Office of the Election Supervisor
for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

 

 

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IN RE: THOMAS BENNETT, Protestor.
Protest Decision 2006 ESD 89
Issued: February 24, 2006
OES Case No. P-06-127-020606-MW

Thomas Bennett, a member of Local Union 200, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2005-2006 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”). He alleged that the local union prevented candidates on the Teamsters4Teamsters slate (T4T slate) from attending a meeting of union members, in violation of the Rules.

Election Supervisor representatives Joe Childers investigated this protest.

Findings of Fact

On February 2, 2006, Local Union 200 conducted a meeting of its members employed in the ready-mix industry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Marquette interchange, a large highway project in which three major ready-mix employers are operating as a joint venture. The employers had launched a second shift, and the union meeting was to address how union hiring would be conducted for that shift.

Notice of the meeting was posted on union bulletin boards at the employers involved. The notice invited all members and was well attended. Investigation showed that no member who sought to attend the meeting was denied admission.

Candidates on the T4T slate handbilled outside the meeting. Except for Mike Gurich, a candidate on the T4T slate and an employee and steward at one of the ready-mix employers, no T4T candidate entered the meeting.

On or before February 1, protestor Bennett learned that the meeting had been scheduled. He emailed Bill Broberg of our office on that date to inquire whether candidates in the delegate and alternate delegate election would be permitted to attend the meeting. Broberg in turn contacted the local union and asked business agent Jeff Dexter the purpose of the meeting. According to Broberg, Dexter said the meeting was for stewards and “company representatives.” Dexter told our investigator that he said the meeting was for stewards and “company guys,” referring to members employed by the ready-mix employers.

Broberg relayed to Bennett his understanding that the meeting was for stewards and company representatives and not one to which members generally were welcome.

The T4T candidates who handbilled in the parking lot outside the meeting were consequently surprised to see members stream into the meeting. Despite this observation, no T4T candidate aside from Gurich sought to enter.

Investigation showed that no campaign activity occurred from the podium during the course of the meeting.

The protest alleged that the local union deliberately misled Broberg about the purpose of the meeting and the persons who could attend so that T4T candidates would not seek to enter the meeting.

Analysis

Article VII, Section 5(a) of the Rules states that “[n]o candidate may be denied access to any meeting of the Local Union to which he/she belongs as a member; however, the Local Union need not grant such candidate the opportunity to address the meeting for the purpose of campaigning unless a similar opportunity is granted to another candidate.”

Investigation showed that the local union did not violate this provision because no candidate who sought to attend the meeting was denied entry. The investigation further demonstrated that a failure of communication occurred between Broberg and business agent Dexter which, when conveyed to Bennett, led the T4T candidates to remain outside the meeting. However, the T4T candidates were privy to information not supplied to Broberg that should have caused them to reconsider their decision to remain outside. Specifically, the posted notice of the meeting, which candidate Gurich saw, stated expressly that members were invited, and this broad invitation necessarily included candidates in the delegate and alternate delegate election. Further, the candidates handbilling outside the meeting saw scores of individuals they knew were neither stewards nor company representatives walk into the meeting. From these facts, the candidates should have concluded that the meeting was open to members. Under these circumstances, we will not find that the candidates were denied admission to the meeting.

Accordingly, we DENY the protest.

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 Supervisor 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
885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000
New York, New York 10022
Fax: (212) 751-4864

Copies of the request for hearing must be served upon the parties, as well as upon the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1725 K Street, N.W., Suite 1400, Washington, D.C. 20007-5135, all within the time prescribed above. A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.

Richard W. Mark
Election Supervisor
cc: Kenneth Conboy
2006 ESD 89

DISTRIBUTION LIST (BY EMAIL UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED):

Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
25 Louisiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2198
braymond@teamster.org 

Sarah Riger, Staff Attorney
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
25 Louisiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2198
sriger@teamster.org 

David J. Hoffa, Esq.
Hoffa 2006
30300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 324
Farmington Hills, MI 48834
David@hoffapllc.com 

Barbara Harvey
645 Griswold Street
Suite 3060
Detroit, MI 48226
blmharvey@sbcglobal.net 

Ken Paff
Teamsters for a Democratic Union
P.O. Box 10128
Detroit, MI 48210
ken@tdu.org 

Judith Brown Chomsky
P.O. Box 29726
Elkins Park, PA 19027
jchomsky@igc.org 

Stephen Ostrach
1863 Pioneer Parkway East, #217
Springfield, OR 97477-3907
saostrach@gmail.com 

Thomas Bennett
337 Rubicon
Neosho, WI 53059

Tim Buban, Secretary-Treasurer
Local Union 200
6200 Bluemound Road
Milwaukee, WI 53213

Joe F. Childers
201 West Short Street, Suite 310
Lexington, KY 40507
childerslaw@yahoo.com 

William Broberg
1108 Fincastle Road
Lexington, KY 40502
wcbroberg@aol.com 

Jeffrey Ellison
510 Highland Avenue, #325
Milford, MI 48381
EllisonEsq@aol.com


 

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