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Kevin McCaffrey, Suffolk County legislator, gets revote in contested Teamsters election

Suffolk County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey speaks beside Legis.

Suffolk County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey speaks beside Legis. Robert Trotta during a news conference at the William Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

National Teamsters union officials have decided to allow ballots to be counted in a union election in which Kevin McCaffrey, minority leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, is seeking to regain his post as president.

The Washington D.C.-based executive board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had impounded ballots in a revote of a Local 707 election that McCaffrey lost in November, said Kara Deniz, spokeswoman for the national union.

The winning slate of candidates had opposed repetition of the election.

The board voted last Friday to reject the appeal by the victors and allow the election to go forward. The new ballots will be opened on Wednesday, said Susan Oddo, the Nassau local’s new recording secretary.

McCaffrey and other incumbents ousted in the November election had asked for a new vote because 92 ballots had not been delivered to workers of a Midwood ambulance company. A new election was held, but ballots were impounded because of the appeal

The ousted slate should have been aware the ballots had not been delivered, and also did not seek a revote in a timely manner, Oddo said.

Local 707 represents 2,400 workers in the trucking and food service industries, along with employees of Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.

McCaffrey, a Lindenhurst Republican, lost the union election in November to John Kelder by six votes. McCaffrey had held the $106,000-a-year union post since 1994.

The union last year cut pension benefits for retirees after it reported the fund has only $34.6 million to pay $47.6 million in benefits this year. The pension fund receives $7.5 million in contributions a year. Pensions eventually could be cut by up to two-thirds, McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey critics have blamed him for the pension cuts.

McCaffrey said job reductions in the trucking business and contract concessions during the Wall Street meltdown led to the shortfall.

McCaffrey, who was running a heated legislative re-election race at the time of the union election, said he was optimistic about his chances to regain the presidency of the Teamsters local.

Kelder was traveling and unavailable for comment.

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