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Teamsters Reject Hoffa

by staff |
May 30, 2006
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Teamster International president Jimmy Hoffa has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. He will probably raise millions in an attempt to fend off a largely rank and file effort to unseat him. Why is he afraid of the Teamster members? Because under his watch workers have lost ground, pension benefits have been cut, widespread corruption continues and working Teamsters are mad as hell.

He spent large sums of money to try to prevent reformer Tom Leedham from being nominated to run against him. This plan failed. Instead of a coronation there will be an election. Leedham has announced that he has enough delegates to nominate him at the Teamster convention at the end of June. With mainly rank-and-file volunteers, Leedham won delegates in the majority races that he contested.

“The workers are sick of Hoffa’s broken promises and lies,” said Chicago Local 705 delegate Craig Karnia, “I work at UPS and I know that PR alone won’t do the trick. If we are going to take on UPS, we need a strong rank-and-file movement. We need to elect Tom Leedham.”

Some Leedham delegate candidates were not successful. In Chicago’s Local 743 Leedham delegates lost a close race amidst widespread irregularities. “This election was a joke,” said 743 New Leadership Slate candidate Richard Berg, “The officials lie, they cheat and they steal, and we still fought them to a tie or at least close to a tie.”

A lawsuit has been brought against Local 743 by the U.S. Department of Labor for stealing the last Local 743 officers’ election. “This suit is still in federal court,” said Richard Berg, “yet these criminals are still able to run the delegate election.” Local 743 failed to send over 15% of the members a ballot. Charges have been filed by the 743 New Leadership Slate.

“These little tricks won’t work,” said Berg, “the workers want change. They are going to vote for Tom Leedham and his entire slate because they are sick of ‘let’s make a deal.’ They want a union that will fight for them. Leedham understands this.”

Tom Leedham and his slate will face off against Jimmy Hoffa this fall. The 743 New Leadership Slate lawsuit is likely to be resolved some time before the end of the year. Besides campaigning for Leedham, 743 New Leadership Slate members are trying to raise money to cover their legal fees.

If you would like to help the 743 New Leadership Slate you can contribute to their legal defense fund by going to their website www.743newleadership.org. Or make a check out to the Chicago Labor Support Committee and send it to PO Box 805104, Chicago, IL 60680.

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