October 22, 2007: The 12,000 Teamsters in Chicago Local 743 have reason to feel proud, with the victory of the New Leadership Slate in today's election. Long suffering under old guard leadership that overpaid themselves and underrepresented their members, Local 743 members can start the hard work of building a strong, democratic union.
"The members did it!" exclaimed Richard Berg, the president-elect. "We got a fair election, fought hard against their money and lies, and narrowly won it for the members."
The election itself was a victory. It was supervised by the U.S. Department of Labor, after the incumbents stuffed the ballot box with hundreds of bogus votes three years ago. Four of them were indicted in August for that theft of the members' right to vote, after New Leadership and their attorney, Tom Geoghegan, exposed the corruption.
The victory belongs to the members, who work hard in hospitals, offices, factories and nursing homes. New Leadership built a diverse coalition of leaders and activists, uniting Teamsters across lines of race and language, to build solidarity.
The incumbents tried every trick in the book to stay in office. They put out literature in Spanish that Richard Berg had caused the government to raid shops looking for immigrants, that Berg is a Republican, and every other lie that they and Hoffa's PR man Richard Leebove could dream up.
Fortunately, just enough Teamsters voted their hopes for a union that's about the members.
Teamsters attending the TDU Convention on November 2-4 in Chicago will get a chance to meet the New Leadership Slate.