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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pended from office.

Are you going to take action, in view of what is revealed here, to
have him return the money to the union when he controverted your
instructions ?

Mr. HoFFA. I will consult with our attorneys as to the next move.

Mr. Kennedy. You are not going to tell us, then, that you will
take action in view of the fact that he supposedly got this letter and
did not follow out your instructions ?

Mr. HoFFA. I will consult with our attorneys as to the possible
action open to the international union, if any.

Mr. Kennedy. Are you going to recommend tliat action be taken
to get this money returned to the treasury ?

Mr. HoFFA. I will submit this to our attorney.

Mr. Kennedy. Are you going to recommend that the money be
returned ?

Mr. HoFFA. It is not a question of recommending at all. It is a
question of whether or not, submitting the question you have just
asked to our attorneys, whether or not they determine there is a possi-
bility of a lawsuit for recovery.

Mr. Kennedy. If they determine that there is a possibility that
you can recover the money legally, will you recommend that such
action should be taken ?

Mr. HoFFA, If our attorneys make the reconunendation that there
is legal action to carry on recovery of this money, there will be sug-
gested then, to our legal department, to take the appropriate action.

Mr. Kennedy. Now, will that also be taken against Mr. Boling?

Mr. HoFFA. We will discuss all these matters with our attorneys
and what happens to one will happen to the other.

Mr. KJENNEDY. Is Mr. Boling going to be suspended now in view
of the fact

Mr. HoFFA. If you want to deprive Mr. Boling of his right to earn
a living, then I suggest that you find a position for him because you
have consistently said while I have appeared in front of this com-
mittee that it is not your desire to penalize a man from being able
to have employment in this industry and now you are suggesting that
we take away from this man a union book that provides him with a

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

The Chairman. Let the Chair make an observation. The question
is not related to whether the man works but whether he will be
suspended from his official position.

The question is, are you going to take action to suspend him from
office, not expel him from membership. There is a difference. The
question is about his right to continue in office, not his right to work.

]Mr. HoFFA. Wlien our recommendation comes out from our panel,
our executive board in full attendance will take action recommended


to our executive board and not having taken time out to get their
report, waiting for it to be a hnality, I cannot say other than we will
take appropriate action as it appears before our board based on factual

The Chairman. I miderstand your statement is that you will take
no action imtil your panel reports, and then the matter will go before
your executive board, and it will then and there be determined what
action should be taken. Am I correct, now ?

Mr. HoFFA. Excuse me, sir.

The Chairman. You have it before a panel that has it under
consideration. The record here shows that they have concluded their
investigation but you say they have made no report to you. ^ So you
are withholding any action until they make the report at which time
you will take it up with the executive board.

Mr. HoFFA. That's right.

The Chairman. At that time you will determine what action should
be ta,ken.

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir. I don't believe there is any final — I think
there is a partial report to the board but no final answer nor no

The Chairman. You mean from the panel ?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir. However, I would like to consult with Mr.
"Williams for a moment.

(The witness conferred with his counsel.)

Mr. Williams. Mr. Chairman, what is your pleasure today on ad-
journment ? We have had 2i/^ hours without a break now.

The Chairman. Would you like to recess ?

Mr. Kennedy. I want to get some thmgs in the record, Mr. Chair-

The Chairman. Do you want to take a brief recess ?

Mr. HoFFA. May I inquire what time you expect to be through to-
night so that I can arrange transportation ?

The Chairman. Well, it is very difficult to fix a time to quit but we
will quit as soon as we can. How much more do you have?

Mr. Kennedy. Well, we just started.

The Chairman. I do not want to run on indefinitely. I will run
until 5 :30. In the meantime we will take a 5-minute recess.

Mr. HoFFA. If I try to get an 8 o'clock plane, that will be all right ?

The Chairman. We will conclude in time for you to get an 8 o'clock

(Brief recess.)

(Members of the select committee present at time of reconvening:
Senators McClellan and Ervin.)

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.


