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American Shipper

Ex-Teamsters boss Carey dies

Ex-Teamsters boss Carey dies

Former union boss Ron Carey, who assumed the International Brotherhood of Teamsters presidency in 1992 promising to purge the union of mob influence only to be ousted in 1997 amid a financial scandal, died Thursday. He was 72.

   Carey joined the Teamsters in 1956 working as a driver for United Parcel Service, becoming a New York Teamsters local president by 1967.

   The 1989 settlement of a federal lawsuit into mob corruption within the Teamsters provided the government greater oversight of the union's activities. One provision of the settlement provided that top union officials be elected directly by the Teamsters' rank and file members. Carey, running on a platform of cleaning up the union's tarnished image, was elected president in 1992. He immediately slashed his own salary, eliminated executive perks and purged dozens of mob-tainted union officials. However, federal officials at the time called Carey's initial clean-up moves 'half-hearted.'

   During his tenure, Carey secured one of the union's most successful contract victories. Carey led a strike of 185,000 union members at UPS in August 1997. The two-week strike wound up costing the parcel carrier more than $750 million and swelled the union rolls with more than 10,000 new members from UPS.

   In 1996, Carey won re-election as president over James Hoffa Jr., but the results of the election were eventually overturned amid allegations that Carey had illegally used nearly $900,000 in union funds for his campaign.

   Carey, forced from his union office in 1997, was subsequently charged by federal prosecutors with perjury and making false statements to federal investigators about the campaign scandal. A federal jury eventually acquitted Carey in 2001.

   Hoffa, son of former union president boss Jimmy Hoffa, went on to win a new Teamsters presidential election in 1998. Hoffa remains president of the Teamsters, which represents more than 1.4 million members.

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