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The highest ranking Teamsters official in New England is facing possible disciplinary action for comments he made at a union election rally in Rhode Island.
Click here to watch the video and read the original piece.
Sean O'Brien, the powerful vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a top lieutenant to labor president James Hoffa, is facing possible suspension from the union for stating members should be "punished" if they elected someone other than those he supported in a Rhode Island labor election.
According to findings of the Independent Review Board (IRB) – an organization that investigates union corruption – O'Brien was speaking at a rally for Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Bairos in East Providence when he said he would have a "major problem" with those who voted against Bairos.
"I've got news for you, anybody who takes on my friend, Joe Bairos and his team, or Local 251, they've got a major problem," O'Brien said according to a transcript in the IRB letter. "They'll never be our friends. They need to be punished."
The comments were posted in a YouTube video, according to the IRB letter. They have since been removed.
As Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and President of the Local 25 in Boston, O'Brien made more than $207,000 in 2012, according to the IRB. The board found his powerful position in the union gives him the power "to retaliate against these political opponents."
- See more at: http://tdu.org/media/watch-video-teamster-leader-hot-water#sthash.S...
David Levin is an organizer with the Teamsters for a Democratic Union and supports the opposition movement inside Local 251. During a phone call from his New York office, he called the ruling "significant.""The fact that a grassroots movement in Rhode Island has shaken the Teamster power structure not only in New England but across the country is a good story for underdogs who believe in union democracy," Levin said. "It's illegal to threaten members for exercising their right to run for union office."Levin supplied the letter from the IRB to WPRI.com. He said recommendations by the board are almost always followed by the unions.O'Brien will likely be suspended by the Teamsters for his comments, which could impact his chances for reelection as vice president, according to Levin. He said Hoffa has 90 days to decide on what to do and the IRB has to sign off on any decision.Bairos is being challenged by Matt Taibi for the position of Secretary-Treasurer, which is the top position within the local. The election began on October 9th through mail-in ballots. They will be counted on October 30.The Local 251 represents more than 2,500 workers. Rhode Island Hospital employs the largest amount of workers in the union.The Teamsters were founded in 1903 and have 1.4 million members at 1,900 local affiliates throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, according to the union’s website.O’Brien has not returned a call for comment but in the IRB letter he told investigators the comments were “a poor choice of words.”The IRB was formed after a 1989 federal court decision in a Teamsters case. It investigates and takes action on “any allegations of corruption” according to a description on the Teamsters’ website.The three-member panel is made up of an appointee from the Attorney General of the United States, the Teamsters and a third party mutually agreed upon by the government and the union. - See more at: http://tdu.org/media/watch-video-teamster-leader-hot-water#sthash.S...
United Action Slate Scores Rhode Island Victory! October 31, 2013: The 5,000 Teamsters of Rhode Island today elected a new team of officers to lead their local forward, in a major reform win.The election posed a contest between the "old guard" led by incumbent Joe Bairos, and a younger reform team led by UPS driver Matt Taibi and Rhode Island Hospital worker Paul Santos to lead Local 251.All ten candidates on the United Action slate were victorious, and will take office on January 1 as the new union officers and representatives.Bairos, who made salaries of $187,999 in 2012, is an officer with the New England Joint Council and on the International Union payroll, as well as the head of Local 251. His campaign featured a barrage of negative attacks against the challengers and against TDU, the reform Teamster movement.In the United Action campaign literature, Taibi stated that, "For too long, Local 251 officials have run our union to benefit themselves, instead of the members. United Action will put the power of our union behind the membership to fight for better contracts and stand up to employers who are violating our rights."Local 251 has Teamsters working at dozens of employers. The largest is Rhode Island Hospital, and others include UPS, First Student, Frito Lay, Bradford Soap, Fall River DPW, freight and delivery companies. - See more at: http://tdu.org/news/united-action-slate-scores-rhode-island-victory...
Hoffa files charges vs. Hub Teamsters chief Donna GoodisonBoston HeraldOctober 26, 2013View the original pieceTeamsters president James Hoffa will file charges against Boston-based Local 25 president Sean O'Brien for allegedly threatening to punish backers of rivals running against his allies in a Rhode Island union election.Hoffa will appoint a panel from the Teamsters' executive board to hear the charges, according to John J. Cronin Jr., administrator for the Independent Review Board, which is charged by a federal court order to investigate allegations of corruption, domination or control in the Teamsters. "They also have the option of submitting an agreement to resolve the charges," Cronin said.The IRB last week recommended charges against O'Brien — New England’s top Teamsters leader — for allegedly threatening to retaliate against Teamsters for a Democratic Union members for exercising federally protected "rights to seek election to office and support the candidates of one's choice."O'Brien told attendees at a campaign event for Joseph Bairos, the incumbent secretary-treasurer of East Providence-based Local 251 who's up for re-election, that anyone who "takes on" Bairos and his team "need to be punished, and they need to be held accountable for their actions."O'Brien also is a regional Teamsters vice president and president of a council that settles disputes for New England locals. His spokeswoman declined comment.A spokesman for Hoffa also declined comment. Hoffa has 90 days to hold a hearing on the charges and forward a report with any recommended penalties to the IRB. If the IRB approves the recommendations, it will file them with a U.S. District Court judge for sign-off. Penalties could range from a reprimand to expulsion. - See more at: http://tdu.org/media/hoffa-files-charges-vs-hub-teamsters-chief#sth...
- See more at: http://tdu.org/media/teamsters-leader-accused-intimidating-voters#s...
30-Minute Break Does Not Apply to Local Drivers Michael RoseBNA Daily Labor ReportOctober 28, 2013Key Development: FMCSA issues final rule codifying a previous announcement that the agency's requirement that commercial truck drivers take 30-minute breaks does not apply to short-haul drivers.Next Steps: Rule takes effect Oct. 28, upon publication in the Federal Register.The Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule, scheduled for publication in the Oct. 28 Federal Register, codifying a previous announcement that clarified that the agency's December 2011 hours of service regulation does not apply to short-haul truck drivers.FMCSA in December 2011 issued a final rule (76 Fed. Reg. 81,134) pertaining to the hours of services for commercial truck drivers, limiting driving time to 11 hours per day and requiring drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes if more than eight hours have passed since the driver's last off-duty period.The American Trucking Associations challenged the rule in court, claiming it would be burdensome and costly. In an Aug. 2 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the rule, except for its provision requiring short-haul drivers to take 30-minute breaks, which it vacated (Am. Trucking Ass'ns v. FMCSA, 724 F.3d 243, 2013 BL 205678). In response, FMCSA in August announced it would cease enforcement of that provision.The latest final rule says that drivers who are not subject to the 30-minute break requirement include drivers who operate within 100 miles of their “normal work reporting location,” whether or not they hold a commercial driver's license, as well as holders of non-commercial driver's licenses who operate within 150 miles of their normal work location.The final rule also specifies that “because this final rule makes only the changes necessary to conform the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations to the Court's decision, FMCSA finds that notice and comment are both unnecessary and contrary to the public interest.”The rule becomes effective upon publication. - See more at: http://tdu.org/media/30-minute-break-does-not-apply-local-drivers#s...
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