2020 Workers Unite Film Festival

Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union - Q&A Panel Oct 17th

Enter the livestream and chat at any time
Stream began October 17, 2020 6:00 PM UTC
Already unlocked? for access

Give as a gift

$0After unlocking, the October 17th at 6:00 pm UTC livestream can be viewed at any time. Need help?


This feature documents the human cost of the government takeover of the Teamsters union. In a highly controversial move, the Justice Department used the RICO statute to take over the entire International Brotherhood of Teamsters, denying free speech and due process for 1.4 million union members over a 30-year period. Rather than prosecute wrongdoers, then US Attorney Rudy Giuliani invoked a legal short cut to seize control of the union through a government appointed watchdog with sweeping power to bar for life any union member whether that individual had even been accused of a crime. Criminal elements were quickly removed, but the government watchdog continued an abusive regime barring for life respected union leaders who dared to criticize the government takeover which was supposed to last three years but has continued for nearly thirty years.

DAN GRAFF - Moderator, Professor and Director Msgr at George Higgins Labor Studies Program, Notre Dame University

GEORGE BOGDANICH - Director, Filmmaker, Journalist on labor and politics issues for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and former campaign consultant for members of Congress.

ED OTT - Former head of the NYC Central Labor Council and distinguished lecturer of Labor Studies at CUNY's Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies

ROBERT MCKAY - Attorney who filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice

'Betrayal ...' is told through interviews with union officials who were barred for life on baseless charges and prohibited from speaking to lifelong friends who remained in the Teamsters Union. The film highlights what appears to be a vendetta against respected Chicago Teamster leader Bill Hogan who led the effort to end the government takeover and found himself barred for life and then facing a jail sentence for speaking to former friends in the Teamsters union. Union members and former Justice Department officials speak about how the agency damaged lives and set a dangerous precedent for government overreach. It is a story that needed to be told and our production crew set out to speak to former Teamster officials who were wrongfully charged and saw their careers destroyed. We spoke to justice department officials and academics familiar with the highly charged issues and whether this was an abuse of government power. Our film is a reminder that every generation must be aware of threats to our constitutional guarantees.

“This film opened my eyes to a history of government intervention that has been and still is anti-labor, anti-democratic, clearly illegal and unconstitutional. Hiding behind the rhetoric of crime-fighting, the government established an unaccountable inquisition-like board to control the union."

— Ruth Needleman, Professor Emerita, Labor Studies, Indiana University.

“Never until this film did I see such a lack of due process and restriction on freedom of speech as portrayed here. Government oversight at the very high price shown in this film needs investigation and an answer from the government.”

— Jill Wine-Banks, former Watergate prosecutor and General Counsel US Army