Office of the Election Supervisor
for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

 

 

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IN RE: JAMES PARRINELLO, JOHN BURGE, LARRY SMITH and TOM ABEE,
Protest Decision 2001 EAD 481
Issued: October 1, 2001
OEA Case No. PR092413MI

James Parrinello, John Burge, Larry Smith and Tom Abee, members of Local Union 299, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2000-2001 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("Rules") against the Tom Leedham Rank & File Power slate ("Leedham slate"), Alexandra Pope and Pete Landon. The protest alleges the Leedham slate, Pope and Landon improperly barred the protestors from attending a Leedham campaign event and attempted to "extort" an additional entry fee from them in order to allow them access.

Election Administrator representative Jeffrey Ellison investigated the protest.

Findings of Fact and Analysis

The Leedham slate held a campaign event at a Knights of Columbus hall in Garden City, Michigan on September 7, 2001. A flyer detailing the time and location of the event, the $5 admission fee, and inviting "Michigan Teamsters" was distributed at a number of area employee parking lots.

The four protestors and a fifth individual, Local 299 member Archie Bane[1], arrived at the hall and began distributing partisan Hoffa slate material.[2]  They then sought entry to the meeting but were barred by Landon and Pope, who told them they were not welcome and would not be admitted.

Some loud talking and mild jostling ensued at the doorway to the hall, prompting an unknown individual to call the police. During the doorway discussion, Landon told Bane in a number of ways the five would not be admitted, including his final statement that for them the entrance price was $100 each. When Bane reached for his wallet, Landon told him to put it away because they would not be admitted under any circumstances.

The noise drew complaints from individuals attending an event in the main part of the building. The arriving police attempted to negotiate a solution. Finally, the hall manager directed the Leedham slate to admit the protestors or leave the premises. The slate allowed the protestors to enter, charging them the advertised price of $5. They remained for less than 30 minutes and did not disrupt the meeting.

Pope and Landon stated that Bane and two of the protestors had attended a similar meeting in a rented room of a Detroit establishment in April 2001. Although Bane and the others were known Hoffa partisans, Landon had vouched for them at the time, saying they were his Local 299 brothers and should be admitted. However, when they were allowed in, they disrupted the meeting, speaking loudly and rudely to Leedham and other supporters and diverting attention away from the meeting’s purpose. Landon stated he cited this episode to Bane to explain the decision to bar Bane and the protestors from the September 7 event. Abee corroborated Landon’s evidence.

We DENY the protest. A campaign or caucus of union members is free under the Rules to determine who may attend its event, even though the event is advertised as open to all. Unlike a union’s obligation under 29 USC 411(a)(1) to allow all members "to attend membership meetings," this statutory right does not compel campaign organizations to do likewise. In particular, where individuals have disrupted a campaign event previously, the campaign may take action to prevent such disruptions from recurring.

We reject the claim that charging $100 for entry to an event advertised at $5 constitutes "extortion" under the circumstances here. We find that raising the price was another way of telling Bane and the protestors they would not be admitted at all. The strategy was abandoned when the five indicated a willingness to pay the higher price, proving this point.

Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within two (2) working days of receipt of this decision. The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Administrator in any such appeal. Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing, shall specify the basis for the appeal, and shall be served upon:

Kenneth Conboy

Election Appeals Master

Latham & Watkins

Suite 1000

885 Third Avenue

New York, New York 10022

Fax: 212-751-4864

Copies of the request for hearing must be served upon all other parties, as well as upon the Election Administrator for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 727 15th Street NW, Tenth Floor, Washington, DC 20005 (facsimile: 202-454-1501), all within the time prescribed above. A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.

William A. Wertheimer, Jr.

William A. Wertheimer, Jr.

Election Administrator

cc: Kenneth Conboy

2001 EAD 481

DISTRIBUTION LIST VIA UPS NEXT DAY AIR:

Patrick Szymanski

IBT General Counsel

25 Louisiana Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20001

Bradley T. Raymond

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

J. Douglas Korney

Korney & Heldt

30700 Telegraph Road

Suite 1551

Bingham Farms, MI 48025

Barbara Harvey

Penobscot Building

Suite 1800

645 Griswold

Detroit, MI 48226

Betty Grdina

Yablonski, Both & Edelman

Suite 800

1140 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20036

Tom Leedham c/o Stefan Ostrach

110 Mayfair

Eugene, OR 97404

Todd Thompson

209 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

Washington, DC 20003

Matt Ginsburg

30 Third Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11271

 

James L. Hicks, Jr., P.C.

Suite 1100

2777 N. Stemmons Freeway

Dallas, TX 75207

James Parrinello

20702 Paige Blvd.

Macomb, MI 48044

John Burge, Jr.

20 Wood Avenue

Quincy, MI 49082

Larry Smith

21192 Sunrise Drive

Macomb, MI 48044

Tom Abee

28283 Sheridan

Garden City, MI 48135

IBT Local 299

2741 Trumbull Avenue

Detroit, MI 48216

Alexandra Pope

322 N. Fullerton Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042

Pete Landon

1451 Clark

Detroit, MI 48209

Jeffrey Ellison

65 Cadillac Square

Suite 3727

Detroit, MI 48226

[1]   Bane is related to Mike Bane of Local 614 who has been the subject of recent charges before the Independent Review Board.  Parrinello said that Archie Bane did not want to be involved in this protest because of “what happened to Mike Bane.”  Abee declined to admit that Archie Bane was present on September 7.

[2]    Landon and Pope stated the four protestors and Bane were distributing Hoffa flyers.  Parrinello denied that he and his companions were doing so, saying that “others” were passing out the flyers instead.  However, Abee admitted the four protestors and Bane were indeed leafleting with Hoffa material.  We credit Landon, Pope and Abee.


 

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