Chicago, IL - This past year was a tough year for Teamsters Local 743. Reformers Richard Berg and Eugenia Alvarez were wrongly removed from office by Teamsters International President James Hoffa. The remaining executive board members, in office for only five months, spent the time fighting amongst themselves. They then ran against one another in the recent union election.
Reformers banded together and formed the 743 New Leadership Team/El Nuevo Liderazgo. The vote is over. It appears that the election was stolen, marking a loss for the for 743 New Leadership Team as well as rank-and-file workers.
With four slates running, the Movement Towards Members slate headed by Donnie Von Moore was declared the winner by an election officer that they hired, Steven M Bierig. Bierig declared that Von Moore received 26.9% of those voting, 574 votes. The 743 New Leadership Team came in a virtual tie with another slate for second place with roughly 530 votes each. Only 2040 out of 10,020 workers participated in the election.
Larry Davis, who orchestrated the sham charges against Richard Berg and Eugenia Alvarez, came in dead last. Exposed to the workers of Local 743 and betrayed by those who used him, Davis leaves office in disgrace. In full view of the membership, most union representatives barely did their jobs during the election and campaigned full time for their candidate, Donnie Von Moore.
Thousands of members, mostly Latino, did not receive ballots at their homes or when they did vote they were challenged by the union. It was widely thought that the overwhelming majority of the Latino vote would go to New Leadership Team /Nuevo Liderazgo. In fact, they were the only slate that seriously campaigned in shops dominated by Latino members. James Cook, a steward from University of Chicago Medical Center said, "Clearly Latinos have been denied their votes."
In 2001 and 2004 Fight Back! reported about stolen elections in Local 743. In 2007 we reported on the victory of reformers in a U.S. Department of Labor-run election. With the Department of Labor gone, it appears the election was stolen by using some old tricks as well as refusing to process address changes for Latinos and others 743 New Leadership Team supporters.
Von Moore has long been on the shady side of 743 affairs. Just months ago he presided over a giveaway of the defined benefit pension for close to 1000 workers at Rush University Medical Center. Nursing home administrators supported Von Moore, knowing he would take them back to the ‘good ol’ days’ of undercutting contracts of other SEIU unionized nursing homes in the area.
New Leadership Team presidential candidate J Burger said, “Making the Von Moore leadership accountable to the members won’t be easy, but must be done to prevent the return of back room deals, higher officer salaries and poor member representation. Only an active and informed membership can make this happen.”
A source inside the 743 New Leadership Team told Fight Back! that a post-election protest has been filed. Many workers who supported the New Leadership Team/El Nuevo Liderazgo will continue their efforts to build a fighting workers movement. This includes support for Sandy Pope as she takes on James Hoffa for Teamster International President.