RON CAREY DISQUALIFIED
November 17, 1997
After leading his Teamsters Union in a successful strike against UPS, Ron Carey was viewed as a prominent leader of a resurgent labor movement. Now, a court-appointed official has tied Mr. Carey to an illegal diversion of union funds and has barred Mr. Carey from running for re-election. After a background report, Phil Ponce leads a discussion of today's decision.
PHIL PONCE: Last January Teamster President Ron Carey was officially named the winner in a narrow re-election over challenger James Hoffa, son of the legendary Teamster leader. But in August the election results were set aside by a federal monitor because of an alleged illegal fund-raising scheme. Then in September a top Carey aide and two consultants pleaded guilty to conspiring to raise illegal funds. And today another federally-appointed monitor disqualified Carey, himself, from running again, finding that he too had been involved in the illegal fund-raising scheme. Here with more is Michael Belzer, who currently specializes in industrial and labor management relations at the University of Michigan and is himself a former Teamster, and Don Gonyea, who has been covering this story for National Public Radio. Gentlemen, welcome. And Don Gonyea, what did the court-appointed monitor conclude that Ron Carey had actually done?
A RealAudio version of this segment is available.
August 22, 1997
Ron Carey's re-election as president of the union is voided.
August 22, 1997
Shields & Gigot discuss the implications of Ms. Quindel's decision.
August 20, 1997
A look at the future impact on labor/management relations.
August 19, 1997
Paul Solman discusses the UPS/Teamsters agreement.
August 4, 1997
An interview with Ron Carey on the UPS/Teamsters debate.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of business.
Judge Conboy's decision to bar Mr. Carey from running for re-election.
Mr. Carey tied to scheme to divert union money to his campaign.
DON GONYEA, National Public Radio: This gets to those charges that led to the nullification of the results that you referred to--you know, the results that came in January of this year, and when the election was thrown out, the election officer at the time said that there was no evidence that Ron Carey, himself, knew anything about any of this or was involved in any wrongdoing, the theory being that there was this rogue operation within the Carey camp that had done all of this on its own. But the election officer in subsequent months said that there is some new information that we must look at to see if Ron Carey perhaps was more involved than initially suspected. In the interim we had a new election officer. It all gets very complicated, but Kenneth Comboy, a former federal judge, has reviewing this for several months now, and he says that Ron Carey did, indeed, have some involvement and certainly awareness of the improper use of hundreds of thousands, as much as $735,000, in general Teamsters treasury money, money that was used to kind of leverage donations from outside groups or money that was actually laundered through outside organizations and came back into his campaign. Judge Comboy said Carey knew about it, Carey had some involvement in it, and he said these are egregious violations of the election rules, and he has no choice but to disqualify Ron Carey from running in the re-running of this election.
PHIL PONCE: And Don Gonyea, who else is implicated in this report?
DON GONYEA: Well, you know, there are three people who have already pleaded guilty to -- Carey's supporters, people who had contributed funds, one who had done some consulting work and his campaign manager, they are all mentioned in this report, but the report goes on to say that there were ties between Carey and his supporters and other officials and other unions, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, official of the Service Employees International Union, and that there were even some contacts made with AFSCME, and that these contacts were all part of a scheme that was never actually carried out to have those other unions and those other labor organizations figure out ways to get money into the Carey campaign, which would also be a violation of labor law and the election rules. And there will certainly be more investigation along those lines as the subsequent months roll on here.
A deathblow for Teamster reform?
PHIL PONCE: Michael Belzer, how big of a blow is this to the reform movement in the Teamsters?
MICHAEL BELZER, University of Michigan: Well, I think it certainly is an unwelcome sort of setback. But I think that the reform movement consists of rank and file members around the country who have been fighting for democratic rights in the union and for a stronger union and so forth for several years and they'll be around. In fact, very recently, I just today got notice that there was an election, Local 2000, of the Northwest flight attendants, which has 10,000 members, and 70 percent of them voted. And the pro-reform group won by 75 percent to 25 percent. And that would strongly send a message, I think, that the reform movement exists independent of these charges.
PHIL PONCE: And yet Ron Carey had taken personal credit for some reform steps within the Teamsters Union. What kinds of things had he been taking credit for?
MICHAEL BELZER: Well, there's no question that he's responsible for opening up the union and getting rid of a certain number of crooks. That's partly the job of the indep