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Chicago Teamster Local 743

'Our local is run by gangsters. We want it back.'

by staff |
March 31, 2006
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Group of labor folks, posing for picture.
Members of the 743 New Leadership Slate with Teamster presidential candidate Tom Leedham (Fight Back! News)
Tony and Tom
New Leadership Slate member Tony Caldera and Tom Leedham.

Chicago, IL - Richard Berg stood with workers who are members of Teamsters Local 743 in front of the Russian Turkish Bathhouse on Division Street. “This place is run by the mob. Everyone knows it,” stated Berg, presidential candidate for the Teamsters Local 743 reform group, the New Leadership Slate (NLS). “Our local is run by gangsters as well. We want it back.”

The reform group held the press conference to announce that it is suing Local 743 officers on behalf of the 13,000 members of Local 743. Berg said, “Local 743 President Robert Walston and the rest of the board have spent many thousands of dollars of our money to cover up their wrongdoings. We demand that they pay back this money to Local 743 members, resign their positions and let the rightful winners take office.”

The New Leadership Slate obtained documents from the U.S. Department of Labor that detail how the executive board of Teamsters Local 743 misdirected many hundreds of ballots in bundles to friends, loyal stewards and even the infamous Russian Turkish Bathhouse. These ballots were used to provide the margin of victory in the most recent Local 743 officers’ election.

The Russian Turkish Bathhouse was cited by the Chicago Tribune and Teamsters anti-organized crime chief Edward Steir as mob owned. The Tribune cited it as the secret meeting place of Local 743 president Robert Walston and banned former president Robert Simpson

In an attempt to cover up their wrongdoing, the heads of Local 743 destroyed election documents that the law requires saving for a period of no less than one year. Since stealing the election, Local 743 Secretary Treasurer Diane Strickland has resigned. “And the rest are in trouble,” said NLS supporter Debra Simmons, “Reggie Ford and Bob Walston’s days are numbered.”

The 743 New Leadership Slate is represented by attorney Thomas Geoghegan. The NLS is utilizing its rights under the provisions of Title V of the Labor Management Reporting Act to recover union monies Robert Walston, Reggie Ford and others agents of Local 743 used to defend their theft of ballots.

The New Leadership Slate is also running a slate of delegate candidates to represent Local 743 with honest leaders at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters convention. They support Tom Leedham for president of the International Brotherhood Teamsters.