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Teamsters Plan for the Future

November 4, 2004: Hundreds of Teamsters attended the 29th annual TDU Convention in Cleveland last month to chart the course of the reform movement for the coming year. Speakers blasted James Hoffa for the decline of Teamster power on his watch. TDU members have their eye on the 2006 IBT election, but our convention voted to put the focus for the coming year on strengthening our movement at the grassroots—to build at the bottom so...

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Court Finds Hoffa Trusteeship Legal

November 4, 2004: On Nov. 9 federal judge Kathleen O’Malley issued a temporary restraining order against James Hoffa’s trusteeship of Cleveland Local 293. Hoffa’s trustee was sent packing and the 1,700 members of Local 293 got their local back, with the elected officers back in office. Hoffa placed the local into trusteeship on Sept. 20, alleging serious problems including that Local 293 had undermined a strike by Local 348 against a beer distributor. Members, including...

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Review Board Charges Chicago Power Broker

November 4, 2004: The Independent Review Board (IRB) on Oct. 14 charged Joseph Bernstein with associating with Billy Hogan, who was banned from the Teamsters in May 2002. Bernstein, the president of Chicago Local 781 and vice president of Joint Council 25, faces a hearing and likely removal from our union as well as the loss of his $218,441 salary. Bernstein admitted under oath to having at least three meetings with Hogan, one of which...

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Teamsters Find Pensions at Risk

November 15, 2004: In the 1960's and 1970's, the Teamsters' huge Central States pension fund was a wellspring of union corruption. Tens of millions of dollars were loaned to racketeers who used the money to gain control of Las Vegas casinos. Administrative jobs were awarded to favored insiders who paid themselves big fees. A former Teamster president and pension trustee was convicted of trying to bribe a United States senator. Yet for nearly half a...

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Election Won—Again—in Local 639

November 4, 2004: For the second time in a year the Members United Slate has been elected the officers of Washington, D.C., Local 639. Their election victory on October 27 put an end to one of Hoffa’s more desperate attempts to undermine a local union election. Members United won their first election last fall, beating out IBT Trustee John Steger and his Concerned Members slate. While Local 639 members got on with the job of...

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Local Officials Order Election Rerun—During the Vote Count!

November 4, 2004: When the votes were counted on October 16 in 12,000-member Chicago Local 743, TDUer Richard Berg of the New Leadership Slate had upset incumbent President Robert Walston by seven votes. There were 188 unresolved challenged ballots, but many of them came from workers at Silver Capital, a shop that was solidly behind New Leadership, so the outcome looked clear. On October 18, the day before the challenges were to be resolved, local...

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What's In Store for Teamsters After UPS Purchase of Menlo?

November 4, 2004: I am a long-time Menlo/Emery Teamster, and on first hearing of the UPS purchase of our company I thought about the potential positive aspects. The prospect of UPS management possibly being able to make the company grow is reason for celebration. But on reflection, what will the relationship be? On one hand, some of the hard times experienced by Menlo Teamsters could actually be an opportunity for the IBT. Many locations, including...

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Living Under PSA: Strategies for Protecting Jobs and Health

November 4, 2004: At the recent TDU Convention, UPS Teamsters met to discuss contract enforcement and survival strategies. In the coming months we will report on some ideas that came out of the meeting. With the PAS/Smart Label system being put in place, UPS package car drivers are contending with several changes. Routes are being changed and stop counts are up. At the same time, the risk of injury is on the rise. Now more...

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Pension Action Plan for 2005

November 4, 2004: At the TDU Convention in October, pension activists in the Central States Fund discussed strategies for building the movement to win pension justice. Leaders and activists targeted initial goals for 2005: An Independent Actuarial Study Winning access to the Fund’s financial documents may make it possible to complete an independent study of the Central States Fund. We won an important victory on this front on October 21 (see story page 7) and...

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Legal Victory for Pension Movement

November 4, 2004: Round one in the fight to get the truth about the benefit cuts in the Central States Pension Fund goes to working and retired Teamsters. On October 21, federal judge James Moran ordered that the quarterly reports from the fund’s Special Counsel, including actuarial reports, be opened up to members. The decision came in response to legal action filed in July by Teamsters Tommy Burke of North Carolina Local 391, Mike Brady...

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