outside consultants," said the statement released on October 5th. These tactics are the type of clout-buying that is a staple in the Chicago Combine. 

When you figure in Obama’s mobster roots in the Chicago Combine with his administration’s willingness to use government power in conjunction with unions to get what they want, then the question becomes, not if the mob is making a comeback in unions, but how much control do they already have?

Now you know where all those shovel ready dollars went. They went to connected contractors under the patronage of Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, Republican Ray LaHood, a veteran of the Combine.

Critics have already charged that the Obama administration is willing to use the NLRB as the enforcement arm of unions, as well as other agencies. Last week we wrote about how the National Legal and Policy Center is investigating why the Labor Department is enlisting help from the IRS to shakedown homebuilders on behalf of unions.      

And recent events have seen an increase in union violence reminiscent of the worst days of mob influence in the Teamsters.

A $70,000 reward is being offered in connection with a shooting in Toledo that the victim says was in retaliation for a long-running dispute that he’s had with the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

John King, who owns an electrical contracting business, was shot at his home as he interrupted someone vandalizing his car. The vandal had etched the word “SCAB” across the passenger side of King’s car.

"I think perhaps the labor unions feel threatened by us now that, through this economic downturn, we've been growing and getting busier and busier," King told the Toledo Blade.

Last month, longshoremen in Seattle “stormed the Port of Longview …overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad cars,” writes Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment, “and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha. Six guards were held hostage for a couple of hours after 500 or more Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, he said.”

The story of hostage taking by the 500 union workers has largely remained out of the national media.

One story that the media is covering is the announcement by AFL-CIO, the largest union in the country, that it will start to provide support for the Occupy Wall Street heard. The question remains whether the initial “organizers” of OWS will allow the union to swamp the “movement.” If allowed to be taken over by unions, you could see protests that have been stinky, rude and unruly, become stinky, rude, unruly and violent.   

Union Facts says that statistics by the Department of Labor show that racketeering fines for union misbehavior are on the increase.

During the Obama administration, fines, restitutions, forfeitures and civil monetary actions against union members for actions that “defrauded unions and other parties” in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 amounted to $150 million, even though indictments have dropped significantly to 139 indictments for 2010. 

In 2008, the amount in fines leveled on union racketeering was $24 million on 195 indictments.

That could be because unions have more pickings from which they can plunder under Obama.   

“Since FY 2001, racketeering investigations have yielded more than 2,000 indictments and awarded more than $3 billion in fines and restitution,” writes Union Facts. “Many of these cases involve union officials failing to protect their members from unethical pension scams and internal union racketeering cases, but OIG’s website currently notes ‘a rapid rise of transnational organized crime groups that are engaging in new criminal enterprises … Specifically, OIG investigations have found that nontraditional organized criminal groups are exploiting the Department of Labor’s foreign labor certification and Unemployment Insurance programs.’”

Now you know why Democrats are all about expanding unemployment insurance.  We get graft with a little help from our friends.

Also according to Union Facts, a poll taken last October revealed “that 44% of public and government union members believe American unions are less honest and principled than they were 50 years ago.”

Well that’s just great.

Unions are less honest and principled than they were during the heyday of the union-mob alliance, when, according to Time Magazine, the Kefauver hearings found that “’The evidence demonstrates quite clearly that organized crime today is not limited to any single community of any single state, but occurs all over the country.’ Big Crime's big men know each other, deal with each other, meet frequently, ‘and on occasion do each other's dirty work when a competitor must be eliminated, an informer silenced, or a victim persuaded.’"

Quick: Name a sector of Amercian society outside of Chicago and unions that keeps statistics for indictments, prosecutions and convictions? 

This is what Organizing for America looks like, Chicago style.

It’s about to go transnational. Get used to it.

Labor and Racketeering Investigations
  FY 2001 FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004 FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010
Cases opened 105 125 124 135 103 130 93 112 96 117
Cases closed 109 130 144 115 107 122 111 92 117 130
Cases referred for prosecution 57 74 66 87 88 105 80 74 81 105
Indictments 161 218 181 260 322 271 198 195 111 139
Convictions 92 154 120 143 196 241 183 214 146 112
Fines, restitutions, forfeitures, and civil monetary actions ($ in millions) $42.5 $105.9 $27.9 $36.5 $187.9 $69.2 $27.1 $24.2 $76.2 $72.9
Source: Department of Labor Office of Inspector General via Union Facts.com 


John Ransom | Create Your Badge

Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/bamransom -See more top stories from Townhall Finance. New Homepage, more content. Be the best informed fiscal conservative.

Recommend this article

John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.