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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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right ; is that correct ?

Mr. Clements. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. That is what you mean ?

Mr. Clements. That is what I mean.

The Chairman. So notwithstanding your group controlling the
executive board, you can't even make a motion and have it considered ?

Mr. McCormack. Unless it is in their favor. That is the only time
they will accept a motion.

The Chairman. In other words, if you made a motion to increase
their salary, you would pi-obably have it entertained ?

Mr. McCormack. Thej would agree with it; yes.

The Chairman. But if you made a motion about something else,
you are out of order ?

Mr. McCormack. That is right.

Mr. Clements. Might I add at this point that people like myself,
talking with men on the job and with friends, I rant and rave about
the fact that the little labor man can do nothing unless our legislators
and lawmakers will help us. Where can we go now ? If we go to a
court and try to force a runoff election, the court will tell us, "Have
you exhausted the machinery and the remedies of your union ? Did
you go to your joint council ? Did you go to your international ? Or
after that, to the convention ?"

We are not going to get any place making those kind of appeals.

The Chairman. I kind of have a suspicion that you favor a bill of
rights for a union.

Mr. Clements. You're dam tootin' I do.

The Chairman. Thank you.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Clements, your point is that your experi-
ence in your particular local union has led you to expect the improper.
You are not making a judgment with regard to labor in general ; are
you?

Mr. Clements. No ; I believe there are many good unions.

Senator Kennedy. In this case you have really depended upon the
willingness of both sides to abide by the decision of the Honest Ballot
Association, but you had no power to enforce that agreement, once
one of the parties decided not to accept the decision ?

Mr. Clements. Yes, sir.

Senator Kennedy. I agree with you that in that case it would be
far more effective rather than depending upon the compliance of both
groups, it would be far more effective if the Secretary of Labor had
the power in a case such as yours to set the election aside and compel
new elections.

Mr. Clements. Yes, sir.

Senator Kennedy. I would think that this experience, particularly
because of the high reputation of the Honest Ballot Association over
the years, and I think the unusual statement that this was the first



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18883

time that a party had broken an agreement to abide by their decision,
indicates that this was a particularly unfortunate election, and more
effective sanctions than agreements would be desirable.

Mr. Kennedy, That is all, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. Abrams.

Call the next witness.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. John McNamara.

The Chairman. Be sworn, please.

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

Mr. McNamara. I do.

TESTIMONY OF JOHN McNAMARA, ACCOMPANIED BY COUNSEL,
H. CLIFFORD ALLDER

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

Mr. McNamara. My name is John McNamara. I reside at 123
Paige Avenue, Yonkers, N. Y.

The Chairman. Do you have a business or occupation, Mr. Mc-
Namara ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question, sir, on the grounds
the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. There has been some very incriminating evidence
against you here in the last few minutes. Are you conceding that it
is justified?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground
that the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. You have counsel.

Let the record show that Mr. Allder appears as counsel.

I just heard this testimony, and I do agree that possibly it is a bit
incriminating, what we have heard. I just wondered if you wanted to
agree with it by your position here that you say you can't answer be-
cause it might be self -incriminating. Is that correct?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground
that the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. I think you are making it pretty clear and under-
standable.

All right, Mr. Kennedy, proceed.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, Mr. McNamara is president of local
295.

Is that correct?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground
that the answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kjennedy. And secretary-treasurer of local 808 of the Team-
sters?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground
that the answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. We have had testimony that the Honest Ballot Asso-
ciation was called in and everybody agreed to abide by its decision.
The decision as far as you were concerned was that there should be
a new election.



18884 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Will you abide by their decision ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question, sir, on the ground
that the answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. McNamara, according to testimony before this
committee, you were involved in the paper locals and identified as a
close associate of Jolinny Dioguardi. We had all that testimony.
Mr. Hoffa said that he was going to make an investigation, have a
hearing in connection with the testimony concerning you before the
committee.

Has that ever been done ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

]\Ir. Kennedy. Then when the local membership tries to take some
steps to get rid of you, or at least to have an election to deal with your
problem, and it is agi-eed that certain rules will be followed in order
to deal with it, then you refuse to do so ; isn't that correct?

