Union workers protest their own union, call for change in leadership

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A group of union members protested Monday their own union and it’s temporary boss.

Nearly two years ago, Local Union 710, which represents truckers, warehouse and office workers, was placed in receivership. It was taken over by the National Union complaining about financial problems.  Its leaders were replaced and in came a temporary boss  John T. Coli.

Coli may seem like a controversial choice.  Another union he ran which oversaw 12,000 government employees got into serious trouble in court.  A judge forced the union to pay more than $2.3 million for a broken lease.

But there was more.

Working at yet another union, Coli was accused of hiring friends and family including giving his son the legal business for the union.

“We want for the people for the members. Mr. Coli does not. Mr. Coli wants for him and his family and I think that’s horribly wrong. Horribly wrong,” said Dan Beyer of Local 710. “Membership should come first.”

The protesters say Coli is spending money they say the union is short on and that he bought new vehicles for business agents, gave his handpicked leaders raises and they say he stole members from the union.

“Local 710 lost about a million dollars a year,” said Megan Kelley of Local 710. “So if you’re in financial hardship with local money, why would you take members away and put them in your own local?”

WGN Investigates attempted to contact Coli but he did not return our call.

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