Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, joined with the Teamsters Jan. 14 in asking U.S. District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska to terminate the consent order that has been in place since March 1989.
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa called it “a historic day” for the union.
“After decades of hard work and millions of dollars spent, we can finally that corrupt elements have been driven from the Teamsters and that government oversight can come to an end,” Hoffa said in a video message to members and the public.
Bharara said the proposed agreement recognized “the significant progress made in ridding the International Brotherhood of Teamsters of the influence of organized crime and corruption,” while helping provide “an avenue for the union to demonstrate its ability to preserve these gains through its own independent disciplinary and electoral systems.”
Hoffa, who has served as president since 1999, said he anticipated Preska would approve the agreement.
The consent decree was ordered as part of the settlement of a 1988 government racketeering lawsuit that cited decades of “pervasive” control of the Teamsters by organized crime, and alleged that the union had made a “devil’s pact with La Cosa Nostra,” then the nation’s most powerful crime syndicate.
The 1989 consent decree established direct elections of international officers of the union and established an independent disciplinary process for rooting out corrupt elements.
The new agreement would retain election reforms put in place by the 1989 decree, as well as a ban on International Brotherhood of Teamsters members and officers’ associating with organized crime. It would also replace a three-member independent review board that investigates union wrongdoing with the union’s own disciplinary process, through the appointment of officers subject to government approval. The agreement would phase out court supervision of the union’s activities after five years.
LARGEST IN ST. LOUIS
The Teamsters union is one of the largest in the St. Louis area, with approximately 18,500 members. Its locals represent workers in dozens of area companies from the United Parcel Service to drivers for companies making products from potato chips to ice cream to cement.
Hoffa is the son of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, who has been missing since 1975.