Mr. McNamara. 1 decline to answer the question on the ground the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. In fact, through your activities, it is impossible
within the Teamsters Union to get rid of any corrupt influences; is
that right?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the gromid the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Even in situations where a secret ballot is allowed
and permitted, which is not very often in the Teamsters Union, when
that is permitted and the decision comes out against the incumbent
oflScers, they will not abide by the decision; isn't that correct, Mr.
McNamara?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Is there anything that the union membership can do
in order to deal with this problem, Mr. McNamara ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the gromid the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Do you expect that Mr. Hoffa will take any action to
try to redress the grievances of these individual members?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. It appears here that the members of the union in
good standing, who became candidates and who were elected to office,
now find that they have no authority, or that their rights and power
to perform their duties are being denied to them by you.

Do you say that is true or not true ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question on the ground the
answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. You think it would teiid to incriminate you if you
answered truthfully ?

Mr. McNamara. It might, sir.

The Chairman. I see.

Well, you then are conceding, are you, that in your union, where
you are the secretary-treasurer, you practically dominate the union
irrespective of a majority view of your members?



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18885

Is that correct ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question, Senator, on the
ground the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. If that is true, as has been testified here, these men
are in some measure enslaved, are they not, instead of being free
American citizens?

Mr. McNamara, I decline to answer the question. Senator, on the
ground the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. And it becomes more and more apparent as we hear
testimony from great union leaders like you, that law is needed in
this country to free these men from their bondage and grant to them
the bill of rights in union halls that they are entitled to exercise as
American citizens.

Don't you agree ?

Mr. McNamara. I decline to answer the question. Senator, on the
ground the answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. I expected just that kind of an answer from you.

Are there any other questions ?

Mr. Kennedy. That is all.

The Chairman. Stand aside.

Call the next witness.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. John O'Kourke.

The Chairman. Come forward.

Be sworn, please.

You do 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. O'RouRKE. I do.

TESTIMONY OF JOHN J. O'ROURKE, ACCOMPANIED BY COUNSEL,
H. CLIFFORD ALLDER

The Chairman. State your name, your place of residence, and busi-
ness or occupation.

Mr. O'Kourke. John O'Rourke, 265 West 14th Street, New York
City,N.Y.

The Chairman. Have you any business or occupation, other than
the taking of the fifth amendment ?

Mr. O'Rourke. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer might tend to incriminate me.

The Chairman. I think that is a confession that you haven't. All
right.

Let the record show Mr. Allder appears as counsel.

Proceed, Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Mr. O'Rourke, we have had testimony here in con-
nection with the operation of local 808, and the fact that the trustees
attempted to examine the books and records, and that John McNamara
ordered the trustees to sign certificates that they had reviewed the
records and they refused to do so.

Charges were brought against them. The charges were sustained.
They made an appeal to you in the joint council and you sustained
their convictions.

Could you tell us about that ?



18886 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. O'RoTJRKE. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. You sustained the fact that they had violated the
constitution by not signing these books even though they had no chance
to review them.

Could you explain that to the committee ?

Mr. O'RouRKE. I resp)ectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer may tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Have any steps been taken in the joint council in
New York City to clean up the situation that exists there, Mr.
O'Rourke?

Mr. O'RoTJEKE. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer may tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. Specifically, for instance, in the case of Mr. Bernie
Adelstein, hasn't there been some discussion about getting rid of Bernie
Adelstein as an officer of joint council, and yet isn't he still an officer
of the joint council, even though he has been convicted ?

Mr. O'Rourke. I respectfully decline to answer because I honestly
believe my answer might tend to incriminate me.

Mr. Kennedy. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Are there any questions ?

Stand aside.

Call the next witness.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Obermyer, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Be sworn.

You do solemnly swear 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. Obermyer. I do.

TESTIMONY OF CHARLES OBERMYER, ACCOMPAIHED BY COUNSEL,
WILLLAM J. DEMPSEY

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

Mr. Obermyer. Charles R. Obermyer. I reside at 884 Kenesaw
Road, Birmingham, Mich. I am business manager of the Detroit
Times.

