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United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee.

Investigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) online

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in connection with Mr. Reger, the background involved in extor-
tion, convicted of the crime, he is not even suspended from office, and
yet we find in 1959 that he is still active in the same kind of operation,
according to the sworn testimony before the committee, attempting
to shake down an employer for some $1,300.

That is all.

The Chairman. Have you any comment? You have heard the
testimony here from the witness Mr. Wilmot. Do you want to make
any comment? Is anything inaccurate or untrue about it that you
want to refute ?

Mr. Reger. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly be-
lieve my answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. I tliink j^ou are entitled to have the opportunity.
If you decline the opportunity, as far as I am concerned, the record
remains as is.

Are there any other questions ?

You may stand aside.

Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Jack Thompson, Mr. Chainnan.

The Chairman. You do solemnly swear that the evidence you
shall give before this Senate select comittee shall be tlie truth, the
whole tnith, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. Thompson. I do.

TESTIMONY OF JACK THOMPSON, ACCOMPANIED BY COUNSEL,
H. CLITTOED ALLDER

The Chairman. State your name, your place of residence, and
business or occupation.

Mr. Thompson. Jack Thompson, 321 Westmoreland Drive, Flint,
Mich.

The Chairman. Have you any business or occupation ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer may tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. Is it that sort of a business that you honestly
believe, or activity that you honestly believe, if you stated what it
is, it might tend to incriminate you ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectf ullj^ decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer may tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. In other words, you are refusing to answer the
question as to your business because you believe a truthful answer
might tend to incriminate you ; is that correct ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer

The Chairman. I am going to order you to answer this question.
Pay attention to it.

I asked you if you were refusing or declining to answer the ques-
tion as to what your business is because you honestly believe that an
answer might tend to incriminate you ?

(The witness conferred with his counsel.)

Mr, Thompson. I do.

The Chairman. All right. Proceed.



IISIPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18865

Mr. Kenxedy. Mr. Jack Thompson, Mr, Chairman, is business
agent of local 332 in Flint, Mich. We have had testimony in con-
nection with him before the committee, concerning his close associa-
tion with George Kamenow, who was the representative in Michigan
for Mr. Nathan W. Sheft'erman, and that, through the efforts of George
Kamenow, money was paid by employers to George Kamenow^ which
was to go on to certain union officials. We identified Mr. Jack
Thompson as accompanying Mr. Kamenow on at least three hunting
trips up into Canada. Mr. Thompson has just been convicted of ar-
son in comiection v.'ith the death of Mr. Frank Kierdorf. He also
has a criminal record which includes 2 years in Boys Vocational
School in Lansing, Mich., for breaking and entering, 3 years probation
for unlawfully driving away an automobile in 1935, 5 years probation
in 1937 for breaking and entering in the nighttime, and 4 to 25 years
in the Southern Michigan Prison in Jackson, Mich., for armed robbery.
He was convicted in 1937. He was paroled in 1941. Now he has
this most recent conviction.

As I say, he was associated with a notorious fixer, Mr. Kamenow,
who appeared before the committee and who took the fifth amend-
ment. From sworn testimony before the committee, he was associated
with shaking employes down. He has an extensive criminal record
and, according to our information, still holds his union official posi-
tion.

Is that correct, Mr. Thompson?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfidly decline to answer because I honestly
believe the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman-. Do I understand that Mr. Thompson has recently
been convicted for arson?

Mr. Kennedy. He was convicted on April 3, 1959.

The Chairman. Is that for the same fire that destroyed Frank
Kierdorf ?

Mr. Kennedy, That is correct.

The Chairman. That is what caused his death ?

Mr. Kennedy. Frank Kierdorf was the other officer in this local.
Local 332 was run by Frank Kierdorf and Jack Thompson until
Frank Kierdorf's death. Now it is run by Mr. Jack Thompson, who
has some five convictions, is that right, Mr. Thompson ? How many
convictions do you have?

Mr. Thompson. You have the record.

Mr. Kennedy. How many do you have?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer. I honestly be-
lieve the question might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. Does it ever bother your conscience that you com-
mitted that arson and killed your pal ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer the question. I
honestly believe the answer might tend to incriminate me.

