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Confronting corruption:

  • What can be done to fight corruption in labor unions?
  • What is the role of the government and law enforcement?
  • What is the role of union members?
  • What has been tried? What has worked and what hasn't?
  • Discuss the conference:
    How do the experiences and ideas presented here relate to your own experience?

    -- People are talking about the audio on the following sites (links do not imply endorsement; please tell us of others not listed here):

    uncharted.ca
    -> your forum/blog here

    Conference coverage in City Limits Magazine:
    "Experts on organized crime's exploitation of the labor movement ..including labor leaders, a former member of Mario Cuomo's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), and the government trustee who took over Anthony Provenzano's notorious Teamsters local, clashed on some issues surrounding criminal elements' relationship to labor. But they all agreed that organized crime still has some unions ... firmly in its grasp..."

    -- You can post a comment on Bensons Union Democracy Blog.


    This work, including all conference audio files, is licensed under a Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike. (See bottom of this page for credit line.)

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    AUD Conference: Confronting Corruption in Labor Unions
    Rank and file insurgency? Government intervention? Internal reform? Assessing a half-century of effort.

    On October 14th, 2006 AUD held a one-day conference to assess fifty years of efforts by unionists and government agencies to drive out the mob and rid unions of corruption. The conference was held at the City University of New York and co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Research, and Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report. Thanks to Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg of Building Bridges, over the next month or two, we will post the complete audio.

    This conference presented a sometimes upbeat but often grim portrayal of the struggle against corruption. Eleven speakers shared their experiences and ideas with an audience of about 90 people, some coming from as far away as Ohio, Illinois, and even Alaska.

    We welcome feedback and encourage you to discuss the ideas and perspectives presented here in union forums, lists and blogs, both official and rank-and-file. Please let us know about discussions or threads on your site and we will post a link on this page.

    NOTE: As you listen, you will hear speakers praise AUD and testify to the importance of our project. AUD runs on a shoestring budget. We are providing the audio online free of charge. If you too value AUD, please give generously -- we depend on you for our survival.

    Morning Session - theory and history

    3.1m - 3.32 min mp3 file Introduction -- Judith Schneider
    21.2mb - 23:09 min mp3 file Herman Benson -- Founder of AUD, editor of Union Democracy Review and author of Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers, How Insurgents Transformed the Labor Movement, a history of rank and file efforts.
    19.8mb - 21:35 min mp3 file James Jacobs -- NYU law professor and author of Mobsters, Unions, and Feds, The Mafia and the American Labor Movement, which assesses federal efforts under the RICO statute to oust organized crime from unions.
    34.4mb - 36:41 min mp3 file Edwin Stier -- Court-appointed trustee for Teamsters Local 560 and sponsor of RISE, an internal union program to root out corruption in the Teamsters union. (See also a new article by James Jacobs and R.P. Alford "The Teamsters Rocky Road to Recovery -- The Demise of Project RISE.")
    27.5mb - 30.03 min mp3 file Questions and answers with Benson, Jacobs, and Stier.

    Afternoon Session - reflections on experience

      William Kornblum, moderator -- Professor, CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Center for Urban Studies; author of Blue Collar Community; AUD Board of Directors member.
    17.5mb - 18:43 min mp3 file Carl Biers -- Education Director of ILA Local 1588 (Bayonne NJ) which is currently under court supervision; Former Executive Director of AUD.
    16.3mb - 17:26 min mp3 file Barbara Harvey -- Labor lawyer in Detroit, representing Teamsters for a Democratic Union in the 2001 and 2006 International elections, held under government supervision, responsible for winning election rule requiring a candidate forum and broad distribution of the recording to the membership; devoted most of her 31 year career to defending the rights of union reformers and idealists; AUD Board of Directors member.
    22.3mb -23:48 min mp3 file Robert Fitch -- Author of Solidarity for Sale which argues that the labor movement is hopelessly riddled with corruption; teaches LIU political science department course on American unions; former staffer several unions and union member since age 15.
    21mb -22:29 min mp3 file Eddie Kay -- Former Secretary Treasurer SEIU local 1199; advisor to reform group in Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 (NYC school bus and disability van drivers, escorts and matrons).
    17.9mb - 19:08 min mp3 file Susan Jennik -- Attorney who served as in-house counsel for a number of trusteed Teamster locals; former Assistant Attorney General, NYS Labor Bureau; former AUD Executive Director; currently represents Longshore Workers Coalition and various unions.
    17.5mb - 18:46 min mp3 file Mike Sullivan -- Former reform leader of Roofers Local 30, who experienced a disastrous federal trusteeship.
    16mb - 17:19 min mp3 file Eileen Sullivan -- Former Trustee Teamster Local 295 who completed its transition from mob control to court control to member control; staff in Teamster Local 295 trusteeship; former Teamster tractor-trailer driver and VP of TWU local 504; former AUD Women's Project Director.
    13.6mb - 14:34 min mp3 file Ed Sadlowski -- Holder of many elected offices in Steelworkers Union; advisor to trustee of Laborers' Chicago District Council, posted in several Laborers locals.

    Afternoon Session - discussion

    31.9mb - 34 min mp3 file Michael J. Goldberg, moderator -- Professor, Widener University School of Law; represented numerous reformers; represented Longshore Union members in recent U.S. appeals court victory, finding ILA constitution violated members' free speech and due process rights and that members were not adequately notified of their democratic rights; AUD Board of Directors member.

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