Minnesota Bosses Convicted as Violence Continues to Mark Overnite Job Action

Three bosses with Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 120 in Minneapolis have been found in contempt of court in connection with the assault of one Overnite Transportation Co. driver and the harassment of a second that resulted in that driver being left inside a locked trailer.  Bradley Slawson, Jr., Edward Barnum and Lewis Miller were convicted of violating a permanent injunction issued December 1, 1999, limiting IBT activity during the current walkout that began on October 24, 1999.

Slawson is the recording secretary of Local 120, which is headed by C. Thomas Keegel, who also serves as the secretary-treasurer of IBT, the #2 post behind IBT president James P. Hoffa. Slawson is the son of Local 120 Vice President Bradley Slawson Sr.

The May 8 convictions in the Anoka County Dist. Court follow by three weeks the convictions in Philadelphia of IBT Local 107 and a picket line captain who were found guilty of contempt of court and fined $30,000 in connection with the assault on an Overnite driver in Bucks County, Pa. The Overnite driver was accosted in his personal vehicle on the way to work, just one day prior to his scheduled testimony as a witness in a second case involving alleged threats by a teamster in a separate incident in Philadelphia.

Despite the teamster claims of a “peaceful” job action, the National Labor Relations Board has issued nine complaints against the teamsters for violence and threats of violence. Judges in 21 cities in 14 states have issued injunctions in an effort to curtail violence by picketers and teamster supporters.  In addition, a federal task force is investigating possible links to 48 reported shootings and numerous acts of assault and vandalism aimed at Overnite and its employees since the protest began. In Jan., a 225-page federal racketeering suit filed in Jackson, Tenn., named Hoffa and other executive members of the union as defendants in an orchestrated pattern of racketeering activities, including 57 predicate acts of attempted murder, aimed at extorting a labor contract with Overnite.

According to Anoka County court papers, Slawson and Barnum confronted an Overnite driver during a pickup stop in Eden Prairie, Minn., on Mar. 30. The two Teamsters subsequently locked the driver inside his trailer. The driver was released from the vehicle only after his shouts for help were heard from a dock worker. On Apr. 4, again according to court testimony, Slawson and Miller were following another Overnite vehicle in Arden Hills, Minn., when they harassed and threatened the driver before Slawson struck the driver in the face with a picket sign.

The three defendants were ordered to keep away from Overnite property and that of the trucking company’s customers for the purpose of assisting the union in any labor action against Overnite. The defendants also were ordered to pay $500 each to compensate Overnite for attorneys’ fees and costs. [Overnite Transp. Co., Media Release 5/15/00]

DC37 Democracy Battles Continue
Roy Commer, who won office as a DC37 reformer, was removed as president of AFSCME Local 375 on charges of making an unauthorized mailing during the 1998 local election, and then ignoring an order to reimburse the local for the cost. Commer and his supporters say his removal by the union’s national body was part of a broader effort to stifle democratic reforms in the district council. Meanwhile, a reform group within the scandal-scarred district council was denied entry to union headquarters last night for its monthly meeting. “I find it ironic they threw him out and the crooks are still here,” another dissident leader, Mark Rosenthal, president of Local 983. [Newsday 5/9/00]