By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
April 6, 1998
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a group
of Teamsters that long supported Ron Carey, the union's president,
announce Wednesday that it was backing Ken Hall, head of the union's
small-package division, in the upcoming election for the union's
With this move, the forces that backed Carey
have largely coalesced around Hall, a 41-year-old West Virginian,
who asserts that he will be the reform candidate against James
Hoffa, son of the former president of the International Brotherhood
Many Carey supporters are turning to Hall
after Carey, who is on leave from the presidency, was barred from
running for re-election when a federal monitor found that he had
conspired to siphon union money into his re-election campaign
Hall, who once worked as an oil field repairman,
gained prominence last August when he and Carey were the union's
chief negotiators when 185,000 Teamsters went on strike against
the United Parcel Service. Hall is widely viewed as a skilled
negotiator, with a mind for details, but without Carey's flair.
His supporters say they hope he will develop more political panache
as he campaigns.
Hall's backers say he has several built-in
advantages to challenge Hoffa: Hall is well-known in the 220,000-member
small-package division, which includes UPS, and a higher percentage
of that division's members vote than is the case in other Teamster
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, which has
long led the anti-corruption fight in the Teamsters, threw its
support behind Hall after several top Carey aides endorsed Hall.
Many of them are believed to have had Carey's permission.
Several leaders of Teamsters for a Democratic
Union had supported Tom Leedham, director of the union's warehouse
But Ken Paff, national coordinator of Teamsters
for a Democratic Union, said it was time to rally behind one candidate.
"Our No. 1 preference was to get the team to unite with a
reform leader and to move ahead," Paff said.
The group says it has 10,000 members in a
union that has 1.4 million members.
Hoffa's campaign manager, Thomas Pazzi, noted
that not all Carey supporters had rallied behind Hall. Pazzi said
three prominent former Carey supporters who head big locals in
California, Pennsylvania and Texas had endorsed Hoffa.
Pazzi faulted Hall as being closely linked
to Carey and said, "No honest Teamster should want to reward
this unholy alliance's effort to keep itself in power after being
Pazzi said Hoffa remained the odds-on favorite
Michael Cherkasky, the court-appointed monitor
who is supervising the election, is expected to issue a decision
next week after investigating charges brought by the Carey camp
that Hoffa committed campaign-finance violations. Carey supporters
have said Hoffa should be disqualified, but Hoffa has denied any
improper campaign fund-raising.
Cherkasky has proposed an election timetable in which nominating ballots would go out on May 1 and new slates must be formed by May 29. Under his plan, balloting would begin on July 27 and counting would start on Aug. 25. His plan is not yet official because the federal judge who oversees the Teamsters has not approved it.
Copyright 1998 The New York Times