Boston Local, Under a Cloud, Slated for Massachusetts Funds

The Boston Herald wants to know: “How lucky can a union local–especially one under federal investigation — get? And how tone deaf can Gov. Paul Cellucci (R)be to EARMARK $125,000 in ‘worker development’ funds for Local 25 of the Teamsters, the local run by George Cashman?”

Reportedly, this is the second year that Local 25 has been included Cellucci’s budget for a special appropriation. The money would be channeled through the quasi-public Commonwealth Corp., which last year actually saw its overall funding cut from $757,000 to $507,000. “Not a problem for Local 25 though, which is apparently ‘more equal’ than its brother Teamsters locals that have to compete with other AFL-CIO members for the rest of the pie,” says the Herald.

The Herald goes on to correctly observe: “All of this might just be an amusing tale of political back-scratching were it not for the federal probe of Local 25 and its officials, the complaints of extortion and thuggery against the union by a host of filmmakers and the recent report of retired Judge Robert Barton urging reform. Barton told the governor in no uncertain terms that his intervention in Teamster negotiations with filmmakers was counter-productive and that it was time the union mended its ways, particularly its contract practices rife with featherbedding.

What lesson can the union local take away from the fact that it gets a $125,000 check from the state, that it alone gets money earmarked in the budget? Surely it must be doing everything right as far as the governor’s concerned. Or with one foot out the door, perhaps he’s simply not concerned? If legislators go along with this ill-advised giveaway, extracting no reforms in return, then they will be as culpable as the governor in winking at corruption.” [Bos. Herald 02/10/01]

 “I don’t think any of it helps us, and I think that when you look at all of this turmoil that’s out there and the focus that’s on it, it really detracts us from the problems that are facing the country.”

 – Richard L. Trumka, Esq., Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO, responding to question from CNN’s Judy Woodruff on “Inside Politics” Feb. 15 about  Bill Clinton and “all of the controversy with regard to his leaving the White House.”  In his statement, Trumka appears to have forgotten that he is involved a “controversy” himself. He is reportedly a target of federal criminal investigation into the 1996 Teamsters money-laundering scandal.