Hoffa dawdles on corrupt Chicago local fix

Control of the powerful Teamsters chapter that oversees trade show workers at McCormick Place and truck drivers on films shot in Chicago should be stripped from the family that's run it for generations and put in "trusteeship" where an outsider would be temporarily in charge. A union watchdog made the recommendation more than 2 months ago.

In its Aug. 27 report, the Independent Review Board - a creation of the federal government and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters - pointed to three main problems with Teamsters Local 714:

• Members with ties to the ruling Hogan clan routinely got work on movie and TV sets over more senior people.

• Union leaders didn't adequately enforce contracts with five companies, which got away with using non-union labor for work that should have gone to Local 714 members.

• Local 714's chief, Robert Hogan, "failed to take action" after learning that a family friend who was in the union had contact with Hogan's father -- who had been kicked out of the union for alleged corruption. Active Teamsters are not allowed to "knowingly associate" with barred members.

The Independent Review Board has asked IBT General President James P. Hoffa to put Local 714 in trusteeship "because the Local is being conducted in a manner to jeopardize the interests of the Local, the Local is not being run for the benefit of its members and, at five Local 714 employers, the Local failed to perform duties of a bargaining representative."

On Tuesday, Robert Hogan, who could face expulsion or other discipline, called the situation "unfair" and suggested investigators "have a problem with the Hogan name."

The five companies mentioned in the report "represent less than 1 percent of our membership" and he noted the movie division's rules mirror those of a California local that does nothing but movie work.

Local 714 has been run by the Hogan family for three generations. They lost control once before, in 1996, over similar allegations, but returned to the helm in 1998.

The new report makes no mention of McCormick Place labor practices, which were widely criticized over the last dozen years as favoring Hogan cronies.

"We never make any comments on ongoing investigations," a Hoffa spokesman said.

Ken Paff, head of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, expects the international will ultimately place the local under trusteeship, but he said to completely end corruption, "members are going to need to come forward and clean up the local."

Based in Berwyn, Local 714 has roughly 10,000 members.


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