Q&A on Fred Gegare

September 20, 2011: Why He Can’t Win and Why That’s a Good Thing....

Who is Fred Gegare?

Fred Gegare is an officer from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a long-time Hoffa operative who has served for 13 years as a Vice President in the Hoffa administration.

Gegare is most well known for being the Chair of the Central States Pension Fund while the fund lost billions of dollars, imposed the worst pension cuts in Teamster history, and fell to the brink of insolvency.

Why is Gegare running against Hoffa?

That’s a good question. Gegare is a long-time Hoffa loyalist. As a candidate, he criticizes Hoffa’s handling of the Central States Pension Fund and Hoffa’s concessions to UPS and UPS Freight. But Fred’s rhetoric doesn’t jibe with his record.

Gegare supported every concession negotiated by Hoffa—and said nothing as the head of the Central States when Hoffa let UPS pull out of the fund. In fact, he seconded Hoffa’s nomination in 2006—when the Central States and UPS Freight sellouts were already in the works.

Gegare only came out against Hoffa when it was election time and he saw Hoffa was vulnerable. Then he did a 180 and denounced Hoffa and tried to get a majority of the General Executive Board to break with him. They didn’t.

Which opposition candidate can beat Hoffa?

Gegare can’t win the election. That’s a fact. His base is too small and his record is too weak for him to pose a threat to Hoffa’s reelection.

Gegare’s failed record as head of the Central States Pension Fund hurts him in our union’s largest region. He put together a slate of candidates in some regions. But outside the Central Region, he doesn’t have a campaign network or much support.

In contrast, Sandy Pope has a national, battle-tested campaign network. That’s how she won 100,000 votes in the last election—including half the vote at UPS and in freight. Sandy’s network easily collected more than 50,000 petition signatures nationwide to make her an accredited candidate. Gegare could not muster 30,000 signatures to get accredited.

Gegare’s an International VP. Won’t that help his chances?

This is not the first time International officials have split off and run their own candidate. They lost badly to the reform candidate each time.

In 1991, a group of International VPs launched a campaign based out of the Eastern Region and Chicago. Their presidential candidate, Walter Shea, got just 18 percent of the vote.

In 1998, another group of International officials and Joint Council heads led a split-off slate—much like Gegare’s. Their presidential candidate, John Metz, got just six percent of the vote. Backed by TDU’s nationwide campaign network, Tom Leedham won 40 percent of the vote.

Every Teamster election has shown that challengers need a strong nationwide campaign network and a clear reform record to be successful. Sandy’s got both. Gegare’s got neither.

Why is Hoffa aiming most of his fire at Sandy Pope, and not Gegare?

Because Hoffa’s polls show that Sandy Pope is the only candidate who can beat Hoffa in the election.

Can Sandy win a three-way race? Who will Gegare draw votes from?

If Gegare siphons votes that formerly went to Hoffa, it will make it easier for Sandy to be the next General President.

For example, Brad Slawson heads Minnesota Local 120 and is on the Gegare Slate. In 2006, Hoffa won this local by a two-to-one margin over Leedham and Pope. If this time, those Hoffa votes go to Gegare, then Sandy will clobber Hoffa in that local.

A danger is that Gegare is talking anti-Hoffa, and trying to swipe a slice of the rank and file reform vote. Gegare can’t win, that’s for certain. Who will he help win: James Hoffa or Sandy Pope? That's up to Teamster members.

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