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Battle Inside Teamsters Local 743

by staff |
December 1, 2004
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Chicago, IL - The officers’ election in Local 743 was held once this fall. Now it’s being held again.

The current officers stopped the ballot count in the first election. “Everybody knows why. They were losing,” declared Donny Von Moore, a supporter of the opposition 743 New Leadership Slate (NLS).

When Local 743 President Walston ended the ballot count on Oct. 18, the NLS was ahead by a slim margin. There were disputed ballots, but many of those were ballots cast by the Silver Capital workers. These votes were certain to go for the NLS. The old-guard candidate for vice president, Jose Galvan, had sold out these workers earlier this year. [See related article.]

The gangsters stole the election three years ago to get into office. This fall, they were looking at the end of their cushy jobs with six figure salaries. They had to come up with an excuse to call off the election. Grasping at straws, they declared that the election was so flawed that the members wouldn’t see it as legitimate. They ordered a new one.

The Teamsters for a Democratic Union called it, “A Chicago twist on an old trick: Vote until you get it right.” The officers’ action was based on a protest filed by Richard Berg. Berg is the presidential candidate of the NLS. He described how the officials had dismissed many protests he filed, and then chose to grant one and order a new election when they faced defeat. “Think about it. They’re saying ‘stop the election because we’re so corrupt and incompetent, this election couldn’t possibly be fair.’”

Marcela Garcia, a leader of the Silver Capital workers who is running for office with the NLS, said, “We will win again. We know the immigrant workers, all the workers, are supporting us.”

Earlier, the NLS had caught the union’s secretary treasurer, Diane Strickland, stealing ballots to vote for the old-guard ‘Unity Slate.’ Hundreds of returned ballots had disappeared from a secure mailbox. When the NLS investigated, they found that Strickland had illegally checked out two keys from the post office. Later, almost 100 of these stolen ballots showed up, cast for the current officers.

Tony Caldera, NLS candidate for secretary treasurer, said, “We caught them red handed. We know they stole many other votes, but we beat them anyway. If they hadn’t stolen votes, we would have beat them two to one. They have no support among the workers.”

Berg has said to supporters at rallies ever since the first vote count, “Beating the Walston gang is a tremendous victory for workers in this local. The corruption of the old guard is clear to everyone. No matter what happens next, we’re on our way to taking this union back for the members.”

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