Mr, Kennedy. Mr. Hoffa, let me find out and get matters straight
in the record as far as Boling is concerned, I understand what action
you will take on Glenn Smith.

As far as Mr. Boling is concerned, will he be suspended ? That is,
as an officer ?

Mr. HoFFA. The same action.

Mr. Kennedy. Wliat does that mean ? Will he be suspended ?


Mr. HoFFA. The same action that is contemplated against Glenn
Smith, which we outlined a moment ago, will also be considered against
Boling. That means — just a moment, please — that means necessarily
that the investigation that is started will be completed when filed,
will be submitted to the international executive board; also, then
action will take place based upon the facts.

But also, in the meantime, I am going to find out why my instruc-
tions were not carried out, and I am quite sure they will be when I
investigate it. If Boling is an officer of this union, then until the trial
is completed against Boling he will not be an officer of this union, un-
less I am prevented by court from doing so.

The Chairman. In other words, as I understand you, if you find
that he has not conformed to your directive of suspension, you will
suspend him pending the final outcome of investigation and the ac-
tion of your board ; is that right ?

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, subject to court action making it impossible.

The Chairman. Well, of course, we all may be subject to court

Mr. Kennedy. Wliat I don't understand, Mr. Hoffa, and this is my
point on the fact that this was a fraud on the court, is that here back
m November of 1958 the court was informed that he was suspended.

Now you come before this committee, and we show clearly that he
was not suspended, and we ask you whether you are in fact going
or intending to suspend him. I am asking whether you will write
him a letter, like the letter that was supposedly written in August of
1958, and tell him again that he is suspended, but this time move in
and tell him he is suspended.

Mr. Hoffa. Senator, I suggest that I have answered the question.

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

Mr. KJENNEDY. Then I don't understand the answer.

The Chairman. As I understand, Mr. Hoffa says if he finds he is
not out of that office, he will suspend him pending the final outcome
of the investigation, the results of which will be submitted to the
executive board.

Is that right?

Mr. Hoffa. That is right, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. Can I ask

The Chairman. What I understand you to mean is that if he is
not out of there now, you will suspend him pending the final outcome
of a board hearing.

Mr. Hoffa. That is right.

The Chairman. That is a statement that you will get him out.

Mr. Kennedy. And will Glenn Smith also be suspended? If you
find that the facts revealed here before the committee are correct,
will Glenn Smith be suspended as well ?

Mr. Hoffa. Glenn Smith, from what I understand, is not acting
as a president or an officer of this union. From what I understand,
there is nothing to suspend him from.

The Chairman. Except by the 10th of July, according to the
minutes of the meeting, he would go back in. As of this moment
there would be nothing to suspend him from if he is inactive.

Mr. Hoffa. I think he said if his case had been completed and he
had been found innocent.


The CiiAiKMAN. There may be some qualification. I don't recall.
But his leave of absence was only until the 10th of July.

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir; and he also said provided his case had been
decided. He also said that at the end of this term

The Chairman. I think we can shorten it. You propose to let
neither of them serve pending the outcome of these hearings, to serve
in an official capacity ?

Mr. HoFFA. That is what we are going to do.

The Chairman. You will keep them out of an official capacity
until the matter is finally heard by your board. Then, of course,
you will be governed by what the board does on the basis of the in-

Mr. HoFFA. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Proceed.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, so that the record is clearly under-
stood, this trial that Mr. Glenn Smith is involved in is an income
tax evasion case. Mr. Smith has admitted taking the union funds in
order to fix the judge. So there can't be anything beyond that.

What I don't understand is when such a matter has been admitted
by the individual, why firm action is not taken immediately against

The Chairman. Well, we have the witness here and he is swearing
to what he is going to do and how he is going to do it. I may dis-
agree with him. I think if he had the power he ought to kick him
out immediately. He is saying how he is going to do it. That is
in the record.

Mr. Kennedy. Are you going to do the same thing as far as Mr.
Sam Goldstein is concerned, Mr. Hoffa ?

