EXCLUSIVE: Pope to Join Zuckerman in Uniting Teamsters Dissidents in Race Against Hoffa

Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman (Al Bradbury)

By Mike Elk

Payday Report has learned that New York City based Teamsters Local 805 leader Sandy Pope has agreed to join the slate of Louisville based Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman. The move is the latest indication that the 75 year old incumbent Teamsters Union President James P. Hoffa is in for the toughest re-election campaign of his career.

In 2011, Pope had previously led the Teamsters for a Democratic Union slate, garnering 17% of the vote. However, she was unable to secure a deal with popular Teamsters leader and former Hoffa Ally Fred Gegare to run as slate. The two candidates winded up splitting the vote and Hoffa was able to easily beat them by receiving 60% of the vote.

Now, Pope has agreed to run as a Vice Presidential candidate with former Hoffa ally Fred Zuckerman on the Teamsters United ticket. Zuckerman, based out of Louisville, has a base of support in the South and more mainstream Teamsters activists, who have grown disillusioned with the Hoffa Administration. Meanwhile, Pope’s support mainly lies in the Northeast and the West Coast among the traditional enemies of the Hoffa Administration in the militant Teamsters for a Democratic Union caucus.

The Hoffa Administration has grown extremely unpopular for pushing a 2014 pension reform bill that could result in major pension cuts for over 270,000 Teamsters. Zuckerman has already obtained the signatures of over 125,000 Teamsters members in order to be on the ballot. Many Teamsters observers in both camps are predicting that this election could be the tightest Teamsters election in a generation.

“We’ve built a broad coalition and a great team to bring new leadership and a new direction to our union,” says Zuckerman. “Hoffa is out of touch with the membership and in bed with the companies. We will rebuild union power and put an end to the corruption-concessions pipeline.”

Zuckerman and Pope are expected to be nominated next week at the Teamsters Convention in Las Vegas.

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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