Teamsters Local 120, based in Fargo, is under investigation for misuse of union funds. The news broke earlier this week. Among the accusations, which seem largely to be aimed at chapter boss Bradley Slawson and his son Bradley Slawson Jr., are the failure to report losses from the union-run lounge to the union’s executive committee, misuse of strike fund money to cover the lounge’s losses, misuse of funds to build a new building, kickbacks from contractors and apparent deals negotiated with vendors to the union in which the vendors got contracts in exchange for excusing debt run up by the Slawson’s.
In other words a big, fat, ugly mess. But not exactly something new to the world of organized labor. Misuse of funds? Kick back? Under-the-table deals?
Color me shocked.
What’s interesting, though, is the connection the union has to Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp. In addition to getting $9,000 in contributions to her Senate campaign from the Teamsters’ DRIVE PAC (and probably a whole lot more from individual union workers/bosses that I haven’t had the time to look up yet), Heitkamp’s election-night victory party was held at the Teamster’s Lounge in Fargo.
The very same bar that was operated, according to the accusations being made, with misappropriated funds by union bosses that themselves are apparently guilty of a myriad of dirty dealings.
Is Heitkamp responsible for the internal problems at Teamsters Local 120? Nope. But is it an illustration of the close connections between the often unseemly world of Big Labor and Democrat politicians like Heitkamp?