Mr. HoFFA. Sam Goldstein is a problem which I have not had an
opportunity to discuss with the official family of our international
union or with his executive board as such. We will deal with it in
accordance with the constitution.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Goldstein has two gambling
convictions. He has been convicted of attempted extortion while
a union official; he has been convicted of the bribery of a union
official ; and he is now in prison.

He is drawing $20,600 — or over $20,000 a year — and he is in prison.
He has plead guilty to one of these charges.

The Chairman. Who is he drawing the money from ?

Mr. HoFFA. The union, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. From local 239.

I might call your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the international con-
stitution, which clearly gives the international president the right to
move in and take action. I refer to section 13 :

When a member is convicted of the commission of a crime or serious wrong-
doing, or pleads guilty to the commission of a crime or serious wrongdoing,
against the local union or against the community, and which crime or act of
serious wrongdoing brings dishonor upon the local union or the international
union —

then it goes on to say :

It is incumbent upon the local union to take action, but that in the event the
local union fails to carry out the foregoing provision, then the general president,
when the matter is brought to his attention, shall have the power in his discre-
tion to proceed to revoke or order the revocation of the membership of such


The Chairman. When was this conviction ?

Mr. Kennedy. This conviction was in 1957, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Do you mean convicted of

Mr. Kennedy. He was first convicted in 1957. There were some
appeals, and ultimately

The Chairman. AVlien was it he plead guilty ?

Mr. HoFFA. I think 3i/^ months, Senator, from what I read in the
transcript. I think he has been in jail roughly 31/2 months or 4

The Chairman. That was his last sentence ?

Mr. HoFFA. That is when he pleaded guilty.

Mr. Kennedy. On July 24, 1957, he was convicted

The Chairman. You had knowledge of it ?

Mr. HoFFA. I read it here.

The Chairman. You never heard of it until today ?

Mr. Hoffa. I don't even know the man, I don't think.

The Chairman. You mean you hadn't heard of this conviction until
today ?

Mr. HoFFA. It wasn't brought to my attention, Senator.

The Chairman. I don't ^uite understand that, Mr. Hoffa. I don't
know what you mean by bringing it to your attention. It seems to me
that you would know about these convictions of officers for fraud
against the union or for some offense against the union, a serious
offense and also convicted of it. It seems to me that that would come
to your attention. You say it didn't ?

Mr. HoFFA. Strange as it may seem, Senator, when I heard it here,
I would have told you the contrary. That is why I told you, strange
as it may seem, prior to hearing it here I would have said to the con-
trary, because I submitted a list here, based upon information I had,
contrary to what was testified to here, based upon what I had been
told by the local unions.

The Chairivian. It does appear, then, now you do have notice of it,
and you can put this provision of your constitution into immediate

Mr. HoFFA. As I say

The Chairman. Will you agree ?

Mr. Hoffa. No ; I say. Senator, that we will investigate and follow
the procedure and take action in compliance with the constitution to
handle the situation.

The Chairman. It occurs to me, when you say you are going to
take action — I don't know ; it is perfectly all right to have some pro-
cedure about it, I am sure — after a fellow pleads guilty to an offense
and is in the penitentiary, it seems to me that would be pretty con-
clusive. I don't know how much further investigating you need to do.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, it is very hard to explain to yourself and the
other Senators here who never conducted a labor union meeting or
know very little about labor unions.

The Chairman. I don't think crime is any different in a labor union
or out of one. I think it is all the same.

Mr. HoFFA. If I may say, you don't walk into a local union of
several hundred people and ]ust automatically go against all of their
wills and throw people out. You have to handle it in such a way
that you don't destroy the balance of the organization, and therefore


you must go through tlie executive board, through the joint council,
putting into effect the provisions of this constitution so that you can
have at the conclusion a union, not a destroyed union, but a union that
will be properly functioning under the officers.

The CuAiRiMAN. I hardly see how it is going to destroy a union to put
a crook in the penitentiary.

