Teamsters Save Their Right to Vote

January 14, 2015: Teamster members’ Right to Vote will be protected under fair rules and independent supervision under a motion filed in court today on the future of government supervision in the Teamsters Union.

After months of negotiations, the International Union and the US Attorney have agreed on a joint proposal for a transition to a new system for monitoring and investigating internal union corruption and electing International Union officers.

In a victory for Teamster members, the 2016 and 2021 IBT elections will be conducted under the same rules, independent supervision and procedures as the 2011 election. Members’ right to vote under fair rules in supervised elections will be protected.

Last June, the Hoffa administration filed court papers to end the Independent Review Board and fair elections for International Union officers.

TDU and Teamster members launched a national campaign and petition drive to protect members’ Right to Vote for International Union officers in elections governed by fair rules and monitored by an independent election supervisor.

The Settlement Agreement summary filed in court today preserves these rights. The settlement will be reviewed by Judge Loretta Preska and a hearing will be held on February 11.

TDU proposed important improvements to the Election Rules that are included in the proposed agreement, including the right of candidates to a free mailing to the entire Teamster membership one week prior to the mailing of the International Union election ballots.

In the past, only Hoffa and incumbent officers could afford a union-wide mailing. Now the members will get a mailing from all candidates.

General President Hoffa announced that today is a new day for the Teamsters Union, but thanks to Teamster members and TDU, Hoffa cannot go back to the old days when corruption was ignored and members were denied the right to vote for our International Union leaders.

If approved, the settlement agreement will replace the Consent Order with a permanent settlement agreement and permanent injunction that protects important fundamental rights.

Under the agreement:

  • The 2016 and 2021 IBT elections will be conducted under the same rules, independent supervision and procedures as 2011, with the improvement that all candidates will be entitled to a free mailing to the entire membership. 
  • Through 2021 a candidate for International Union office can be nominated by a vote of five percent of Convention delegates. Beginning in 2026, the threshold for nominating candidates can be changed by a vote of the delegates at the Teamster Convention.
  • The Independent Review Board will continue for another year from the date the judge signs the order. Following that, the IRB’s anti-corruption functions will be assumed by an Independent Investigations Officer and Independent Review Officer who are jointly-appointed by the US Attorney and the Union. Five years from now, the IBT will assume the sole authority to appoint these officers.
  • The government will retain the power to enforce the settlement agreement if it shows by a preponderance of evidence the agreement has been violated. The anti-corruption injunctions of the consent order are made permanent.

TDU Counsel Barbara Harvey is reviewing the full 133-page settlement to examine the details.

TDU fought to protect the Right to Vote and we plan to use it.

Click here to be part of the nationwide effort to elect new International Union leadership in 2016.  

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