The Teamster Scandal Of Th 1990S Essay

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The Teamster Scandal Of Th 1990S Essay, Research Paper Introduction The contest for leadership of the Teamsters reflects a deep struggle over fundamental principles. The union today is a battleground between reformers committed to union democracy and workers’ power in the workplace, and a small group of officials defending their own power and the perks of office. Two models of unionism – really two models of society and politics – contend for the hearts and minds of the Teamster members. This is a struggle for the soul of the union. They were once called the New Teamsters but the reform administration of former president Ron Carey has shattered into pieces since Carey stepped down because of corruption charges last year. Three rival factions in the union – sometimes

called the Old Guard, the Reformers and the Traditionalists – contend for power. Each has a presidential candidate running for office, respectively: Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., Tom Leedham, and John Metz. The national union leadership and staff have become deeply divided. The tragedy of all of this is that with the election of Ron Carey in 1991 it seemed as if the huge union so long dominated by organized crime had finally turned the corner. Six years later the promise of reform seemed fulfilled when Carey led 185,000 Teamsters in a strike against United Parcel Service (UPS), the powerful package delivery company. With months of careful preparation and rank-and-file organization, the Teamsters succeeded in keeping full-time and part-time workers united. In August 1997, after a solid

strike that got the support of two-thirds of the American people, the union won against UPS on such issues as creating more full-time jobs and stopping the trend toward contracting out. Although UPS is now trying to renege on hiring more full-timers, the victory represents not just Carey’s accomplishments, but the gradual transformation of the union over some twenty years, largely through the efforts of the reform group Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). Over two decades a quiet revolution in the Teamsters had brought about new levels of membership involvement, the reform of local bylaws, and the election of new leaders in many local unions. The UPS strike gave expression to those changes, the result of long years of struggle which had created a more democratic and

militant union. But only three months later Carey resigned after charges by the Federally appointed Independent Review Board (IRB) that he had failed to prevent the misuse of over $700,000 from the union’s treasury. Carey’s campaign advisors Martin Davis and Jere Nash, and their associate Michael Ansara, all pleaded guilty to having embezzled and laundered union funds to benefit the Carey campaign and their own businesses. Carey claimed he never knew about the misappropriation. Some Questions Being Asked Question: What’s behind the controversy? Answer: A complex, and illegal, fund-raising scheme engineered by the campaign organization that backed Carey’s bid for reelection in 1996 to a second five-year term as Teamsters president. Three Carey associates have pleaded

guilty to the conspiracy. It also prompted election monitors to void Carey’s narrow victory over Hoffa last year and set up the rerun election. Conboy stated that Carey willingly participated in the effort, despite the union leader’s claims he was left in the dark. Conboy reported that Carey authorized the diversion of $735,000 of Teamster treasury funds to his reelection campaign. Q: How is the controversy affecting the Teamsters’ anti-corruption efforts? A: Although the turmoil won’t help matters, optimists say there is no turning back on the reform process. They theorize that many more members have become active in the union and participated in corruption-busting union democracy, making it unlikely that the Teamsters will backslide substantially. Although Carey and