Teamsters regain financial control, attack Mexican trucks

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has reached an agreement with the U.S. government eliminating the Independent Financial Auditor (IFA) that has overseen the union's finances since 1996. The agreement returns financial control to the union. The Teamsters agreed to government oversight of its finances following a 1996 dues-swap scheme that funneled union money to then-union president Ron Carey's

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has reached an agreement with the U.S. government eliminating the Independent Financial Auditor (IFA) that has overseen the union's finances since 1996. The agreement returns financial control to the union.

The Teamsters agreed to government oversight of its finances following a 1996 dues-swap scheme that funneled union money to then-union president Ron Carey's re-election effort. The IFA's review of internal financial practices is set to end on January 27.

"We are very pleased with the progress we have made in cleaning up the union's finances," said general secretary-treasurer Tom Keegel. "The government understands that we have established a strong financial program to protect members' dues. Never again will union leaders be allowed to loot the union's treasury."

With its finances back under its control, the Teamsters are now turning up the heat on Mexican truckers. The Teamsters point to a new report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) that finds Mexican trucks do not meet U.S. truck safety standards, bolstering the union's claims that Mexican trucks should be restricted.

"The Teamsters have consistently said that the problem with Mexican cross-border trucking is two-fold," said James P. Hoffa, the Teamsters president. "First, that the U.S. lacked the sufficient inspection resources at the border to ensure the safety of the American traveling public. Second, that Mexico lacks adequate standards and enforcement to ensure the safety of their own trucking system."

The GAO study found that Mexico's commercial driver's license database covers less than one-quarter of their estimated 300,000 commercial drivers and that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation does not have an operational plan to ensure the safety of Mexican trucks. Also, GAO found that there are no permanent inspection facilities at 23 of 25 Southwest border crossings.

The study was requested by Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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