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IN RE: JAKWAN RIVERS,                        )           Protest Decision 2011 ESD 347
                                                                        )           Issued: October 24, 2011
                    Protestor.                                    )           OES Case No. P-350-101311-NE

            Jakwan Rivers, member of Local Union 237, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2010-2011 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protest alleged improprieties with respect to the mailing list used to send ballot packages to local union members.


            Election Supervisor representative Deborah Schaaf investigated this protest. 


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            The protest, filed Wednesday, October 12, alleged that “many local 237 members have not received secret ballots and as history has shown in all previous elections approximately 30% of members will not be afforded the opportunity to cast their vote for the IBT General Executive Board.”  The protest attributed the alleged shortfall in member receipt of ballots to the fact that Local Union 237 does not participate in the IBT’s TITAN membership database system.  The Gegare-Sheard campaign filed a position statement, asserting that “[a]ll Teamster members should have the right and the opportunity to cast their ballots in the Election of International Union Officers.  Every Teamster Local Union should be required to submit an accurate, computerized and verified list of members to the OES, which should then compare that list to the IBT’s list and take prompt and effective steps to ensure the integrity of the process and an equal opportunity for all members to participate.” 


            Local Union 237 denied the protest’s allegation and asserted that the membership data provided to the OES accurately reflected its membership in every respect.  At nearly 20,000 members, Local Union 237 is the largest local union in the IBT.  All members of the local union are employed by the City of New York.  Larry Abela, the local union official responsible for maintaining membership data, told our investigator that Local Union 237 uses a custom system designed to accommodate the extremely large number of data records it receives from the employer at various times each month.  The local union uses the volume of data it processes monthly with respect to its membership and the member dues it receives to update its membership list continually.


            Ballots for the International officers election were mailed Thursday, October 6, from a central processing location in Iowa.  With the intervening weekend and Columbus Day holiday, the bulk of ballot packages began to arrive at members’ homes on Tuesday, October 11, with more deliveries occurring in subsequent days.  Therefore, substantial likelihood exists that “many” members of Local Union 237 did not receive their ballot packages by the time the protest was filed on October 12.  This likelihood did not, however, suggest anything more than that additional time was necessary for transit and delivery of some of the packages in the ordinary course of U.S. Postal Service operations.


            Nonetheless, we investigated the allegation the protest raised.  That investigation showed that OES mailed 19,459 ballot packages to Local Union 237 members for the election of IBT International officers.[1]  Through the date of this decision, 333 ballot packages have been returned as undeliverable, representing approximately 1.7% of the packages originally mailed.  As with all local unions for which OES has received packages returned as undeliverable, Local Union 237 has been requested to provide updated address information for the members listed on the returned packages.  OES will remail ballots to members for whom updated information is provided.


            Each local union is required to post notice of the International officers election on all worksite bulletin boards.  The notice lists a toll-free phone number a member may use to request a ballot package in the event he or she has not received a ballot package or has spoiled a ballot.  The phone number is staffed by persons who speak English, Spanish and French.  Through the date of this decision, OES has received 17 calls from members of Local Union 237 requesting duplicate ballots.  This represents 0.09% of the ballot packages mailed to this local union’s membership.


Despite his assertion that many members had not received ballot packages, the protestor did not identify any of them to our investigator.  Accordingly, we were unable to search the mailing list used for Local Union 237’s members to ascertain whether members the protestor asserted were not sent ballots were in fact ballot-qualified.[2]  Further, the protestor contended that the fact that Local Union 237 does not participate in the IBT’s TITAN system is evidence that the membership list is inaccurate and subject to politically motivated manipulation.  In the absence of proof that members entitled to receive ballot packages have not received them, and considering Local Union 237’s regular process for updating its list, we find that Local Union 237’s membership list meets the Rules’ requirements.[3]


            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, NY 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, 1801 K Street, N.W., Suite 421 L, Washington, D.C. 20006, all within the time prescribed above.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.

[1] This was a comparable number to the 19,944 ballot packages mailed to members for the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election in February 2011. 

[2] The Rules define a “ballot-qualified member” as a person entitled to receive a ballot.  Definition 4.  Persons on withdrawal status are not ballot-qualified and therefore are not sent ballot packages.  Taylor & Sgrillo, 2011 ESD 188 (March 28, 2011).

[3] Rivers filed a protest during the delegates election challenging the integrity of Local Union 237’s mailing list.  After investigation, various attacks on the mailing list were denied either because the evidence contradicted Rivers’ claims, or because no evidence was produced to support the protest.  See Rivers, 2011 ESD 222 (April 19, 2011). 

                                                                                     Richard W. Mark
                                                                                    Election Supervisor

cc:        Kenneth Conboy
            2011 ESD 347



Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20001


David J. Hoffa

Hoffa Hall 2011

1100 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Ste. 730

Washington, D.C. 20036


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

P.O. Box 10128

Detroit, MI 48210-0128


Barbara Harvey

1394 E. Jefferson Avenue

Detroit, MI 48207


Fred Gegare

P.O. Box 9663

Green Bay, WI 54308-9663


Scott D. Soldon

3541 N. Summit Avenue

Shorewood, WI 53211


Fred Zuckerman

3813 Taylor Blvd.

Louisville, KY 40215


Robert M. Colone, Esq.

P.O. Box 272

Sellersburg, IN 47172-0272


Carl Biers

Box 424, 315 Flatbush Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11217


Julian Gonzalez

Lewis, Clifton &Nikolaidis, P.C.

350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1800

New York, NY 10001-5013
Jakwan Rivers

9810 Avenue K, Apt. 2

Brooklyn, NY 11236


Gregory Floyd, President

Teamsters Local Union 237

214 W. 14th Street

New York, NY 10011


George Geller

Teamsters Local Union 237

214 W. 14th Street

New York, NY 10011


Deborah Schaaf

1118 Coddington Road

Ithaca, NY 14850


Maria S. Ho

Office of the Election Supervisor

1801 K Street, N.W., Suite 421 L

Washington, D.C. 20006


Kathryn Naylor

Office of the Election Supervisor

1801 K Street, N.W., Suite 421 L

Washington, D.C. 20006


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Ste. 210

Ann Arbor, MI 48104


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