Tlie Chairman. Are there any other questions ?

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, in about 5 or 6 days of testimony in
connection with this man, we showed that he had absolutely no in-
terest in employees at all, that all he was interested in was shaking
down the employers.

The Chairman. Is that true? Is that all you are interested in?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer, as I honestly be-
lieve the answer might tend to incriminate me.



18866 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IX THE LABOR FIELD

The Chairman. Were you undertaking to shake down the manage-
ment of the place where you committed the arson ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. The other fellow, your partner, paid a pretty heavj-
penalty for liis part in the arson ; did he not ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer the question be-
cause I believe tlie answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman . What is the amount of your sentence ?

Mr. Thompson. I respectfully decline to answer because

The Chairman. AVhat is the amomit of Ms sentence?

Mr. Kennedy. It could be up to 10 years. I don't believe he has
been sentenced yet.

The Chairman. Sentence has not been imposed.

Is the case on appeal ?

Mr. KJENNEDY. All we know is that he faces a sentence of up to 10
years. But he was one of the most notorious figures that we had be-
fore the committee, Mr. Chairman, because he was so closely related
to the Shefferman operation, which, as you knoW' , was identified with
attempting to avoid proper unionization and bring in people to make
sweetheart contracts. We sliowed clearly Mr. Jack Thompson and
Mr. Frank Kierdorf were never interested in tlie employees.

The Chairman. And you have the record here where he is still an
official of the union ?

Mr. Kennedy. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Do you deny that you are the official of a union?
I don't want to reflect on the union undidy. If there is any statement
that is being made here that reflects on the union that is not true, I
would like to correct the record or give you an opportimity to cor-
rect it.

Mr. Thompson, I respectfully decline to answer the question be-
cause I honestly believe it might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. Are there any further questions?

Mr. Kennedy. We can't finish this afternoon.

The Chairman. Stand aside.

The committee will stand in recess until 10 :30 tomorrow morning.

("Whereupon, at 4:30 p,m. the committee was recessed, to reconvene
at 10 :30 a.m., Friday, June 26, 1959, Committee members present at.
time of recess : Senators McClellan and Kennedy. )



INVESTIGATION OF IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE
LABOR OR MANAGEMENT FIELD



FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1959

U.S. Senate,
SEiiECT Committee on Improper Activities

IN the Labor or Management Field,

Washington^ B.C.

The select committee met at 10 :30 a.m., pursuant to Senate Resolu-
tion 44, agreed to February 2, 1959, in the caucus room. Senate Office
Building, Senator John L. McClellan (chairman of the select com-
mittee) presiding.

Present : Senator John L. McClellan, Democrat, Arkansas ; Senator
Karl E. Mundt, Republican, South Dakota; Senator John F. Kemiedy,
Democrat, Massachusetts; Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., Democrat,
North Carolina.

Also present : Robert F. Kennedy, chief counsel ; Jerome S. Adler-
man, assistant chief counsel ; Paul J. Tiemey, assistant counsel ; Irwin
Langenbacher, assistant counsel; Pierre E. G. Salinger, investigator;
Ruth Y. Watt, chief clerk.

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.

(Members of the select committee present at time of convening:
Senators McClellan and Kennedy. )

The Chairman. Call the next witness, Mr. Counsel.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, we have had a considerable amount
of testimony in connection with some of the individuals that are run-
ning these unions, individuals with long criminal records who, during
the course of their union stewardship, have betrayed the union mem-
bership.

The question has been raised here and other places as to why the
union membership does not get rid of these individuals, why they do
not vote them out of power or get rid of them in other ways.

In the first case this morning, we are going to deal with a situation
involving John McNamara of local 808, New York City, and the efforts
made to rid the union of Mr. McNamara. In that conection, I would
like to call Mr. Edward McCormack and Mr. Michael Clements.

The Chairman. Be sworn, please.

Do you and each of you solemnly swear that the evidence you shall
give before this Senate select committee shall be the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. Clements. I do.

Mr. McCokmack. I do.

