Observing Vote Count an Honor
I went to Washington to be an observer of the vote count. When I got to the vote count, I walked out into this big open room, filled with tables, chairs, mail bins and lots of noise: people talking, mail bins being moved, votes being counted by the counter. This was really exciting. I was assigned to Remarks and Remakes. Here, ballots that could not be read were either remarked or entirely remade. Standing or sitting there observing for an hour or two was quite demanding.
I am very proud to meet, talk with and spend time working toward the election of Tom Leedham and Sandy Pope. It’s an experience that I will never forget. I thank Tom and Sandy for running a campaign of which I feel they should be very proud. I congratulate Hoffa on his win and hope that he will work toward building a better Teamsters Union for supporters and non-supporters because we are all Teamsters.
Local 743, Central States Office
Corruption in Rail?
The TDU reported discovering evidence that President Don Hahs has been using BLET union funds to pay personal financial obligations. A TDU source further stated that the evidence of Mr. Hahs misuse of funds had been turned over to the appropriate authorities. TDU also called on Jimmy Hoffa to investigate, but I doubt that he will do anything about it.
In another incident not too long ago, two successive presidents of the United Transportation Union (UTU) found themselves in hot water over illegal solicitation of funds (extortion) and what amounted to a form of blackmail. Their cases were prosecuted by Federal authorities because the UTU is an interstate organization. Both men were found guilty and are currently serving time as guests of the Federal Government.
The BLET, like the UTU, is an interstate organization as well. Our country’s laws state that one is innocent until proven guilty and I fully agree. Therefore, it is my sincere wish that there be a full investigation of Mr. Hahs’ activities. And then, IF SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND GUILTY of a crime, Mr. Hahs and any other involved BLET official will be required to join their UTU counterparts in closed government quarters.
BLET Div. 483, Retired
Who Will Change Our Union?
I have read the articles in Convoy Dispatch at work. I would like to think there is a union out there that embodies the ideas that are talked about in your paper.
I have been a Teamster for 15 years, and the union has gotten weaker during that time. What the older guys say about what a union used to do, and how everyone worked together—that is non-existent! I am one of those guys that is old school, willing to sacrifice now for the future, the way the union was when it was first established. Now everyone just thinks about themselves—not about the strength we could have together.
I don’t know how to solve all the problems that plague our union. I have talked to our union officials, but nothing is being done. No one wants to take an initiative to start change! Our senior steward just retired 10 months ago. He asked me personally to become a steward, but with much deliberation, I had to refuse. I am not one to sit by idle and not represent a union member, but there isn’t any way to be a steward and not get frustrated to death!
I could go on and on and on, but the question is: where do we start? Who do we get to organize reform? How do we show UPS we won’t be walked on?
Local 317, UPS
Editor's Note: Many Teamsters feel hopeless: 79 percent didn't vote in the recent IBT election and many choose not to get involved. But with corporations on the warpath, TDU believes defeatism is not an option. We believe change is possible. Together we are powerful.
In the last issue of Convoy, Larry Macdonald was incorrectly identified as employed by Roadway. Brother Macdonald was a mechanic at Yellow, and currently serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 728 in Atlanta.