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Hoffa removes Richard Berg, Local 743 Teamster President, from office

Members fighting mad
By staff |
May 9, 2010
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Chicago, IL - Fight Back! learned May 9 that Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., at a meeting in Las Vegas, has joined with the corrupt Teamsters officials in Chicago to remove President Richard Berg and Secretary Treasurer Gina Alvarez from office in Local 743. Berg and Alvarez are rank-and-file reformers who fought for years against the gangsters who ran their union while Hoffa and officers of the Joint Council in Chicago turned a blind eye to the corruption in the local.

While the official decision has yet to be received, Berg confirmed that he has been notified. The decision rests upon a charge brought against Berg and Alvarez by other officers in 743 who had turned against the reform agenda.

The factual basis of the charge is that Berg had let go a former staff member who was no longer able to perform his duties. A severance was agreed upon, which the local executive board was informed of and to which they assented. Six months later, the same board members cooked up a scheme with the top Teamster old guard in Chicago. These ex-reformers knew the Joint Council was dominated by officials who were hostile to Berg and Alvarez’ agenda - reviving a fighting union with power in the hands of the members. The sole charge upon which the two are being removed was Berg’s failure to get an official vote from the board.

While the immediate impact of this is a blow to efforts to rebuild a fighting workers’ movement in the Teamsters, the members of Local 743 are not likely to watch the sell-outs turn back the hands of time. At the members meeting last week, worker after worker rose from the floor to speak against threats to remove Berg and Alvarez. Black, Latino and white, workers remember what the union was like under the old gangsters, with sweetheart deals that favored management, and crummy contracts.

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