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Teamsters Convicted of Racketeering

Convictions include using violence and threats of violence to get jobs

Building Trade Council remains silent as another scandal involving one of its owns unions unfolds

According to the Boston Globe, two former members of the Teamsters' union in Boston have been convicted of racketeering while they were members of the union.

On November 19, 2014 the Globe reported that, "Joseph Burhoe, 46, a former Teamsters member with a criminal history, and John Perry, 62, the former head of a local chapter, were convicted of multiple charges, including racketeering, conspiracy, conspiracy to extort businesses, and extortion. Both will be sentenced in late February.

Another defendant, Thomas Flaherty, 50, was acquitted of all counts, and defendant James Deamicis, 51, was acquitted of some counts. The jury was hung on other counts related to Deamicis, and US District Judge Denise Casper declared a mistrial on those counts."

The Globe went onto to report that, "US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office had asserted during the weeks-long trial that the four defendants hijacked a local Teamsters chapter for their own gain, and that they threatened fellow members to make sure Perry was elected and stayed in control. They then allegedly directed jobs to Perry’s supporters.

The four defendants were also accused of intimidating business owners with threats of disruptive protests to earn union jobs. Their union chapter focused on running trade shows, at the Hynes Convention Center, for instance, and would allegedly threaten to “shut down” any event that hired nonunion workers. Some of the victims were nonprofit organizations, such as Massachusetts General Hospital and the United States Green Building Council."

Astonishingly, the unions' attorneys, attempted to argue that the union members were merely, "exercising their union-protected rights to protest businesses." And lawyers wonder why they have bad reputations.


Teamsters' sordid history of bad behavior

And who could forget the Teamsters' behavior this past summer in Milton where union thugs threatened Bravo Network's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi because the popular reality TV show had the audacity not to sign a contract with the Teamsters to work on the set or have the union's members drive the cast and crew around the Boston area? 

According to Deadline.com, one member of the Teamsters ran up to Lakshmi's car and yelled, "We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you f***ing whore!”

Deadline.com went onto report, "Jenn Levy, Bravo’s SVP Production, wasn’t spared. Arriving at the restaurant in her black SUV, she soon found herself running a gauntlet of vitriol. 'She got out of her car in front of the location and quickly ran through the picket line,' a source said. 'They were yelling, ‘You bitch! You slut! We’re gonna get you!’ It went on like that all day.”

Theses are the bad asses of the Teamsters union.  Pretty brave to have a dozen or so males (we refuse to call them men) threaten and harass women.

It was also reported that Teamster union members slashed the tires of more than a dozen of the show’s production vehicles and broke the antennae off several cars.

One thing is for certain, these news stories prove that union intimidation and violence are unfortunately alive and well, despite the unions' spin that they are relics of the past.

According to the Boston Globe, the Teamsters' Local 25 crackerjack PR guru Melissa Hurley had this to say about the union's criminal behavior, “As far as we’re concerned, it didn’t happen.”

Wow, what a great comment!  The union ought to think about asking Ms. Hurley for a refund.  Seriously, Hurley's defense, how do you defend a bunch of thugs who threaten women, vandalize cars and wreak havoc on innocent people.

Maybe Hurley ought to think about giving up her $30,000 a year gig with the union, which you can see here on the Teamsters' most recent filings.   We have to ask Ms. Hurley, is it really worth selling you soul to a bunch of thugs for $30,000 a year? 


Massachusetts Building Trades Council remains silent on yet another scandal involving the union group?

The Massachusetts Building Trades Council, which likes to brag about being upstanding and for the little guy is silent, yet again, during another scandal involving one of its member unions.  The Council, which is the self-proclaimed "umbrella organization" for all the trade unions, continues to close ranks while union members' have their dues money misappropriated, while union officials convicted of racketeering and while other union members form a group and threaten to beat up women.

The Massachusetts Building Trades Council and its leaders must be very proud of their union brothers.  Honestly, how the heck do these people sleep at night?  A better question is, how would they feel if their wives or daughters were subjected to this kind of violence and harassment?

