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743 Teamsters Win A Round

by staff |
February 1, 2003
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Chicago IL - One year after Chicago Teamsters Local 743 officials were caught stealing the Local’s officer election, U. S. District Judge Robert Gettleman has agreed to hear a case brought by rank-and-file members of Local 743 against their corrupt union officials.

When the Local 743 officials realized they had no chance to win a fair election against the 743 New Leadership Slate, they pulled every trick in the book to steal the election and ensure that they held on to their cushy jobs.

The incumbents hired James Dehann to be a ‘ghost election officer.’ They then ordered him to stay in Michigan and not answer any phone calls or mail from rank-and-file Local 743 members during the course of the election, which he was supposedly conducting.

Union officials proceeded to blatantly violate election rules set in Local 743’s bylaws, the International union’s constitution and even rules that they themselves had set. When all else failed, they issued themselves a key to the election ballot box and stole hundreds of ballots. Unfortunately for them, they got caught.

The opposition, the 743 New Leadership Slate, went through the channels of official protest. First they filed charges with Teamster Local 743, then with the Teamsters Joint Council 25, then with International President Jimmy Hoffa and, finally, with the Teamsters International Executive Board. In each case, union officials refused to give serious consideration to the overwhelming evidence, even the blatant theft of ballots.

Teamsters Local 743 President Robert Walston thought he could do as he pleased because Jimmy Hoffa and his allies tolerate multiple levels of corruption by their supporters. They are opposed to the 743 New Leadership Slate because it has campaigned on getting rid of Jimmy Hoffa and organized crime. There is a pattern of sell-out union officials linked with organized crime dominating Local 743.

The 743 New Leadership Slate has vowed to turn the union back to the rank and file, to stop ‘sweetheart’ agreements and to mobilize the workers.

“We are sick and tired of union officials making deals with management,” said Richard Berg, the 743 New Leadership Slate’s candidate for president of Local 743, “We will not rest until every member of this local union has affordable health insurance for their families, decent wages and a good pension. This will never happen until the workers take back this union.”

The 743 New Leadership State is confident that if they get a new election that they can beat the Walston-Hoffa old guard officials. “No reputable Teamster supports them,” said Tony Caldera, 743 New Leadership candidate for vice president. “When we get a fair election, it will not even be close. They are discredited among the workers.”

Judge Gettleman’s ruling is a huge victory for the reform movement. After the election theft, the 743 New Leadership Slate pursued every means open to them. They continue to organize and mobilize workers while pursuing legal avenues. The 743 New Leadership Slate has been working with Chicago National Lawyers Guild attorneys Jeff Naffziger and James Fennerty, as well as renowned Teamster reform attorney Thomas Geoghegan.

“The New Leadership Slate understands that the courts can help get a fairer election, but that they have to win it. This huge legal victory we hope gives the workers of Local 743 a chance to take back their union,” said the Chicago chapter president of the National Lawyers Guild, James Fennerty.

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