Teamsters Union announces agreement to end US oversight

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WASHINGTON — The Teamsters Union and the Justice Department announced Wednesday they have reached an agreement to end the government’s 25-year anti-corruption oversight of the 1.4-million member union.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, joined with the Teamsters in asking a federal judge to terminate the consent order that had been in place since March 1989.

Teamsters President Jim Hoffa called it “a historic day” for the union. He said the union could “finally say that corrupt elements have been driven from the Teamsters” and that government oversight could come to an end.

Bharara said in a statement that the proposed agreement recognizes “the significant progress that has been made in ridding the International Brotherhood of Teamsters of the influence of organized crime and corruption.”

“The proposed settlement agreement seeks to strike the appropriate balance,” he said, “recognizing that the significant progress that has been made in ridding the international Brotherhood of Teamsters of the influence of organized crime and corruption, while providing an avenue for the union to demonstrate its ability to preserve these gains through its own independent disciplinary and electoral systems.”

The proposed settlement was presented to U.S. District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska.

“We anticipate that she will approve the agreement,” Hoffa, president of the union since 1999, said in a statement.

The court case brought against the Teamsters by the government was settled by a 1989 consent decree in which the labor union agreed to the federal oversight.

“We will begin the transition to end government oversight,” Hoffa said.

The consent decree established direct elections of international officers of the union and established an independent disciplinary process for rooting out corrupt elements.

BY TOM RAUM, Associated Press

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