Teamsters gird to pay for '98 vote $7.5 million rerun could mean an increase in dues

December 20, 1997|By BOSTON GLOBE

The long-troubled International Brotherhood of Teamsters vowed yesterday that a $7.5 million rerun of an invalidated election would be held in 1998 -- even if the union must pay the bill itself.

"If the order holds up, the union will figure out a way to comply, and it will come up with whatever funds it needs to run the election," Teamsters spokesman Steve Trossman said. "We have million dues-paying members, and we will do what we can to make sure that they have a federally supervised election."

On Thursday, allegations of campaign finance abuses by Teamsters President Ron Carey and three key aides prompted a federal judge to order the union to clean up what the court described as an "election mess," and pay for the rerun of the mail ballot election that placed Carey in a second presidential term last year.

Trossman said the union is considering an appeal, but he declined to discuss specifically how it plans to pay for a 1998 election.

In the first six months of this year, the union's net assets dropped by about $4.9 million due to a strike against United Parcel Service of America, and the costs of the union's 1996 election.

The government, which paid $17.5 million to supervise that election, has estimated the cost of a rerun to be $7.5 million. Of that, about $1.4 million in fines collected from Carey aides who have admitted to participating in a series of illegal fund-raising schemes will be applied to the rerun election.

Specialists said the union could avail itself of several options if the court order stands, ranging from an increase in dues to a steep reduction in programs.

Another option: A loan from other, more financially secure, unions. This option was discussed during the Teamsters/UPS strike, when the AFL-CIO pledged to help the striking Teamsters by rounding up loan pledges from other unions. But this option could also result in some problems since Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, has been linked to charges of improper fund-raising for Carey's 1996 campaign.

"That could cloud the prospect of the AFL-CIO serving as a fund-raising tool for the Teamsters," said a labor specialist who asked that his name not be used. "But my guess is that the AFL-CIO, which has considerable clout within the labor movement, could be instrumental in helping to raise any funds the Teamsters might need."

Pub Date: 12/20/97

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