Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Teamsters Local 743: Workers Ready to Vote for New Leadership Slate

By staff

Chicago, IL – Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743 say it’s time for a change. “We can’t stand another term of the current officers,” Richard Berg stated. Berg is the presidential candidate of the 743 New Leadership Slate, which will be on the ballot being mailed out on Sept. 22. The votes are to be counted on Oct. 16.

The 743 New Leadership Slate has gathered support from thousands of workers who have seen their union dues go up and union representation go down.

Because of the recent dues increases in the Teamsters, Local 743 collects over $1 million more a year from its members in union dues. Despite this, the Local lost over 1,000 members last year and made no significant advances for its current members. Members pay more for less health care, pension and other benefits. While wages have been uneven, they have not advanced at the rate they could have with better union representation.

Berg is a housekeeper at the University of Chicago Hospital. As a delegate to the International Convention, where dues were raised in 2002, Berg was the only Teamster from Chicago that spoke from the convention floor to oppose the dues increase. Berg denounced the convention, stacked with overpaid union bureaucrats. “We believe that the rank and file should have the right to vote on this issue. The rank and file do not like the fact that union leaders sneak off to Las Vegas after an election is over to raise their dues,” he stated.

The current president of Local 743, Robert Walston, campaigned in 2001 on a pledge to not raise dues. But when he got to the convention, his delegates did not stand for the head count to try to stop it. As a result, union dues went up by 25%!

Furthermore, Walston is responsible for the bankrupting of the Local 743 Health and Welfare fund in 2001. This caused thousands of union members to lose their health insurance.

Finally, Walston is a gangster. He stole the last election from the 743 New Leadership Slate. In that election, hundreds of ballots were returned to the post office because the addresses were bad and disappeared. Walston’s henchwoman had the only key.

Time For New Leadership

Workers know that it is time to vote the Walston crew out of our union and replace them with real leaders who will unite all workers in the fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Tony Caldera, a candidate for officer with the 743 New Leadership Slate, and a worker at the Frederick Cooper factory, says, “Management does not respect Local 743 because they are weak. The 743 New Leadership Slate will put our dues money to work for us. First, we will fight management, like getting the members involved in contract campaigns. We will go to the rank and file, keeping everyone informed. The representatives that we have now show up and go straight to the bosses’ office. Not us.”

Berg pledged that the dues paid by members would be spent on good representation, organizing new members, research and legal assistance. He singled out the current officers for stuffing their pockets. “Walston is paid over $150,000 a year, Richard Lopez over $100,000, Jose Galvan, Diane Strickland and Reginald Ford each is paid $99,000 every year. They’re not worth those salaries.”

Addressing the fear that many workers have that the criminals will just steal the election again, Berg declared, “To get the representation we deserve, the workers in Local 743 have to vote in numbers large enough that the Walston gang can’t steal it. I urge all 11,000 members to vote, and ask them to cast their vote for the 743 New Leadership Slate.”

#ChicagoIL #News #Teamsters #TeamstersLocal743 #NewLeadershipSlate #RichardBerg #RobWalston