Keegel Distances Himself from Hoffa

July 22, 2010: Tom Keegel, IBT Secretary Treasurer, has issued a letter in which he criticizes the direction of the IBT under James Hoffa, and announces that he will not run for reelection.

As a result of Keegel’s defection, Hoffa has taken down his campaign website, and has substituted Ken Hall to be his running-mate for the 2011 International Union election.

Read Keegel’s letter to the General Executive Board. (Keegel also sent an official letter to local unions, available here.)

The letter states that “continuing down the same road as the IBT has traveled for the last few years will not lead us out of our present difficulties or help us avoid the problems yet to come.” While respectful in tone, Keegel also indicates that he will have more to say on the union’s problems, and “that time will come soon enough.”

Keegel says the IBT should be run by elected leaders, and not appointed outsiders. This criticism of Hoffa—that he surrounds himself with appointees and has been unaccountable to local leaders—has been raised by other top officers for some time.

Keegel also takes the Hoffa campaign to task for being run by those same outsiders, and says that “the repeated election violations must stop. We can no longer allow our names to be used in this manner.” The Hoffa campaign was recently found to have violated the election rules by pasting a signature of International Trustee Henry Perry on an endorsement, when in fact Perry does not support the Hoffa slate.

We contacted the Hoffa campaign to ask for a response, and what they intend to do with the thousands of Hoffa-Keegel Slate Accreditation Petitions that local union officials have circulated, but they declined to answer. Those petitions may well be headed for the recycle bin.

Ken Hall to Run for Secretary Treasurer

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.

Hall, as the Parcel (UPS) Division Director, has been behind key decisions that have created rifts in the Hoffa camp and alienated many Teamster local officers and members.

In late 2007, Hoffa and Hall signed a contract allowing UPS to pull all its participants from the Central States Pension Fund, leaving that fund greatly weakened, and putting UPS Teamsters into a company fund with benefits far below most Teamster plans.

The contract also completely eliminated the clause forcing the company to create 10,000 additional full time jobs.

These contract concessions were made as part of a deal with UPS to gain union recognition for UPS Freight employees. However, those employees were not put under the national master freight contract or into Teamster benefit funds.

All Teamsters to Vote

Nominations for General President, General Secretary Treasurer and all Vice President positions will be held at the IBT Convention in late June 2011, and the mail ballot election of all 1.3 million Teamsters will be in November 2011.

Fred Gegare is at present the only other declared candidate for General President. He is also circulating accreditation petitions, along with three running mates for vice president positions.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), the reform movement which previously backed the campaigns of Tom Leedham and Ron Carey has not yet put forward or endorsed a candidate.

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