Wikipedia, and various reactionary web sites, are currently “reporting” that Frank Sheeran, deceased Mafia hoodlum, once claimed that Joe Biden’s first Senate campaign asked him to shut down a newspaper with an illegal teamster strike. Wiki asserts in the supporting footnotes that: “The Teamsters Union organized a strike preventing the newspapers from being delivered all week,” and “…The day after the election the informational picket line came down.”
Here’s a link to the Wiki entry. en.wikipedia.org/…
In sum, the Mafia/teamster strike and its scary picket line prevented Biden’s opponent from printing, and distributing campaign literature as newspaper inserts, and the strike was called off the day after Biden won the 1972 election, according to Sheeran’s book. None of that is true.
This underhanded accusation is sourced solely from the dead man’s memoirs. Actual newspaper accounts during November 1972, including stories from the struck and regional newspapers, described a vividly different reality, that undermines this libel against Biden.
Here’s the truth.
There was a strike at the Wilmington newspaper, but it had nothing to do with the Mafia of the teamsters or the upcoming November, 1972 Senate election. Instead the Wilmington newspaper caused the strike weeks earlier in August, by refusing to sign a first contract with the Newspaper Guild delivery drivers’ union, who went on strike.
The newspaper wasn’t printed for a couple of days before the election. But that wasn’t because of the Mafia. It was because the printers union would not cross the Newspaper Guild picket line. The paper was shut down two days, not “all week.”
The Guild strike went on for weeks after Biden won his Senate seat, giving the lie to claims that the strike was solely to shut down the newspaper, and that the strike ended right after the election, as Wiki claimed.
The election was on November 6. But the Guild strike continued until November 22, demonstrating it had no relation to the election.
There was no “informational picket line” as Wiki asserted. The Newspaper Guild strike featured a “real” picket line by newly unionized workers who fought for economic and worker rights’ issues in their first contract.
As the old saying might be updated; these lies are getting 436,000 hits on Google, while truth is still getting its pants on.
My sources are the Wilmington Delaware Morning News, Nov. 6, and Nov. 22, 1972. That’s the paper that the Guild struck.