The International Brotherhood of Teamsters declared an emergency trusteeship for Philadelphia Local 115 and removed 73-year-old John P. Morris from office as secretary-treasurer last week. The union accused Morris of a number of abuses, including buying and stockpiling weapons.
In response, Morris, who also was president of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, filed a federal lawsuit against the Teamsters union and its president, James P. Hoffa.
Morris claims that his removal from office was political, retaliation against the local and its officers for their opposition to Hoffa and his policies. The suit also says that the union's constitution only allows for appointment of a temporary trustee without a hearing in an emergency - and that no such emergency existed in this case.
The union, however, says Morris created a climate of fear and intimidation among members, including assaults on at least three of them. He was also accused of using union dues to pay for his life insurance policy, as well as for shotguns, stun guns, pepper spray, combat fatigues, two cars, two campers and five buses.
Morris has led the Local 115 since 1955.