The Chairman. You have counsel present?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

The Chairman. Counsel, would you identify yourself for the
record ?

Mr. Dempsey. My name is William J. Dempsey, attorney at law,
Bowen Building, Washington, D.C.

The Chairman. Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Kj:nnedy. How long have you been with the Detroit Times,
Mr. Obermyer?

Mr. Obermyer. Since 1937.

Mr. Kennedy. How long have you been business manager ?

Mr. Obermyer. Since January 1 of a year ago, approximately a year
and a half.



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18887

Mr. Kennedy. The Times has a contract with Local 372 of the
Teamsters ?

Mr. Obermter. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. And you have some 400 employees who are members
of local 372?

Mr. Obermyer. In excess of 400 ; yes.

Mr. Kennedy. Who is the head of Local 372 of the Teamsters?

Mr. Obermyer. I believe Mr. O'Connor is president and Mr. Pre-
benda is secretary-treasurer.

Mr. EIennedy. Mr. Joseph Prebenda?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. P-r-e-b-e-n-d-a ?

Mr. Obermyer. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. He is secretary-treasurer of the local ?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Has Mr. Joseph Prebenda been on the payroll of the
Times?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes, he has.

Mr. KJENNEDY. For how long a period of time ?

Mr. Obermyer. I believe Mr. Prebenda started in our employment
in 1921.

Mr. Kennedy. What was his position at that time ?

Mr. Obermyer. I believe he was classified as a wholesale agent. He
sold newspapers.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Is he still on the payroll ?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. At the present time he is on the payroll ?

Mr. Obermyer. Not at the present time.

Mr. Kennedy. When was his employment terminated?

Mr. Obermyer. Well, he is still — his employment hasn't been ter-
minated. In fact, he is still on the payroll. I am sorry.

Mr. Kennedy. He is still on the payroll ?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. Is there an intention to terminate his employment
with the paper ?

Mr. Obermyer. Frankly, I haven't gotten into that yet. I haven't
had an opportunity.

Mr. Kennedy. He was actively working for the paper, then, for a
period of time ; is that correct ?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. And is it correct that over the period of the last
5 years, Mr. Prebenda has done less work for the newspaper?

Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. And is it correct that over the period of the past 3
years Mr. Prebenda has done no work that you know of ?

Mr. Obermyer. Well, I wouldn't say "no work." I believe that on
Saturday nights when he is around, he pulls his route on Saturday
night.

Mr. Kennedy. Does he continue to draw the full-time salary, how-
ever?

Mr. Obermyer. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. Would you explain to the committee the arrange-
ments that are made with Mr. Prebenda regarding the truck and the
runner, and what the usual procedure is as far as the truckdriver ?



18888 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Mr. Obermyer. Well, with a newspaper driver, he furnishes his
own truck. We don't own the equipment. He furnishes the equip-
ment and under the contract we pay him so much an hour for the use
of his equipment. In addition thereto, we furnish him with a jumper.
Each one of these street sales drivers have a jumper who works with
the driver. The driver is responsible for the sale and collection, the
delivery of the newspapers, and the jumper runs the papers back and
forth to the stores and corners and stands.

Mr. Kennedy. In the case of Mr. Prebenda, he had a jumper, did he,
for a period of time, who was his brother ?
Mr. Obermyer. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. Under the union contract, you are supposed to have
the driver and the jumper ; is that correct ?

(At this point Senator Ervin entered the hearing room.)
Mr. Obermyer. Well, it is not mandatory under the contract, but
we have agreed with the union that the driver should have a jumper.
Mr. Kennedy. Has that been an agreement with Mr. Prebenda
himself ?

Mr. Obermyer. No; it has been an agreement with the union for
quite a few years.

Mr. Kennedy. He is the union official, is he not ?
Mr. Obermyer. At present ; yes.

Mr. Kennedy. This agreement has been with hmi, as well as with
the union officials that preceded him ?

Mr. Obermeyer. Well, it has carried on, Mr. Kennedy. It has car-
ried on. We negotiated this with the union. I don't recall whether
Mr. Prebenda was the negotiator for the union at the time or not, but
it has been going on for quite a long period of time.

