BNA DLR: Hoffa Picks Hall as New Running Mate

July 28, 2010: International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James Hoffa has named Ken Hall to be his running mate as general secretary-treasurer for the IBT election in 2011, replacing Thomas Keegel, who recently announced he will retire at the end of his term, the union announced July 23.

Hall currently serves as international vice president at-large, the director of the package division, representing more than 250,000 workers at United Parcel Service, and principal officer of IBT Local 175 in Charleston, W.Va., the union said. Hall served as the lead negotiator on the last three national UPS contracts in 1997, 2002, and 2007.

“Ken and I have worked closely together for the past decade to grow and strengthen our great union,” Hoffa said in the statement. “I look forward to building our partnership and continuing our efforts to ensure Teamster[s] members continue to have the best wages, benefits and working conditions throughout North America. Ken is acutely aware of the challenges working people face and will join me as an advocate not only at the bargaining table, but in the halls of Congress and as we take the fight for economic justice directly to Wall Street.”

The union said in a statement that Hall's accomplishments include his role as “architect of the 1997 UPS strike,” which resulted in UPS creating thousands of full-time jobs; his success in securing an early contract with UPS in 2007 protecting members from the impact of the economic collapse of 2008; and his ability to “force UPS to accept card check for employees of UPS Freight,” formerly Overnite Transportation, resulting in 12,000 new members.

“I am honored to join Jim Hoffa in tackling the challenges that our union and workers across our great nation face,” Hall said in a July 23 statement. “Workers need strong Teamsters representation now more than ever. Together with the exceptional group of candidates under the Hoffa-Hall slate we will continue to build on the strong foundation that has been laid over the past decade by Jim Hoffa and Tom Keegel.”

Keegel to Retire at End of Term

Keegel July 15 announced he plans to retire at the end of his term, and will not run for re-election, according to letters Keegel sent to the IBT general executive board and IBT union locals, which were posted on the website of dissident group Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

“With Keegel bowing out of the race, Hoffa has chosen International Vice President Ken Hall to run for the union's number two position on his slate,” TDU said in a statement. “Hall has been behind key decisions that have created rifts in the Hoffa camp and alienated many Teamsters local officers and members.”

According to Keegel's letter to union members, he decided to retire after “long and careful consideration of what is in the best interest of our members, our union, my family, and me personally. The programs and policies that we have put in place at the IBT over the past years will serve our members for decades to come.” Keegel was first elected secretary-treasurer in 1999.

Keegel's Criticism

In Keegel's letter to the executive board, he said IBT, its joint councils and locals are responsible for preserving and protecting the jobs, incomes, benefits, and pensions of the union's members and to meet that responsibility, IBT should be run “by the elected Teamster leaders in whom the members have placed their trust, and not outsiders or any one else.”

“Likewise, our 2011 election campaign should be directed by elected Teamster leaders and not individuals over whom we have no control,” Keegel wrote. “The repeated election rule violations must stop. We can no longer allow our names to be used in this manner. We are responsible for what is done in the name of Teamsters, and we must take charge of that responsibility.”

Keegel declined to comment July 27.

TDU said in a July 22 statement, “Keegel says the IBT should be run by elected leaders, and not appointed outsiders. The criticism of Hoffa—that he surrounds himself with appointees and has not been accountable to local leaders—has been raised by other top officers for some time.”

Fred Gegare, the only other declared candidate for general president, told BNA July 27 that Hoffa does not understand what the local leaders and general executive board go through because “he never came up through the ranks.”

“He is surrounding himself with non-elected leaders,” said Gegare, who is the union chairman of the Central States Pension Fund, an international vice president, the head of IBT's dairy division, the head of the food processing division, and the president of Wisconsin Joint Council 39. “Hoffa doesn't listen to his executive board. He's trying to run the [international] union from the top, down.”

Gegare said one example occurred in March 2009, when “Hoffa went behind Keegel's back” to cash in three non-ERISA Teamsters portfolios, because he was told he would get 4 percent on a money market mutual fund. The funds lost some $14 million, Gegare said.

Nominations for general president, general secretary-treasurer, and all vice president positions will take place at the IBT convention in June 2011 and a mail ballot election will be held in November 2011. The new slate will take office in March 2012, IBT spokeswoman Leigh Strope told BNA July 26.

By Alicia Biggs

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