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01_Latest News - January 2010

January 12, 2010
Teamsters Local 743 president ousted by union council
By: Mike Colias and Paul Merrion

(Crain’s) — The president of Chicago-based Teamsters Local 743, one of the largest Teamsters chapters in the country, has been removed for allegedly violating union rules.

Richard Berg was ousted Monday from Local 743, which represents 11,000 workers at Chicago-area nursing homes and hospitals, including University of Chicago Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, as well as at warehouses and manufacturing plants.

Local 743’s executive board accused Mr. Berg of firing an employee in January 2009 and authorizing a $20,000 severance agreement without the board’s consent. Officials at the Chicago-based umbrella organization that governs the local, Teamsters Joint Council 25, sided with the board on Monday, effectively booting Mr. Berg from office.

“He circumvented the executive board’s authority,” a spokesman for Teamsters Joint Council 25 said.

Mr. Berg contends he notified the board beforehand and was told he had the authority to move forward. He claims the charges were an attempt to get him off the ballot for a union election this fall.

“Members of Local 743 have been fighting for a fair election and to be able to select their officers for over 10 years,” Mr. Berg said. “This is a major injustice to remove the leadership of this union on a technicality.”

In August, three former officials of Local 743 were sentenced to jail time for rigging union elections in 2004. Mr. Berg was elected on a reform platform.



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