WASHINGTON — The Teamsters Union today denied as "totally groundless" a published report that Jackie Presser has been replaced as president of the 1.5-million-member union.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that Presser will be succeeded by Weldon Mathis, the second-highest officer in the union. Mathis, the Teamsters' general secretary-treasurer, denied Monday night that Presser is relinquishing his powers.
"That's not true at all," he said. "We expect him back in 30 days."
Presser, who is recuperating in Phoenix from cancer treatment, reportedly sent word to union board members that he would be unable to continue as president, the newspaper said.
"(Presser's) health is gone," an unidentified source said. "The doctor told him it's terminal."
Teamsters spokesman Duke Zeller said Presser went to Phoenix "for much-deserved rest and relaxation" after last month's AFL-CIO meeting at which the Teamsters were readmitted 30 years after being expelled. "He certainly is expected back after Thanksgiving . . . and possibly before," Zeller said.