Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Jul 6 09:10:50 PDT 1998

[a bounced forward from Michael E]

Date: Sun, 5 Jul 1998 22:52:19 -0700 (PDT) Message-Id: < at> X-Sender: meisenscher at X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Pro Version 2.2 (16) Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" To: (Recipient list suppressed) From: jhess at (John Hess) (by way of Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher at>) Subject: Teamster Election

Dear Friends, I am going to ask you for money at the end of this essay, which will explain why am going to ask you for your support.

As many of you know, my wife, Gail Sullivan, has for longer than I have known her been involved in the effort to reform the Teamsters Union. (And thus, so have I.) She was a founding member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union back in the 1970s, was an elected Business Agent in the 1980s, has worked for several reform locals before ending up in the Teamster HQ in Washington, DC, last year. Through the efforts of TDU and many other reform minded Teamsters, and the government's intervention in the union in the late 1980s, the first secret ballot elections were held in 1991. These were won by the reform candidate, Ron Carey. In the fall of 1996, in a very close election, Carey barely defeated Jimmy Hoffa, who is the front man for the old guard Teamsters who Carey and the rank and file threw out in 1991. Very unfortunately, the government appointees supervising that election found irregularities in Carey's campaign. Supposedly progressive consultants tried to swap Teamster contributions to several progressive organizations in exchange for that organization arranging contributions from their supporters to Carey's campaign. The main beneficiary of this scheme were the consultants themselves, one of whom ran a mailing company that would do a mailing with the money they raised in this way.

Because of these irregularities, the Election Officer nullified the election and in subsequent hearings into the matter, barred Carey from being a candidate in the rerun election. After much fussing around, which I will spare you, the reform forces in the union have nominated Tom Leedham, a Portland, Oregon Teamster leader, to head the ticket. Needless to say, this must now be considered a long shot; some say Junior Hoffa and his buddies have begun to pop champaign corks. A victory for Junior Hoffa and his friends will severely undermine the progress that the labor movement has made in the last few years. Carey, for example, played a major role in the election of John Sweeney to head the AFL-CIO.

According the election rules, only Teamster members and their families may give directly to the campaign. But other supporters, who are not employers, can give to the Tom Leedham Legal and Accounting Fund, which will be used to fight off the anticipated Hoffa legal challenges to nearly everything (he is a lawyer; he has never been a working Teamster) and to comply with the very intricate reporting rules for the fund-raising part of the campaign. This frees up campaign funds for the real work of the campaign.

Therefore, I am asking all my friends to send a check made out to the "Tom Leedham Legal and Accounting Fund" and send their check to me so Gail and I can hand it in. The Election rules stipulate that we must have the name of your employer and your occupation in addition to your name and full address. (Hoffa had to return more than $150,000 of employer contributions from the last campaign!) We will be very grateful for your generous contribution of $50, $100 or more to this very important struggle for on-going reform in the labor movement. Thanks and best regards, John

John Hess, Co-Editor Jump Cut, A Review of Contemporary Media 405 E Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002 (202) 544-2798/F: 202-544-5076 email: jhess at

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