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Silver Capital Workers, Union Reformers Charge Theft of Election

Immigrant workers again being denied right to vote by union officials
by staff |
October 6, 2004
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Chicago, IL - Rank-and-file workers will rally Oct. 7 to stop an attempt by the corrupt leaders of Teamsters Local 743 to steal the election for union officers. The rally will take place at Teamster City, 300 S Ashland at 4:30 p.m.

323 ballots for the officers' election in this corrupt union disappeared this week from a secure mailbox at the post office. The secretary treasurer of the union was the only person with a key. Reformers are charging theft and demanding a new election.

The union mailed out ballots to 11,700 addresses on Sept. 22. On Oct. 4, Richard Berg, presidential candidate for the New Leadership Slate, accompanied the election monitor to the post office to retrieve returned (undelivered) ballots. They learned that Diane Strickland, secretary treasurer of Local 743 had obtained a key to the post office box. The election monitor confirmed that this was not proper and that only the election monitor should have a key. Later, at the union’s hall, Berg learned that a second key had also been issued to Diane Strickland.

Over 300 ballots 'disappeared' from the post office box. This number is the difference between the returns of literature mailed for the New Leadership Slate and the ballots picked up by the monitor. The Slate’s literature and the ballots were mailed on the same day, with the same list, by the same mail house.

"It is clear that hundreds of ballots have been removed from the post office box," said Berg. "The election has been seriously compromised. The incumbent slate has illegally obtained a key, and approximately 300 ballots have subsequently disappeared from the box."

Three years ago, Berg lost the officers election by little more than 200 votes. The New Leadership Slate charged that election was stolen. Their evidence included the disappearance of hundreds of ballots and the fact that a key was improperly issued to Diane Strickland as well.

The New Leadership Slate and the Silver Capital Workers are calling for the election to be rerun under independent supervision and for Diane Strickland - and anyone acting in concert with her to subvert the election - to be banned from the election.

Marcela Garcia, a laid-off Silver Capital worker and vice presidential candidate with the New Leadership Slate, said that the officers of the union are again denying rights to the workers from her former employer. "We have the right to vote - to vote for union officers and to vote on our contract. They denied us the right to vote on the contract they negotiated with our company. Now they are stealing this election. They think we can be treated this way because we are immigrants. We want our votes to count."