Washington Local Put in Trusteeship

Days after Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 556 ended a month-long strike at the IBP processing plant in Pasco, Wash., the IBT boss James P. Hoffa announced Jul. 12 that it has placed the local under a temporary trusteeship. The trusteeship was imposed at the request of the local union’s executive board, according to IBT spokesman Chip Roth. He said the strike was very “divisive” and the local’s bosses didn’t feel they could “adequately police and enforce the new agreement.” Roth added that when the strike ended about 400 workers had crossed the picket lines and the atmosphere between those workers who had not gone back to work and those who had was “emotionally charged.” Contending that the employer was aware of the charged atmosphere and could possibly take advantage of the situation, Roth alleged that the international placed an “emergency” trusteeship on the local to “protect the interests of the members.” Hoffa appointed Allen Hobart, secretary-treasurer of Local 760 in Yakima, Wash., as temporary trustee.

A group called the IBP Workers Committee for a Just Contract along with the far-leftist Teamsters for a Democratic Union charged that the trusteeship was imposed to protect unpopular local officials from participating in an election they were sure to lose. According to TDU radical and Hoffa-hater Ken Paff said at the end of the strike that they would run a team of candidates against the current local officers in an election scheduled for Oct. because of the lack
of support for the strike by local bosses and the IBT. “Just days after the strike leaders announced they would run for office, Hoffa imposed this trusteeship to try to delay the election,” Paff claimed. He said TDU will do everything possible to ensure that members’ rights for a democratic election are respected, adding that TDU is looking at various
options. Roth, however, denied that the imposition of the trusteeship was political. Noting that the election for officers is still three months away, Roth said the action is “not political at all. It’s in the interest of our members.” [BNA 7/16/99]