18867



18868 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

TESTIMONY OF EDWARD McCORMACK AND MICHAEL CLEMENTS

The Chairman. The witness on my left, will you please state your
name, your place of residence, and your business or occupation ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. My name is Edward McCormack. I reside at
976 Home Street, Bronx, New York City. I am a truckdriver for
the Railway Express Agency, Inc.

The Chairman. Thank you very much.

The gentleman on my right?

Mr. Clements. My name is Michael Clements, 3301 Foster Avenue,
Brooklyn, N. Y. I am a truckdriver for Railway Express and business
agent of local 808.

The Chairman. All right, Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, this matter of local 808 is of con-
siderable interest to us. It is run by Mr. John McNamara.

You will remember, in the first group of hearings we held in 1957,
hearings on the paper locals, it was shown that the paper locals were
set up through the efforts of John McNamara, who was identified as
coming down to Washington, D.C., and picking up the charters for
the paper locals. It was he who arranged the distribution of locals.
These were the locals dominated and controlled ultimately by Johnny
Dioguardi and Tony Ducks Corallo. We have established the fact
that Johnny Dio and John McNamara were close and intimate
friends.

John McNamara appeared before the committee during the course
of those hearings and took the fifth amendment. Mr. Hoffa appeared
ultimately and stated before the committee that, based on the testimony
that had been given before the committee, he felt that John McNamara
was responsible for bringing in these paper locals, and that he would
hold a hearing and take disciplinary action against John McNamara.

With that as a background, and again, as I stated at the beginning,
with the problem that has been raised as to why the individual mem-
bership does not get rid of corrupt officials, we are going to ask these
individuals some questions.

The Chairman. All right ; proceed.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Clements, hovr long have vou been a member
of local 808?

Mr. Clements. About 25 years.

Mr. Kennedy. And Mr. McCormack, how long have you been?

Mr. McCormack. About 17 years.

Mr. Kennedy. And you have been driving a truck all that period
of time ?

Mr. McCormack. Yes.

Mr. Clements. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. McCormack, you ran against Mr. Jolm Mc-
Namara for secretary-treasurer ?

Mr. McCormack. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. When was that election ?

Mr. McCormack. December 14, 1958.

Mr. Kennedy. That was following Mr. McNamara^ a[)i>earance be-
fore the committee ; is that correct ?

Mr. McCormack. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. And following the evidence and testimony in comiec-
tion with McNamara's association with Johnny Dioguardi and associa-
tion with the paper locals ?



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IX THE LABOR FIELD 1 S869

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is correct.

Mr. ICennedy. Was it decided prior to tlie election that the Honest
Ballot Association would be brought in to run the election ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right.

Mr. Kennedy. That was taken up with the union membership and
they voted on that ?

Mr. McCoRiNiACK. Correct.

Mr. IvENNEDY. Was it also decided that each candidate who was
running for office had to get up at the meeting and say that he would
abide by the findings of the Honest Ballot Association?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Every candidate that was elected for office was
asked by Mr. McNamara at a membership meeting in November wheth-
er they would abide by the rules and findings of the Honest Ballot As-
sociation, which they all stipulated they would.

Mr. Kennedy. You had a slate that was running against McNamara
and his slate ; is that correct 'i

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. And you personlly were running against Mr. Mc-
Namara ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right.

Mr, Kennedy. And you put out circulars showing the corruption
that had been found as far as Mr. McNamara personally was con-
cerned ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right.

j\Ir. Kennedy. And his association with Johnnj^ Dioguardi ?

Mr. INIcCoRMACK. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. And the Honest Ballot Association was brought in
to supervise, and you had a secret election ; is that correct ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. We had the machine-run election, yes ; the ballot
machine.

Mr. Kennedy. And there were some contested votes as far as you
were concerned, but tlie result was that Mr. NcNamara received some
439 votes and you received 439 votes ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. So it was a tie as far as you were concerned ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Subsequently, under the supervision of the Honest
Ballot Association, four more votes were opened ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Four challenged votes were opened.

Mr. Kennedy. First 2 challenged votes were opened, and the re-
sult of that was that you received 440 votes and Mr. McNamara re-
ceived 440 votes ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Correct. We tied again.

Mr. Kennedy. Then Mr. McNamara came in and challenged seven
of the machine votes ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Connect.

