When Ron Carey learned that he had been elected Teamsters union (IBT) president, his first words, addressed to the old-guard officials who were using the union’s treasury as their private money market fund, were: “The party’s over.” An unstated message, delivered to the whole labor movement by the victory of his entire sixteen-candidate slate, carried a broader lesson: for the first time in memory, organized crime suffered a major defeat in the American labor movement.
The eradication of corruption has been—and remains—one of the great unfinished tasks of American labor. Many have tried. Up to now, all failed. To start, not at the beginning, but “only” thirty-seven years ago, we turn to Febr...
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