– Gordon Quinn, Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Kartemquin Films


When The government
took over the teamsters

Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union

Oversight or Abuse?

The film 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.



“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.”

Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune columnist, WGN radio host


“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”

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


Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union

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.




Buy BETRAYAL on DVD – $20

Add a DVD copy of this powerful film to your personal movie library.



Educational institutions, trade unions and non-profits can purchase performance rights to screen BETRAYAL from our distribution partner, New Day Films.  BETRAYAL provides both a historical and current context from which to explore labor rights, free speech, and government excess.


Free Speech Trampled

Misguided Justice Dept takeover of Teamsters Union tramples free speech and due process, destroying livelihoods and lives in its wake.

William Hogan Jr.

former Chairman of Teamster Joint Council 25 and head of Chicago Teamster Local 714

This is about a group of people who stood up for the membership and now they have to be eliminated. This is about absolute power.”

Jack Goldsmith

Harvard Law Professor, former Asst. US Attorney General and author of In Hoffa’s Shadow


“I think there was a case for an aggressive step [by the Department of Justice] but they were very aggressive and it went on arguably for much too long… And then [Judge] Edelstein interpreted it that all the bill of rights protections didn’t apply to what he was doing.”

Dan Graff

Director of Higgins Labor Program at Notre Dame

There is nothing that would suggest the federal government has ever had much of an interest in protecting ordinary member of unions and their interests.”

Christie Hefner

former CEO of Playboy, civil liberties activist

“Often things that are borne of good intentions and at a time when they are needed live long beyond the time when they are required to be in place. Hence the saying “The road to hell if paved with good intentions.”

Robert McCay

attorney who filed the lawsuit challenging the government takeover

The [union convention] vote was overwhelmingly against the consent decree, yet it was nevertheless adopted [by the Department of Justice]; in direct violation of the democratic process, 1.4 million members were stripped of their rights, and the government took over.”

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