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Teamsters 743 Officials Indicted, New Leadership Slate on the Move

By Josh Sykes

Chicago IL – Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743 are looking forward to a fair election this time around. In a flurry of action, Robert Walston, former president of IBT 743 resigned under pressure, to be replaced by Walston’s former Recording Secretary, Richard Lopez, as president of the local.

On the heels of Walston’s resignation, Lopez has just been indicted for stealing the last election. Three other former business agents were also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. It is very likely that they will face jail time for their crimes. It is also quite possible that other corrupt officials will follow them.

Cleaning up the Corruption in Teamsters 743

This is good news for members of Teamsters Local 743, which has a sordid history of mob related corruption. Don Peters, who had ruled the local without holding any elections for 40 years was banned for corruption in 1987. Robert Simpson was appointed his replacement and served as president of the local until he was also banned in 1995. The 743 New Leadership Slate was formed to fight back against this corruption and to stand up for the true interests of members.

Now all of their crimes and collaboration are catching up with them. In 2004, with the 743 New Leadership Slate winning the election, Walston used his powers as Local 743 president to call a ‘do-over’ election. Now Lopez and others are being charged with fraudulently diverting ballots from union members to friends and family who were

not eligible to vote. They are also charged with stealing the ballots and embezzlement. They stole the do-over elections and they got caught.

Teamsters Local 743 is home to about 13,000 members, many of whom have worked for years for low wages and little or no benefits. This is due to the collaboration of these corrupt union officials with the bosses. Since the era of Don Peters, IBT 743 has operated as a company union at the expense of many of its members, selling them out on behalf of the factories, warehouses, health care facilities and other companies.

743 New Leadership Slate – Fighting for the Members

New elections are under way in IBT 743, with ballots due in to be counted on Oct. 22. Due to all of the shady dealings of the last elections, the Department of Labor is stepping in to run the election. The 743 New Leadership Slate is in the running against the ‘Ford-Galvan Unity Slate.’ Jose Galvan served as vice-president under former president Robert Walston. Reginald Ford served as trustee.

Richard Berg, presidential candidate for the 743 New Leadership Slate, says, “The Ford-Galvan gang have been nothing but a ball and chain for working people in the union They’ve negotiated give-backs and sweetheart contracts for employers. Now we have a solid chance to get rid of these crooks and take back our union. We will then be able to build Local 743 into a real union that represents its members.”

The 743 New Leadership Slate is gearing up for an aggressive campaign to take back the union from the clutches of the bosses and their collaborators. The corrupt officials are now set up for a big fall. New Leadership Slate organizers are working day and night, going to workplaces and talking to workers, building their campaign to make sure that members come out of this election with a fighting union.

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