Mr. Kennedy. The votes that were opened were paper ballots that
had been placed aside?

Mr. McCoRMACK. The votes that were opened ; right.

Mr. Kennedy. But then Mr. McNamara challenged seven of the
machine ballots ; is that correct ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Machine ballots ; that is correct. Machine votes.

Mr. Kennedy. Then after that two more of the paper ballots were
opened up ?



18870 IMPROPER x\CTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. And that gave Mr. McNamara a lead of 442 to 440 ;
is that right ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. He got both of those votes ?

Mr. McCoRMAGK. Correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Then the Honest Ballot Association representative
came in and said that from a review of the records that Mr. Mc-
Namara had presented, these seven votes he had challenged should be
thrown out ?

Mr. McCoRMACK, That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. The seven machine votes. As it could not be deter-
mined for whom those votes were, he ruled that there should be a new
election ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. Correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Between you and Mr. McNamara ?

Mr. McCoRMACK. For that position ; yes, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Is that correct?

Mr. McCoRMACK. That is right, sir.

The Chairman. Wlio ruled ?

Mr. Kennedy. The Honest Ballot Association.

It might be well, Mr. Chairman, to bring this out. We have a rep-
resentative of the Honest Ballot Association here and maybe he could
give the exact details on it. Possibly it would be helpful if he would
be called around at this time.

Mr. Abrams ?

The Chairman. Come forward, Mr. Abrams. Be sworn.

You do solemnly swear that the evidence you shall give before this
Senate select committee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and noth-
ing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. Abrams, I do.

TESTIMONY OF GEORGE J. ABEAMS

The Chairman. State your name, your place of residence, and your
business or occupation, please, sir.

Mr. Abrams. My name is George J. Abrams. I live at 31 Pine
Drive, North Roslyn, Long Island. I am chief investigator of the
Honest Ballot Association m connection with public elections, and I
am executive secretary of the committee on labor relations.

The Chairman. Will you just give us a brief statement regarding
the functions of the Honest Ballot Association, just briefly, so we
will have the background ?

Mr. Abrams. The Honest Ballot Association was organized in 1909,
at the instigation of the then President of the United States, Theodore
Roosevelt. It was organized primarily for the purpose of fighting
election frauds in the city of New York.

Since 1937, when former Governor Dewey of New York was special
prosecutor, who was investigating some of the racket-controlled
unions, we were called upon to supervise some of the internal elections
of unions.

Since 1937 we have conducted, I would say, several thousand elec-
tions, internal elections, of unions, and we have conducted elections



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18871

for collective bariraininii; between management and labor. We have
been called upon by various political entities within the group.

The Chairmais. Do you have a legal status? Are you authorized
specifically by laAv to investigate elections or serve in the capacity of
arbiters in elections ?

Mr. Abrams. We are incorporated as a nonprofit membership
corporation m the State of New York.

The Chairman. In other words, there is nothing compulsory. You
only serve where you are invited to serA^e : is that correct ''.

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, Senator. We do not circularize ; we
do not solicit so-called business. The organizations must come volun-
tarily to us.

The Chairman. In other words, when your services are sought,
you may give it and you do give it in these matters of elections in
unions and in any otlier place where tliere is a contest or election?

Mr. Afiiii^MS. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Proceed, Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy. IMr. Abrams, you were called in in connection with
the election that was being hekl in local 808; is that correct?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, sir.

Mr. I^jjnnedy. And you personally came in to supervise the elec-
tion ; is that correct ?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, sir.

Mr. Ivennedt. Would you tell us what occurred after the voting,
after the votes were cast, and the counting of the votes? Was it as
I have described? Tliere were 439 to 439, and, ultimately 2 voles
were opened, making 440 to 440 between Mr. McCormack and Mr.
McNamara, and then the 7 votes in the machines were challenged ; is
that correct?

Mr. Abrams. Yes, except in one place there is an error. One of
those seven votes was found to be in order and w^e ruled it wtis cor-
rect, so it left six.

Mr. Kennedy. Six that were challenged ?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Then two more votes were opened up, is that right,
two more paper ballots opened up ?

