Administrative Criminal Law & Procedure in the Teamsters Union: What Has Been Achieved After (Nearly) Twenty Years

Source: James B. Jacobs and Dimitri D. Portnoi, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Volume 28, no. 2, 2007

This article is a comprehensive case study of the most important civil RICO labor racketeering case in American history, U.S. v. IBT. It provides the first empirical study of the effort by DOJ and the federal courts to purge organized crime from the IBT and to reform the union so that it will be resistant to future corruption and racketeering. Drawing on 18 years of litigation generated by the effort of court-supervised monitors to enforce the 1988 settlement, it utilizes a database of all disciplinary charges brought by and the sanctions imposed by the court-supervised monitors. This article traces the remedial phase which has generated an immense amount of litigation right up to the present and focuses on the disciplinary (as opposed to the election) part of the remedial effort. The magnitude of this effort can hardly be exaggerated. The two remedial entities that the settlement established to enforce the consent order have expelled more than 600 officers and members from the IBT and placed some 40 IBT locals and joint councils under the international union’s trusteeship. This work has been accomplished via the creation of an IBT-specific criminal justice system that has evolved into an elaborate system of procedural and substantive disciplinary law. U.S. v. IBT is an experiment in institution building. It may allow us to determine, or at least to knowledgeably assess, the potential and limits of civil RICO as a methodology for attacking deeply entrenched systemic criminality in powerful formal organizations.

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