Chicago Local in Turmoil over Officer Elections

Dissident members of a Chicago Teamsters union have charged the hierarchy with subverting the victory of their candidate for president in elections conducted Oct. 17, amid allegations of corruption linked with mob influence, kick-backs, and underhanded job-shifting schemes against the current hierarchy, led by Robert Walston.  Local 743 represents more than 12,000 health care, manufacturing, insurance and university workers in the Chicago area.


An opposition slate led by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) activist Richard Berg was ahead in the ballot count 788 to 781.  About 200 ballots — most from a shop that supported Berg — remained to be counted when those votes were challenged.  Local 743 bosses initially said that they would recognize the votes that had been challenged, but after checking the current tally changed their minds and decided to hold a new election entirely. 


Local 743 attorney Bill Widmer said Berg himself asked for the election to be voided because voters had supposedly been disenfranchised.  But Berg said the union dismissed numerous other protests he had filed, then decided to grant one and order a new election when his win looked likely. [Chicago Maroon, 10/28/04: Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/22/04]