The debate will be overseen by the independent Election Supervisor, and will be recorded and distributed (presumably on DVDs) to Teamster members. We are hopeful that it will be mailed to all members, by far the most effective way to reach members and encourage more Teamsters to vote.
TDU attorney Barbara Harvey put forward the proposal to amend the rules, and argued for it at a hearing before Judge Loretta Preska, who then directed the U.S. Attorney and the IBT to negotiate the terms of a debate.
There is one weak point in the proposed final debate rule which TDU is working to change: a candidate for General President can send his Secretary Treasurer running mate as a stand-in. TDU made a submission to Judge Preska asking that this single part be changed, so that members can see the actual candidates, and not a stand-in. A final decision is expected soon.
Hoffa’s attorneys pushed for the stand-in clause. In 2001, Hoffa waited until the last minute to chicken out of his scheduled debate with Tom Leedham. This time, he’s got attorneys working on an escape route a year in advance!
Teamster members deserve to have a real debate between the candidates, to help make an informed decision on the future of our union. Fortunately, we have TDU to make it happen.
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