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Teamster 743 Winner Richard Berg Returns to University of Chicago Hospitals

By staff

Chicago, IL – The University of Chicago Hospital employed Richard Berg as a housekeeper for 16 years. In 2004, they fired him at the request of Bob Walston, the criminal that was principal officer in Teamsters Local 743, Berg’s union. Berg had led the New Leadership Slate (NLS) that had twice won in local elections that year, but each time had been denied their elective offices by the massive theft of votes by Walston’s gang. The gangsters decided to eliminate the challenge once and for all: if Berg didn’t work in a Local 743 shop, he couldn’t be a member of the union and could never run for office again.

This almost worked. Berg was fortunate to be hired into another Local 743 shop in the spring of 2007, just in time to become eligible to run for president in an election supervised by the Department of Labor in the fall. The NLS had proven that the 2004 elections had been stolen and with the Department of Labor running the 2007 election, was finally able to restrict the wholesale theft of votes.

In February, Berg returned to his co-workers in the Environmental Services department at the hospital. Over two meetings with 120 in attendance that day, they welcomed him back with embraces and cries of, “Richard, the hero!”

Fight Continued at UIC Even After Firing

“When the hospital fired me in 2004, they thought that they had won the fight with the workers here. They didn’t realize that when you knock one fighting worker down, another will rise to continue the struggle,” said Berg.

This was shown to be true, as workers on the campus side of the university had twice voted down a sell-out contract this past fall. This contract was the last act of the old guard in Local 743. By resisting this way, the workers had managed to win another half percent raise in the wage offering. The old guard business agent, Thor Hester, had manipulated the bargaining committee into recommending acceptance of the package. How foolish he looked after the members rebelled against them and won tens of thousands of dollars more from management through a militant fight back.

“We’ve never had representatives that wanted us to speak out and stand up to management. What progress we’ve made has been despite the union leadership,” said one supportive member.

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