Mr. Kennedy. You say that Mr. Prebenda is receiving the salary
for the full-time work although he shows up just on occasion on Sat-
urday evening. Could you tell the committee why it is that the news-
paper continues to pay him ?

Mr. Obermyer. Well, the main reason is that we want to avoid any
trouble. In addition to that, Mr. Prebenda's route is being handled
by the jumper, and the delivery and service is satisfactory, and, from
the standpoint of cost, it results in the same cost to us even under those
circumstances.

Mr. Kennedy. Could anybody else, however, have just one indi-
vidual handle the driving of the truck and the jumping ? If you had
just this one individual, would you still pay for two individuals in any
other case ?

Mr. Obermyer. I doubt it very much.

Mr. Kennedy. So the only reason it is done in this case is that he
is an officer of the union ?

Mr. Obermyer. Well, it has been done, and it has been permitted
to continue,

Mr. Kennedy. Is that because he is an officer of the union ?
Mr. Obermyer. Well, I would assume so. I would say so ; yes.
Mr. Kennedy. And the payments are made and have been made in
order to avoid labor difficulties ?

Mr. Obermyer. In order to avoid any trouble : yes.
The Chairman. In other words, you don't do this voluntarily. You
feel you are compelled to do it.



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18889

Mr. Obermyer. It has been permitted to continue, Mr. McClellan,
and we didn't

The Chairman. In otlier words, it is the better part of discretion,
from your viewpoint, to let it continue ?

Mr. Obermyer. That is correct.

The Chairman. In other words, you feel that you might precipitate
some difficulties that you could otherwise avoid ?

Mr. Obermyer. You are absolutely right.

The Chairman. So to that extent it is in some measure a shake-
down, is it not ?

Mr. Obermyer. Well, I don't know whether you could construe it
as such or not. He works, as I say, occasionally.

The Chairman. Can you construe it as anything else ?

Mr. Obermyer. I don't think so.

The Chairman. I don't either.

Mr. Ivennedy. Do you think it is a proper payment ?

Mr. Obermyer. Absolutely not.

Mr. Kennedy. Are you going to discontinue it ?

Mr. Obermyer. It has been discontinued, Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy. As of when ?

Mr. Obermyer. As of Wednesday, last Wednesday. What I am
saying is that no further payments will be made unless the services —
unless he works for them. He has to work in order to collect any
money.

Senator ER^^[N. Your evidence indicates to me that the press in, the
United States is not quite as free as it is supposed to be.

Mr. Obermyer. Well, of course, you are talking about a slightly
different aspect, I presume, of the newspaper business when you say
that.

(At this point Senator McClellan withdrew from the hearing
room.)

Mr. Kennedy. That is all.

Senator Ervin. You may stand aside.

Call the next witness.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Mr. Joseph Prebenda.

Senator Ervin. Please be sworn.

You do solemnly swear that the testimony you shall give before
the Senate select committee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. Prebenda. I do.

TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH PREBENDA, ACCOMPANIED BY COUNSEL,
H. CLIITORD ALLDER

Senator Ervin. The witness will give his name, his residence, and
his occupation.

Mr. Prebenda. Joseph Prebenda, 15 Shady Hollow, Dearborn,
Mich. I am a driver-salesman and I am also an official of Teamsters
Local 372.

Senator Ervin. You are represented by Mr. Allder as counsel ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes; I am.

Senator Ervin. Please identify yourself for the record.

Mr. Allder. H. Clifford Allder, Washington, D.C.



18890 IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD

Senator Ervin. Counsel may proceed.

Mr. KJENNEDY. What position do you hold with the union ?

Mr. Prebenda. Secretary-treasurer.

Mr. Kennedy. How long have you been secretary-treasurer ?

Mr. Prebenda. Since 1938.

Mr. Kennedy. What did you just say to Mr. Obermyer as he left ?

Mr. Prebenda. I just said, "I think you made a mistake."

Mr. KJENNEDY. Excuse me?

Mr. Prebenda. "I think you niade a mistake."

