APWA Legal Staff Tom Coleman (anti-union)?

mittam

Well-Known Member
Uncle BS said:
A judge's rebuke
There's a question that Detroit labor attorney Barbara Harvey says has been popping up frequently since Hoffa began his run for the Teamster presidency.
"What I'm being asked is 'What kind of attorney was James P. Hoffa while he was in private practice?' "
She's quick to answer.
"What's notable about Hoffa's experience as an attorney is that that he represented clients who were convicted felons themselves É or embezzlers who were removed from office for their crimes against the union without actually being criminally convicted."
"Lawyers represent murderers and drunks and all sorts of other things all the time," counters L. "But that doesn't make them murders or drunks."
That misses Harvey's point: A labor lawyer with a history of representing corrupt union bosses might be a questionable choice as a leader of a union with a history of corruption.
As Exhibit A she offers up the case of George Vitale, who in 1989 was removed from his offices as an international union vice president and president of Detroit Local 283 for allegedly embezzling $10,000 in local funds and attempting to embezzle a $25,000 Lincoln Town Car while Hoffa was counsel for the local.
Prior to his suspension, Vitale went to federal court with Hoffa as his lawyer in an attempt to keep members from seeing their own contracts. The judge ruled in favor of the union members and directed that they be allowed access to the contracts.
That same year, members of the local attempted to gain access to union financial records after Vitale lost an election to a slate of reform candidates; not surprisingly, the union was in precarious financial condition. When Vitale refused to open the books to the new officers, another lawsuit was filed. Again, Hoffa &emdash; his fees being paid by the dues of the same union members he was working against &emdash; represented his friend Vitale in court. And, again, the judge ruled that the books be opened.
These days Don Stone is trying to organize fruit packers in Washington state, a cooperative effort with the United Farm Workers that is a long way from the circumstances 20 years ago when the agricultural industry used Teamsters to bust the heads of migrant laborers trying create the UFW. In the late 1980s, however, Stone was taking on Vitale and Hoffa.
"I couldn't separate the two," recalls Stone. "We had to go to federal court to keep Vitale from looting the treasury, and Hoffa was defending him all the way. We fought them because we believed in this union, believed it should be democratic."
To this day Harvey, who represented Stone and his fellow union members in the suits against Vitale, keeps near at hand court records that document Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rebuking Hoffa for his handling of the cases.

"Your conduct is needlessly wasteful and expensive, and a burden on the Court, on counsel, and on your own client," scolded Diggs Taylor. "And I think if you're going to continue to represent this client, you should re-evaluate your position. The people you represent work hard. They do physical labor for a livelihood. They are not lawyers, and most of them have no hope of ever becoming a lawyer. They hope, in fact through their membership in a union such as this, to be able to educate their children as your parents were able to, to spare them the backbreaking work they are undergoing." <HR>Curt Guyette is the Metro Times investigative reporter.
in this reply BS it mentions a few times that the union was sued to open the books, this is all supposed to be public record why do you have to sue to get the records could someone please explain that.you have to sue to get info for what you have a financial obligation ,what's up with that
 

bisongolfer

Active Member
Why would anyone vote for Hoffa, I just don't understand. A labor lawyer with a history of representing corrupt union bosses might be a questionable choice as a leader of a union with a history of corruption.
 

bisongolfer

Active Member
moreluck said:
  • 1960s: Teamster laborer in Detroit and Alaska, loading and unloading freight from ships, driving trucks and buses, and operating heavy equipment.
  • 1968-93: Teamster attorney representing members in workers compensation cases, Social Security, and personal legal matters; represented Teamster joint councils and local unions.
  • 1993-98: Administrative Assistant to the President of Michigan Joint Council 43.
  • 1999-Present: General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
This is all I found on Hoffa except for one other reference about being an "obscure Detroit lawyer". No info. on being an "anti-union" lawyer.
This is kind of misleading. Hoffa's only real "Teamster" position was the one that he took in 1993 as an Administrative Assistant. The other "Teamster" stints were for temporary summer positions...no different from a driver helper who gets mail from the Teamsters now a days.

Why would a successful lawyer accept a position as an administrative assistant? Pretty sleazy to accept that position just to quality and setup a run at President.
 

Uncle BS

Member
mittam said:
in this reply BS it mentions a few times that the union was sued to open the books, this is all supposed to be public record why do you have to sue to get the records could someone please explain that.you have to sue to get info for what you have a financial obligation ,what's up with that
I agree, my point is, if he is not representing the members, who is he representing?:confused:1
 

wkmac

Well-Known Member
Certainly, the union is no longer the ossified embarrassment to the American labor movement that it was in the 1980s, the heyday of Jackie Presser. Eleven years of government supervision have flushed the mob out of many locals. And once upon a time, the Teamsters would have endorsed George W. Bush, not Al Gore. (The Teamsters are, however, the only labor union represented on President Bush's Department of Labor transition team--along with the union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis Schintzler and Krupman.) Even so, the Teamsters remain an odd amalgamation of old and new

Could it be that some politico took the fact of that last sentence and twisted it just a little for political gain? Research Bush's DOL transition team and you'll learn the IBT official was James P. Hoffa. As for Hoffa and mob corruption, Hoffa's law partner was offed in a mob hit (Goggle James P. Hoffa and find that link pretty quick) and when Hoffa came to be IBT President he installed an independent body to investigate and clean out mob corruption and started pressing the US gov't from IBT oversite. It was long before the entire independent investigating team Hoffa has brought in quit because of stonewalling, etc. and Hoffa to this point has never got that going again. Also Goggle search will quickly bring this up.

For the record, I'm no supporter of Hoffa nor am I a supporter of Leedham. Carey may have been ultimately found innocent in court but I still believe he was a bad union leader as I do believe he used a number of circumstances to take us into a strike for purely personal political gain and nothing more. As of yet, I've not seen anyone on the scene worthy of my support to be IBT President and that's a prety sad and discouraging statement for a 25 year IBT member to have to make about his own union.

JMO.
 

susiedriver

Well-Known Member
Let’s recap what we’ve learned so far.

The APWA has hired a lawyer who works for a firm that specializes in Union busting. James P. Hoffa, while a working as a Teamster lawyer, has represented union bosses with mob ties. Junior left his lawyer job to become an administrative assistant for the Teamsters in order to run for President (Teamster Lawyer doesn’t count as employee status for an elected position).

Personally, I don’t care for Hoffa. I blame him for the reduction in our pension benefits. I certainly wouldn’t trust a lawyer whose claim to fame is union busting (Coleman).

Bottom line, the ‘everyone knows’ about Hoffa being an ‘anti-union’ lawyer charges are without merit, and if your only choices are Teamsters or APWA, you’re in a world of hurt. Glad I no longer have a dog in this hunt.
 
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