Mr. Abrams. That is right.

Mr. I^nnedy. That gave the lead to Mr. McNamara ?

Mr. Abrams. Yes. Incidentally, may I explain this : that they were
opened up after a hearing that tpok place before the general counsel,
our general counsel.

Mr. I^nnedy. And it was 442 to 440 \

Mr. Abrams. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. You upheld the challenge, however, on the six votes
in the machines ; is that right ?
Mr. Abrams. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Wliat was your ruling then? Wliat did you de-
cide should be done ?

Mr. Abrai.is. We ruled in view of the fact that six persons voted on
the voting machine— may I explain that very briefly, if I may? ^

We prepared a register of the voters from the records of the union.
It is our normal practice to check the records of the union as to the
period tliat. the person is supposed to have been eligible. In this case,



18872 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

November dues liad to be paid. As we checked the records, we found
next to the names of all these persons that November dues were paid.

After the election had taken place, an inspection of the records,
in turning the cards over, there were, in the manner of these seven
persons, a notation that a certain month had been skipped and not
paid. In checking the books, when the members came in to vote,
their books showed that they were completely paid up. There was
a stamp in every one of their books.

Watchers representing both sides in the contest, in other words the
McNamara group and the McCormacl? gi"o^iP- taking them for
examples as the groups, watchers believed they were both entitled —
all those persons were entitled to vote, and they agreed they should
be permitted to vote on the voting machine, and they were permitted
to vote on the voting machine.

Wlien a challenge was made by Mr. McNamara at the conclusion of
the election that these persons should not have been permitted to
vote, and he brought the records of the union down to our office, and
he turned the cards over, it showed that in the matter of these six
their dues were not paid for a particular period prior to the election.

The books were brought in and the books showed that the dues vrere
paid. When various trustees of the union were brought in in con-
nection with their receiving these books, they stated that the members
came to them and said they were on a checkoff and their dues were
paid, so they automatically put a stamp in their book without check-
ing the union records to see if the dues were paid.

But because of our investigation, because of the union record which
we were bound by, we ruled that those six votes were improperly cast
on the voting machine. In view of the fact that those six votes, being
improperly cast, and no one knowing who was the recipient of those
votes, we then ruled that the proper practice, particularly in the State
of New York, in public elections, that there would have to be a run-
off election for the office of secretary-treasurer.

Mr. Kennedy. That was your ruling, that there would be a run-
off ; is that correct ?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Was that accepted? Has there been a runoff?

Mr. Abrams. There has been no runoff. We received no official
word as to whether it has been accepted or rejected.

Mr. Kennedy. But you never had a runoff' ?

Mr. Abrams. We never had a runoff.

Mr. Kennedy. Has the Honest Ballot Association ever gone into
an election and made a finding or a recommendation that has not been
followed ?

Mr. Abrams. Never.

Mr. Kennedy. Is this the only case to your loiowledge that this has
ever been done ?

Mr. Abrams. This is the only case to our knowl-^dge where a recom-
mendation has not been followed.

The Chairman. Wlien was the date of this ruling that there should
be a runoff' ?

Mr. Abrams. In tlie final certification on the April 9, 1959.

The Chairman. April 9 of this year ?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, sir.



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18873

The Chairmax. So for a couple of months there has been notliing
done about it'^

Mr. Abrams. To our knowledge there has not been.

The Chairman. You have received no indication, officially or other-
wise, as to what action has been taken or w^ll be taken ?

Mr. Abrams. Xo official information.

The Chairjman. In other words, so far as you know, it is just dor-
mant, nothing is being done ?

Mr. Abrams. That is correct, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. McCormack, have you received any word as to
w^hether there will be a runoff in the election ?

Mr. McCormack. The only way I received word from Brother
McNamara was the fact that he would not go along with a runoff.
As far as he was concerned, he was the duly elected secretary-treasurer
of local 808.

Mr. Kennedy. He has told you, has he not, that there would be no
runoff ?

Mr. McCormack. Well, not words to that effect, but he has told us
that he is the secretary-treasurer, so, in other words, we take it he will



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Select CommitteeInvestigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) → online text (page 10 of 38)