Byron Boyd, Jr., Intl. president of the United Transportation Union (UTU), pled guilty on Mar. 11 to labor racketeering conspiracy. He also resigned the union presidency. He is the last of the 4 frmr. union officials indicted in a nationwide bribery scheme involving lawyers in the union’s Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) program.
Boyd and the other officials have admitted soliciting and accepting bribes from lawyers to be included in the DLC program, under which about 50 lawyers represent union rail employees whose job injuries result in claims against their employers under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). FELA was enacted into law by Congress in 1908 to specifically address the dangers faced by rail employees and their need to seek compensation for injuries.
Boyd and the other officials used the money for their own personal benefit. Boyd offered $100,000 of his take, along with a pickup truck to Charles Little to step aside as Intl. president. After Boyd spent some of the bribes to win election to the union presidency, he never paid Little. The UTU is based in Cleveland, but the U.S. Attny. Ofc. for the Sou. Dist. of Tex. prosecuted the case. Five Houston lawyers were granted immunity for their cooperation. Boyd is scheduled to be sentenced on June 10. [Houston Chronicle, 3/11/04: Miami Herald, 3/11/04]