UPDATE 7:23 AM, FEBRUARY 15: Union officials announced the results of the union election Thursday morning and the results were in line with a steady stream of critics of Teamsters Acting President James P. Hoffa. Sean O’Brien received 74 percent of the vote compared to 26 percent for the incumbent, Hoffa.
Members of the Teamsters’ powerful International Brotherhood of Teamsters have selected Sean O’Brien to become the union’s next president.
The by-election was called for after the Teamsters’ most powerful leader, James P. Hoffa, was ousted last year. His ouster followed a series of stories in The New York Times, illustrating longstanding allegations of conflicts of interest.
The teamsters’ executive committee voted on Wednesday, receiving submissions from 188 candidates. The executive committee selected Sean O’Brien, the Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to be their President-elect.
According to the union’s website, the Teamsters are one of the largest unionized workers’ unions in the world, with approximately 2.5 million members. The Teamsters are the largest transportation and logistics union, and the third largest trucking union in the nation.
Mr. O’Brien, a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has served as President of the Tunnel & Bridge Labor Council, General President of Local 1105 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Vice President of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union and as Chairman of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.
Sean O’Brien has been vocal on issues related to NAFTA, which has been a target of the Teamsters’ ire over the years. He has praised the Trump administration for its changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“We appreciate President Trump’s hard work on NAFTA,” O’Brien told the Daily News in December. “I’ve even had conversations with his wife, who’s an alumna of my union — our president from Illinois, George Mitchell, who passed away just a couple months ago — to explain to her how powerful a lobby (NAFTA) that Teamsters have to make sure we put our beliefs into place.”
On Twitter, O’Brien said he wanted “no less than a full-scale, honest rebuilding of the union.”
On Trump, he said: “That means bringing back Teamsters ‘offical union’ style honesty to business, and working very, very hard to get our reputation back in the international trade union community as an unbiased trade watchdog.
O’Brien has been called by some critics a leader who would undermine the legacy of his predecessor, James P. Hoffa. Former Teamsters’ President Jackie Presser described Sean O’Brien as a “ball of hate,” and his ouster as “a victory for organized labor” at the labor gathering where Hoffa was first elected.