Will continue tough policies, opposition to NAFTA

With about 30,000 ballots being challenged in late December, Ron Carey is expected to be elected to a second term as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The incumbent's almost certain victory will mean continued assaults by Carey on organized crime influences in the union, stepped up organizing, and opposition to NAFTA until his members are protected from lower-paid Mexican drivers. Carey's opponent, James P. Hoffa, carried about 48% against Carey's 52% of the almost half-million votes cast by the 1.4-million member union.

A former driver for United Parcel Service, Carey is expected to continue his campaign against what he calls "the old guard," a segment of the union he claims has been associated with organized crime. He says this so-called old guard has continually sought to undermine his presidency and sponsored his opponent's campaign.

During the past five years, Carey had the national union assume direct control of 67 of its 652 locals because of alleged corruption and improprieties. His opponents say it has caused a rift among some rank-and-file members.

Carey's opponents also have criticized him for negotiating contracts they say have been less than stellar. He counters these claims by saying that his group has become more aggressive about organizing workers, changing the image of the Teamsters to appeal to younger workers.

According to a union official, Carey's small margin of votes will mean continued battles within the national union. Carey also is expected to continue his tough style, and leaves open the possibility of taking over more local unions if he deems it necessary.

Carey's political influence has strengthened during his first term. Although his union was a strong supporter of President Clinton, the group remains dedicated to delaying NAFTA.