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Chicago Teamster Bosses Steal Election

By staff

Sign says: Walson = Theft

Chicago, IL – They tried to steal the Teamsters Local 743 election and they were caught red handed. Bob Walston, Diane Strickland and the rest of the 743 old guard officers could not win an election on their own, so they resorted to cheating. The election race pitted the rank-and-file New Leadership Slate against the corrupt, mob-tied, old guard.

“Thieves steal, this is a fact of life,” said Richard Berg, the reform candidate for President on the 743 New Leadership Slate, “but the working members of Local 743 will not and cannot let these thieves steal our union from us. Local 743 is our union; it does not belong to the boss, or the mafia, but only to the workers. We will not allow justice, democracy or our dignity to be stolen. We will fight this until the end.”

Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., who heads the International Teamsters, backed the Walston slate and is known as a sell-out.


The stealing of the election was not particularly clever. They hired their own guy, James Dehann, to run the election. Instead of Dehann renting the post office boxes used in the election, he allowed Hoffa slate member Diane Strickland to do it. This gave her 24-hour access to members' ballots.

When 743 New Leadership Slate members surprised Dehann and Hoffa slate members by showing up in big numbers to observe each part of the process, they could not hide their theft. “We found that over 300 returned ballots had disappeared under their watch. Hundreds of extra printed ballots showed up out of nowhere,” said Richard Berg.

On the day of the count, Dehann needed to resort to extraordinary measures to prevent the 743 New Leadership Slate from taking office. For example, he would not allow anyone except himself to challenge questionable votes. The Walston-appointed election officer, in clear violation of the Teamsters constitution, threw out the standard practice of allowing all parties involved to challenge the ballots. When Richard Berg pointed out their misdeeds, Dehann threatened to have him arrested and thrown off union property.

This theft is one a series of thefts committed by the current officers. These same people drove the Local 743 Credit Union to bankruptcy after many questionable loans to their cronies. Under their watch, over $16 million disappeared from the Local 743 Health and Welfare Fund, leaving it insolvent, too.

“Everyone knows their game, they can no longer win a fair election,” said 743 New Leadership Slate member Edwin Soto, “that is why they must resort to these measures.”

Fight Continues

The 743 New Leadership Slate has vowed to fight this latest theft by the Hoffa slate to the end. The 743 New Leadership Slate has filed charges with the Teamsters Joint Council and is preparing to go to the Department of Labor and to the courts. “We know we won this election,” said Debra Simmons, candidate for Secretary Treasurer on the 743 New Leadership Slate, “we will not stop until these corrupt officials have been removed from Local 743.”

The real issue is representation. In all of the 175-plus shops where members of Local 743 work, a contract spells out everything from rates of pay to work rules to grievance procedures and more. “These people haven't negotiated a decent contract since they were appointed,” said Richard Berg, “the members of Local 743 know they are in bed with management and we are sick and tired of it. We won't rest until they are gone.”

During the campaign, the New Leadership Slate outlined a plan to stop the corruption in Local 743, make Local officers more accountable to the members and start spending dues money on the members – instead lining the pockets of a few Hoffa officers.

Union members group photo with raised fists

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