Yup, crickets....

Building Trade Unions Lobby to Cut Pension Benefits for Retired Union Members

Building trade union leaders have successfully lobbied Congress to cut pension benefits to union retirees by as much as 30% to get union leadership out of a hole they dug for the rank and file.

According to a Washing Post news article, "A bipartisan group of congressional leaders reached a deal Tuesday evening that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans."

The proposed new law was sponsored by the union's go-to-guy in congress, Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.), who according to the Washington Post said, “We have to do something to allow these plans to make the corrections and adjustments they need to keep these plans viable."

In other words, screw the retirees who have paid into their pension plans.

The Washington Post story goes onto acknowledge the proposed law could affect millions of  construction workers, as well as many other unionized workers in other sectors of the economy. 

According to Sean McGarvey, President of the North America's Building Trade Unions, "So in order to protect multiemployer retirement security and to avoid any semblance of taxpayer bailout, labor and management in the construction industry have worked hand in hand to formulate a reasonable and workable package ..."


Warnings were given

For years Unionsalaries.com has been warning building trade union members that their pensions funds were in imminent danger of collapse.  Indeed, for several years now the New England Regional Council of Carpenters has been forced by the federal government to inform members that the union's pension fund is in serious trouble.

In April, 2014 the New England Carpenters Pension Fund issued a notice to members that, "... on March 31, 2014 our Pension Fund’s actuary determined and certified that the Fund is in “endangered” or yellow zone status for the 2014 Plan year." You can see the warning here


Number of contributors to Carpenters pension fund falls while the number of retirees increases

In April 2011, the Carpenters union reported the total number of participants in the union's pension plan was 17,598.  According to the union, Of that number, "7,031 were active participants, 6,961 were retired or separated from service and receiving benefits, and 3,606 were retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits." You can read more here

In 2012, the union reported that the total number of participants in the plan was 17,407 members.  "Of this number, 6,556 were active participants, 7,209 were retired or separated from service and receiving benefits, and 3,642 were retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits." You can read more here

In 2013, the Carpenters Pension Fund was forced to acknowledge, "The total number of participants in the plan as of the Plan’s valuation date was 17,474.  Of this number, 6,336 were active participants, 7,478 were retired or separated from service and receiving benefits, and 3,660 were retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits." You can read more on this here

Although in their 2014 pension Fund Notice the Carpenters union suspiciously neglected to inform members of the number of active participants; retirees collecting benefits and the number of retirees entitled to future benefits, our bet is the trend of fewer contributors and more retirees has continued.

Active participants paying into pension fund
Retirees receiving benefits
Retirees entitled to future benefits
Number of Carpenters union members funding pension plan continues to fall as the number of union retirees collecting benefits rise

Massachusetts taxpayers take it on the chin

Massachusetts taxpayers actually fund union pensions on public construction projects as part of the state's prevailing wage law.  The law stipulates that wages, health and pension plans are all part of a construction worker's pay package. 

For example, the law stipulates that carpenters working on a public construction project be paid an hourly rate of $67.56.  This hourly rate includes a base wage of $41.60; $9.80 for health insurance and a whopping $16.11 for pension.  

So it's not just the union members who are getting scammed by union bosses' mismanagement, it's the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the pensions in the first place who are getting taken as well.


Where's the outrage from the typical cast of characters?

Where is Carpenters union boss Mark Erlich during all this?  He would have plenty to say if a private employer were cutting pension benefits by 30%

And what about Massachusetts Building Trades Council President Frank Callahan, the self-described champion of the working man? Frank, who never shies away from an opportunity to rail against something, anything, is eerily silent again.  Why is it when a union scandal is exposed, these guys are never around?

This is a pretty dim outlook for members of the Carpenters union who were looking forward to their Golden Years of retirement.  Time for union members and taxpayers to stand up and be heard.

If you have any information on pension reductions, please let us know by sending an email to: information@unionsalaries.com