Federal Judge Upholds IRB’s Expulsion of Teamster Bosses

U.S. Dist. Judge Loretta A. Preska (S.D.NY, G.H.W. Bush), on Aug. 22, upheld the Independent Rev. Bd’s. expulsion of two frmr. allies of Teamsters president James P. Hoffa.  Formed in 1989 to root out mob influence from the Intl. Bhd. Of Teamsters, the IRB expelled William Hogan, Jr. and Dane Passo for plotting to drive down wages for members of Las Vegas Local 631 to benefit a non-union company in which Hogan’s brother had a stake.  Hogan — whom Hoffa appointed as Intl. Representative, and Passo — whom Hoffa actually appointed as Personal Representative to Local 631 — appealed the IRB’s May 30, 2002, ruling to Judge Preska, who oversees the IRB’s work.

In June 1999, William Hogan arranged a meeting between Local 631 officials and his brother, Michael, and Rick Simon, who managed the Chicago-based United Services Companies.  In June, the two proposed that United provide non-union workers to trade show contractors in Las Vegas at less than half the hourly wage of Local 631 members, opening the door for other contractors to pay the same wages even to union members.  When the officials refused, Passo engineered complaints about the Local’s leaders from his allies in the Local, and persuaded Hoffa to place Local 631 in trusteeship, under which the officials who refused to go along with the scheme were fired.  When the trustees also refused to make a deal with United, Passo, whom Hoffa had appointed Special Rep. to Local 631 in Nov. 1999, engineered their firing.

Even when the new Local 631 trustee refused to cooperate with United in 2000, United dispatched its lower-paid employees to perform work reserved for union members.  After complaints by the fired trustee reached officials in the IBT’s Washington, D.C. HQ, Passo was ordered not to deal with Simon.  In March 2001, Hoffa barred Hogan from negotiating with Las Vegas contractors on Local 631’s behalf.  Soon afterward, the IRB began its investigation.

Contrary to their claims that the dispute was merely about the interpretation of Local 631’s contract with the trade shows, Judge Preska summarized the actual misconduct of Hogan and Passo that led to their expulsion.  In addition to Passo’s machinations, the IRB found that Hogan had falsely claimed the support of IBT officials in trying to persuade Local 631 officials to accept United’s proposal.  Their misconduct also refuted the contention that Hogan and Passo were only advocating a proposed contract, and that the IRB ruling violated their right of free speech under the Labor-Mgmt. Relations Disclosure Act (LMRDA). [U.S.A. v. Intl. Bhd. Of Teamsters; Application 102: William T. Hogan and Dane M. Passo, 88 Civ. 4486, U.S.D.C. S.D.N.Y., 8/22/03]