Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Teamsters 743 Guilty of Theft

By staff

Chicago, IL – Teamsters Local 743 officers admitted their guilt. Through their attorneys and in front of U.S. District Court Judge Kennelly they submitted a motion that admitted that they sent Teamster ballots in their own election to the bosses. And guess what, the bosses voted.

“You bet they voted,” said Larry Jones a certified nurses aid at Frankfort Terrace Nursing Home, “Our boss knows sellout union officials when he sees them; that’s why the union sent them the ballots in the first place.” To compound their crime, when they were caught, they destroyed the evidence.

Federal law requires unions to keep election records for one year after the election, but according to what Local 743 submitted to the judge, “Thaddeus Bania, controller of Local 743, shredded the eligibility list used during the December 2004 election.”

Why did Local 743 finally admit their crimes? To avoid further embarrassment and harsher punishment. Local 743 President Walston and his executive board, including Reggie Ford and Richard Lopez, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Local 743 treasury to delay a trial that would prove their guilt. When Judge Kennelly set a trial date for August 27, 2007, the Local went running to the U.S. Department of Labor looking for a settlement.

The Department of Labor insisted that Local 743 admit guilt in misdirecting ballots in the 2004 election. Because they stole the election from Local 743 members and the 743 New Leadership Slate (NLS), the Department of Labor will nullify the 2004 election and supervise a new election this fall.

The local union has long been viewed as corrupt both by its own members and Teamster observers. “It is a shame that they have gotten away with this for so long,” said Adrian Esqivel, a clerical worker at the University of Chicago, “We get paid too little and have to pay too much for health insurance because we have a company union that is in bed with the university.”

The real winner of the 2004 election probably should have been the 743 New Leadership Slate. After having the election stolen from them, they went back to the rank and file. “Where we could, we helped other members of Local 743 file grievances and fight for a better contracts,” said 743 NLS presidential candidate Richard Berg.

Berg said that these efforts were often blocked by union officials. When workers at the University of Chicago drafted 743 New Leadership Slate supporter Joe Sexauer to run for union steward, the union ignored their request for an election, in violation of Local 743 bylaws. “They would rather have no union steward, no representation at all for the workers than someone from the 743 NLS,” said Sexauer, who has filed internal charges against Local 743 President Walston and business agent Thor Hester.

“The workers in this union know what is going on, they know it is time for a change,” said Richard Berg, “That is why we are going to get rid of these corrupt union officers once and for all. We are going to make this a real union, a union where workers are proud to be Teamsters again.”

#ChicagoIL #News #Teamsters #TeamstersLocal743 #NewLeadershipSlate #electionFraud