Instead of building cases and prosecuting criminal elements in the Teamsters Union in 1989, the Department of Justice, under then US Attorney Rudy Giuliani, takes “temporary” control of the entire International Teamsters Union, but was extended for more than three decades trampling free speech and due process for 1.4 million union members.
Betrayal is a great film, captivating and chilling at the same time. Filmmaker George Bogdanich gives us a riveting story with an admirable hero in lifelong Teamster Bill Hogan and all manner of villains, most of them operating wildly under governmental sanction.
Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union documents the human cost of the government takeover of the Teamsters union.The film follows highly regarded Teamster leader Bill Hogan Jr. who fought against government control and found himself targeted by a government appointed watchdog with sweeping power to remove members for life even if they were never accused of a crime. Hogan finds himself barred for life on baseless charges from the union he helped build for criticizing government control which was supposed to last three years, but has lasted three decades. Thereafter, the government appointed watchdog known as the Independent Review Board or IRB barred for life four friends of Hogan who remained in the union for simply speaking to him. The government even charged Hogan with contempt of court for speaking to his lifelong friends which could have resulted in a jail sentence. After a long and expensive legal battle while his wife Ginni was dying of cancer, the case was settled with no admission of guilt. Yet Hogan is still banned from speaking to any Teamster other than his two sons.
The story is told through interviews with union members and former Justice Department officials who explain how the agency damaged lives and set a dangerous precedent for government overreach. Hogan and others point out that the Justice Department betrayed it's own promise that the membership would have the right to vote on a consent decree that gave the government it's power to control the union. Viewers also learn how the government watchdog which was supposed to rid the union of criminal elements, gave support to supposed "reform" candidate Ron Carey for International Union President who turned out to a former associate of the Lucchese crime family.. "Betrayal" is a powerful account of how government control greatly weakened the union, subverted internal democracy and led to the loss of three hundred thousand members.
"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."
"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. Thanks to George Bogdanich for telling this story."
"Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters” documents a powerful story that needs to be told about a continuing injustice that is little known to the general public."
"Extraordinary story, superb film"
"With an abundance of research and testimony [director] Bogdanich presents a compelling case that the tragedy resulted from the Justice Department’s misguided effort to rid the Teamsters of illegal influence."