Mr. Kennedy. Are you receiving a salary from the union at the
present time?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes; I am.

Mr. Kj:nnedy. What salary do you receive ?

Mr. Prebenda. It has just been increased. I received $175 per week.

Mr. Kennedy. Did you receive expenses ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes ; approximately $50 a week.

Mr. Kennedy. When was it increased ?

Mr. Prebenda. Just on the 14th day of June.

Mr. KJENNEDY. The 14th day of June ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. What was it increased to ?

Mr. Prebenda. $100 a week ; $95 to be exact.

Mr. Kennedy. So it is about $270 now.

Mr. Prebenda. That is exactly right.

Mr. KJENNEDY. And increased as of June 14 ?

Mr. Prebenda. The increase is as of January 1. It is retroactive id
January 1, the time that I was elected.

Mr. Kennedy. How many members of the union do you have ?

Mr. Prebenda. Can I explain that, Mr. Kennedy ? A committee of
14 people were appointed to delve into this picture of increasing the
salary, and they have come back with a recommendation and the mem-
bership, with a full hall, concurred. These are newspaper people.

Mr. E^ENNEDY. Was it a secret ballot ?

Mr. Prebenda. No ; it wasn't.

Mr. Kennedy. How was the vote conducted ?

Mr. Prebenda. The vote was taken by a standup vote and the people
were polled in the meeting as to how they voted.

Mr. Kennedy. Did everybody in favor stand up ?

Mr. Prebenda. On the original vote.

Mr. Kennedy. Then everybody opposed stood up ?

Mr. Prebenda. Then they questioned the vote — when I say ques-
tioned, not from the point that there was anything, they just wanted
to get a correct count — and everybody was polled. They had to stand
up and mention their name and tell how they voted.

(At this point Senator McClellan entered the hearing room.)

Mr. Kennedy. Did you have any votes against it ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. How many?

Mr. Prebenda. Don't hold me to it, now. I will give you what I
think it was. Around 62, 62-67.

Mr. Kennedy. What was the vote ?

Mr. Prebenda. Sixty -two or sixty-seven against me; against in-
crease.



IMPROPER ACTIVITIES IN THE LABOR FIELD 18891

Mr. Kennedy. How many were for it ?

Mr. Prebenda. Eighty-seven.

Mr. Ivennedy. Eighty-seven to sixty-seven. Was this a general
membership meeting ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes; it was.

Mr. Kennedy. All members were invited ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes ; by postcard. We do it by postcard.

Mr. Kennedy. How many members do you have in your union ?

Mr. Prebenda. Approximately 1,250.

Mr. Kennedy. And the vote was 87 to 67 ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes. It was getting late in the afternoon and some
people had walked out.

Mr. Kennedy. What time was the vote ?

Mr. Prebenda. What was that ?

Mr. Kennedy. What time was the vote ?

Mr. Prebenda. Approximately about 4 :30 or 5 o'clock.

Mr. Kj:nnedy. That was Sunday afternoon ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes. The meeting started at 2.

Mr. I^nnedy. Have you also received some salary from the news-
paper ?

Mr. Prebenda. As a driver-salesman.

Mr. Kennedy. How long have you been receiving that ?

Mr. Prebenda. Since a kid. I got on the payroll there, I guess,
at the age of about 17. I am 52 now.

Mr. Kennedy. We have had the testimony before the committee
that over the j^eriod of the past 3 years, at least, to some extent for
the past 5 years, that you have done little or no work for that salary.
Is that correct ?

Mr. Prebenda, That is not correct in this way

Mr. Ivennedy. Have you been driving a truck ?

Mr. Prebenda. Yes.

Mr. Kennedy. Every day ?

Mr. Prebenda. Not every day.

Mr. Kennedy. Every other day ?

Mr. Prebenda. On and off. Two days off a week.

Mr. Kennedy. All of the 5 working days, have you been driving
every day for the 5 working days ?

Mr. Prebenda. All the 5 working days ?

Mr. Ej:nnedy. Yes.

Mr. Prebenda. No.

Mr. Ivennedy. Have you been meeting the regular route? Have
you been making the regular route that you are supposed to make



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