Mr. HoFFA. You go in front of a membersliip of 1,000 or 2,000
people. Senator, and you take the opposite position, of saying, "This
is it, period," without being able to put m the constitution the way
it has to be handled to preserve the union, and you will lose 1,000 or
2,000 members. Senator.

The Chairman. I do think it requires immediate attention. Don't

Mr. HoFFA. Yes ; it does.

Senator Ervix. I don't see any necessity under this for you to go
before a union membership meeting. It provides here in section 13 ( a) ,
and it is just about as simple language as can be used, that —

when a member is convicted of the commission of a crime or serious wrong-
doing, or pleads guilty to the commission of a crime or serious wrongdoing,
against the local union or against the community, and which crime or act of
serious wrongdoing tends to bring dishonor upon the local union or the interna-
tional union, it shall be the duty of the local union to proceed to revoke the
membership of such member.

And then it goes ahead and says in subsection (c) —

in the event a local union fails to carry out the foregoing provision, then the
general president, when the matter is brought to his attention, shall have the
power in his discretion to proceed to revoke or order the revocation of the
membership of such member.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I don't quarrel with what you are reading from
the constitution, because I am aware of it. However, I would like to
say to you that my statement to Senator McClellan remains the same
to you, that if I want to destroy this union I can go in overnight,
throw the individual out, and lose the union, or I can approach it in
such a way that the union is not disturbed when you accomplish the

Senator Ervin. I can't see what yon need with anything further
than when a member of the union is convicted of extortion or pleads
guilty to extortion and is sent to the penitentiary, why you have to
go, with this power, giving you the power — it says that the local
union shall act, but if the local union fails to act then you have the
power to act.

I don't think any excuse you can give will justify permitting a man
to be continued in the union office when he is in the penitentiary on
the plea of guilty or a conviction of such a crime as extortion.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I didn't say he was going to remain in office.
I said I was going to approach it in such a way that I preserved the
union without destroying it, by following due process, and I will.

Senator Era^n. What is there to find out beyond the fact that a man
has entered a plea of guilty and was sent to prison ?

Mr. HoFFA. I will tell you what is it. I will have to bring the
executive board of that union down to the international or go toNew
York to talk to them. I recognize that under the constitution I don't
have to do that. I recognize that.


But rather than to destroy this union, this is the procedure I would
follow. Then, if there, I would ^o to their membership, if necessary,
to have carried out in orderly fashion the constitution, rather than
destroy the union.

Senator Ervin. In other words, you are telling us that if you follow
the constitution and carry out the powers the constitution gives you to
remove from membership or from office convicted criminals, that that
will destroy your union ?

Mr. HoFFA. I didn't say that. Senator.

Senator Em^N. If you said anything else, I am unable to under-
stand the English language.

Mr. HoFFA. Then I would like to restate it, if I may, sir.

I say to you that my experience leads me to believe that when men
are organized into a union and they have been there for a considerable
period of time, and they understand democratic procedures, and they
understand their right of voting for or against something, and they
once take action, they cannot understand, by mere words, the fact
that a Hoff a or anybody else occupying my position can walk in and
disregard every action they took, but where it is necessary to preserve
this union to enlighten them as to that provision in the constitution
through their executive board who, in my opinion, will take care of the

If they don't, then I would go to the membership and tell them
the international constitution, and attempt to preserve this union, yet
still carry out the constitution.

Senator Ervtn. And the reason this power is given to you as presi-
dent of the international — to remove from union offices and from
union membership convicted felons — is because the local union has
refused to act.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I don't quarrel with what you are saying, sir.
I don't quarrel at all with what you are saying in this constitution.

I simply am trying to point out, and I am apparently failing to do
so, the necessity of trying to carry out the instructions of the constitu-
tion in such a way, out of my experience, that it will not destroy
this organization.

