Boston Local Board Elects New President, Questions Remain

The outcome might not have been too surprising, but the speed at which it happened was. On August 11, in an unexpected move, the executive board of Local 25 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, easily during the 90s and the first few years of this decade one of the IBT’s most corrupt and thuggish, elected former business agent Sean O’Brien as its new president. O’Brien replaces Ritchie Reardon as head of the union, which had been plagued by scandals that resulted in Reardon’s predecessor, George Cashman, going to federal prison in 2003 for nearly three years for extortion and pension fraud. As O’Brien’s father, William O’Brien, was a close ally of Cashman, the old regime appears well and alive, even if the roster has undergone some changes.

Reardon, whose term in office was scheduled to expire at the end of this year, witnessed his power slipping last year, when his allies lost a key delegate vote, and more so in the wake of the Teamsters national convention in Las Vegas this June. Many union members had expressed dissatisfaction over a work-rule concession in a recent contract agreement with United Parcel Service. Reardon, reading the tea leaves, reluctantly voted with other executive board members to immediately name O’Brien as his replacement. O’Brien served on the transportation crew headed by his father that allegedly shook down filmmakers shooting scenes in and around Boston – even Clint Eastwood walked lightly when he made Mystic River. Sean O’Brien’s campaign slogan was “Results, not excuses!” That might serve as the slogan for federal prosecutors if he’s not careful. (Boston Herald, 8/12/06).