Big Labor Fears Teamsters Fallout

The labor movement was stunned when Teamsters President Ron Carey was charged by a federally appointed board with winning an election tainted by irregularities and barred from the re-run contest.

But the fallout from the Teamsters election scandal has barely begun.

A federal grand jury probe into the affair is continuing, and charges are expected to spread beyond the Teamsters into the AFL-CIO and political organizations allied with labor.

Members of the AFL-CIO executive council are increasingly concerned about Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka’s alleged role in a scheme to launder money for Carey’s re-election.

Labor leaders fear that the charges aimed at Trumka, who has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, are overshadowing efforts to revitalize labor and clean up its image.

A handful of influential union presidents voiced their concerns directly to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in recent weeks, urging him to take steps to remove the federation from the controversy - even if that meant Trumka taking a leave of absence.

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