MIAMI BEACH — Teamsters President Jackie Presser, declaring that his union is back in labor's fold for "eternity," told AFL-CIO delegates today that labor must close ranks to defend its members and political agenda.
Presser predicted that a unified labor movement would create the "greatest political giant this country has ever seen."
Delegates at the 17th biennial convention greeted Presser with a tumultuous standing ovation as he emerged, wearing an AFL-CIO baseball cap to cover a head balding from cancer treatments, from behind a podium and raised his thumbs in a sign of victory.
"Today, without question, is an historic event," he said.
The Teamsters were readmitted to the AFL-CIO after being expelled from the labor federation 30 years ago on allegations that the union was influenced by corrupt forces.
Presser, 60, did not allude to his impending trial on federal embezzlement charges nor a proposed civil suit by the government to place his union under the control of a court-appointed trustee to rid it of alleged mob influence.