Judge Restores Ousted Leader Of Teamster Local
December 29, 1999
A U.S. District judge has restored John P. Morris to his job as secretary-treasurer of Philadelphia Teamsters Local 115 after Morris was ousted by Teamsters President James P. Hoffa Nov. 15.
The union accused Morris of a wide range of abuses, including using union funds to stockpile weapons and military clothing, and creating a climate of fear and intimidation to ensure the loyalty of Teamsters members. Morris filed suit against the union, denying that any emergency existed at the local, and that the ouster was politically motivated because of his vocal opposition of Hoffa. The 73-year-old union patriarch, who founded the local more than four decades ago, also charged that "barracuda" lawyers were after the $2.5 million in the union legal fund.
During the trial, Brian Kanda, a driver and Teamsters shop steward, testified that he was punched by a Morris aide after Morris questioned his loyalty. However, Kenneth Woodring, chief of staff of the local, testified that Morris has a temper, but that "I would not say he is physically dangerous."
Judge John Padova did not rule on the charges against Morris, but granted the local leader's request for a preliminary injunction and ordered the union to reinstate Morris. The judge said Hoffa and the union failed to show that an emergency existed that justified removing Morris without a hearing.