Ron Carey, 72, the former Teamsters president who pledged to rid the union of mob corruption but was later forced from leadership in a financial scandal, died Thursday at a New York hospital of complications from lung cancer.
After a stint in the Marines, Mr. Carey joined the Teamsters in 1956 while working as a driver for United Parcel Service. He became president of a local union post in New York in 1967 on a platform of challenging corrupt leadership in the organization.
In 1989, federal officials began overseeing much of the Teamsters' operations after the union settled a civil racketeering lawsuit alleging it was controlled by organized crime. The settlement required top officials to be chosen by union members, a decision that led to Mr. Carey becoming the first Teamsters president elected by membership.
In 1997, Mr. Carey led 185,000 workers in a two-week strike against UPS that cost the company $750 million and ultimately won the union 10,000 new full-time jobs. The 1997 walkout is considered one of the biggest victories in the modern labor movement.
Mr. Carey won reelection in 1996 over James P. Hoffa, son of the former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, but the result was later overturned following allegations that Mr. Carey's campaign illegally used about $885,000 in union funds.