Senator Ervin. You still come back to the position that you have
to take it up and have a democratic process of some kind and can't
carry out your constitution as the constitution provides for fear that
it might destroy your union.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator, I don't say that. Apparently I am not mak-
ing myself clear. But I can cnvvy out the constitution in several

1. By just deliberately wiring and saying, "You are out of office,
or else we will put you in trusteeship or pick up your charter."

This is what the broad interpretation of that language means.
Isn't that right, sir ?

Senator Er\T[n-. I don't construe it as such. If the local union fails
to act, then you have the power to act. It says that local unions shivU
act. It is not even permissive with them.

Mr. HoFFA. I can say to them, "You have failed to act in accord-
ance with this provision of the constitution. I am not telling you
and not asking you to remove this man."


Now, if they fail to do so, then I have one of two choices : ( 1 ) Go
in and put the local union in trusteeship; or (2) dissolve the charter;
or (3), which I think is preferable, to go in and handle it in accord-
ance with democratic procedures and get it accepted by the member-
ship, by the officers, and accomplish the same purpose without destroy-
ing the union.

Senator Ervin. I would think it is the duty of the president of
the international, when the man abuses his union office and practices
extortion, and is sentenced to prison, and his conviction becomes
final, and he is actually serving a prison term, I would draw the
conclusion that your constitution contemplated that the president of
the union, in the event the local fails to act, will then remove him
from membership and from his union office. Otherwise, I don't see
what they have Avith such a constitution.

Mr. HoFFA. I don't quarrel with your statement, Senator.
Senator ER\^N. Except you don't practice it.

Mr. HoFFA. Well, I don't practice it by just chopping a man's head
off without a hearing ; no.

Mr. Kennedy. This man has been convicted of betraying the union
membership. Tliis individual was sent to prison, sent to the peni-
tentiaiy for betraying the union membership, yet the international
president of the union is questioned as to how quick or how speedy he
will move in.

Don't you have an organization investigating racketeering in the
International Brotherhood of Teamsters for you, Mr. Hoffa'^

Mr. HoFFA. We have a committee whicli is inactive at this moment
because of litigation before the court.

Mr. Kennedy. That is the committee headed by former Senator
George Bender ?

Mr. HoFFA. That is correct.

Mr. Kennedy. As a result of his investigation of racketeering in
the Teamsters Union, didn't he report back to you in 1957 that Sam
Goldstein had been convicted of betraying the union membership, or
did it take until June 1959 for this committee to tell you this ?

Mr. HoFFA. I don't recall the chairman of that committee sending
me any such communication. I don't recall it being brought to my
attention. If it is brought to my .attention, I think I have outlined
what I would do. No matter what you say, I don't Imow what else
can be done other than what I am saying will be done in accordance
with the international constitution under democratic procedures.

Mr. Kennedy. Whom have you taken steps against to revoke his
membership or remove him from office as union official ?

Mr. Williams. Mr. Chairman, I want to ask the Chair what the
pertinency of this ({uestion is, for the reason tiiat it has been asked at
least 20 times in the course of this witness' testimony and the answer
lias been given time and time again over a period of 13 days.

Counsel says he is just beginning his interrogation. He lias had
liim on the witness stand for 13 days of testimony. I object to this
question unless the pertinency is stated.

The Chairman. During the 13 days that Mr. IIolTa has been ap-
pearing before this committee he has been asked many questions about
many different things aiul not just about this subject. What is the
question? I think the question is. Is there anyone else that you have
taken this action against under the provisions of the constitution?


Mr. Kennedy. It says :

When a member is convicted of a crime or serious wrongdoing or pleads
guilty to commission of a crime,

and then it goes on to say —

or is engaged in wbat is commonly termed "racketeering."

The Chairman. The question is, Wlio else, if anyone else, other
than those who have been mentioned liere, ha^e you taken such action
against under that provision of the constitution ?

Mr. HoFFA. I have not taken any action under that provision of the
constitution, but I have taken action which brought about the same
results as this provision would call for. Certain individuals who
were with the international union at the outset of these hearings are

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 20 of 38)