September 7, 2007: Local 743 President Richard Lopez and other officials have been indicted on charges of rigging their local election. Now reformers are preparing to run and win this fall.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago announced today that four Local 743 officials were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to steal ballots to rig the 2004 local union election.
The local’s top officials are dropping like flies. President Robert Walston mysteriously resigned two days ago. His replacement, Richard Lopez, has now been indicted along with two business agents, Cassandra Mosley and Mark Jones, and an organizer, David Rodriguez.
“This proves that our New Leadership Slate won the last election. We intend to win again this fall,” said reform presidential candidate Richard Berg. “We’re going to see this through to the end until all Local 743 members have the representation they deserve.”
The New Leadership Slate will nominate a full slate to run for office on Monday, Sept. 10.
The defendants are charged with trying to steal not one, but two local union elections, held just a few months apart. The indictment charge officials with diverting hundreds of mailed ballots to friends and relatives and then casting the ballots for their “Unity Slate.”
Local 743 officials stopped the balloting in the first rigged election with the New Leadership Slate ahead in the vote count. The ballot box was sufficiently stuffed in the second election to keep the incumbents in office.
Soon, these officials may be out of office and in jail.
The future is considerably brighter for the 12,000 working Teamsters of Local 743. The future is in their hands. With the Department of Labor supervising their local election and a strong reform slate in place to run, Local 743 members have the chance to take back their union.