Some local Teamsters didn’t get the message back in 2003 when former Local 25 president George Cashman was sentenced to 34 months for conspiracy. Cashman had long been a target of allegations that he shook down movie producers in Massachusetts. Now federal investigators are focusing on similar activities by Teamsters Local 82 dating back to 2007.
The US attorney is alleging that four former members of the union’s trade show and moving operations extorted “unwanted, unnecessary, superfluous jobs for themselves, their friends and family’’ from hotels, event planners, catering companies, music entertainers, and pharmaceutical companies. Those who didn’t play along, according to the multiple-count indictment, were threatened with physical harm and disruption of their businesses.
The business climate in Massachusetts is tough enough without the piling on by thugs. And the alleged misdeeds by the so-called “Perry Crew’’ didn’t just affect businesses and organizations. Some of the crew, named for 60-year-old Teamsters leader John Perry of Woburn, allegedly assaulted fellow Teamsters who challenged their authority.
Trade shows offer a chance to show Boston in a hospitable light. The last thing this or any other city needs is shakedown artists loading and unloading exhibits at hotels and convention centers. Apparently the national Teamsters Union agrees. It has dissolved Local 82.
Good riddance to it and any other group of Teamsters whose integrity and work ethic is modeled on the longshoremen goons from “On the Waterfront.’’