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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              July 30, 1996





Jack Ford & Julian Torres

July 30, 1996

Page 1



Jack Ford

1021 Everglades Drive

Pacifica, CA 94044


Julian Torres

817 Geneva Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94112

Andy Cirkelis, Secretary-Treasurer

Teamsters Local Union 921

450 Harrison Street, Room 304

San Francisco, CA 94105

Jack Ford & Julian Torres

July 30, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case No. CONV-10-LU912-EOH




A pre-election protest was filed pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules) by Jack Ford, a delegate for Local Union 921, and Julian Torres, an alternate delegate for Local Union 921.  Messrs. Ford and Torres allege that Local Union 921 Secretary-Treasurer Andy Cirkelis has failed to provide Mr. Ford with adequate compensation for Mr. Fords time spent as a delegate to the 1996 International Convention.  Specifically, Messrs. Ford and Torres contend that Mr. Cirkelis did not pay Mr. Fords pension and welfare fund contributions to either

Mr. Ford or the funds during the Convention period.  Messrs. Ford and Torres allege that

Mr. Cirkelis failure to provide adequate compensation violates the requirements of the Election Officers Advisory Regarding Convention Expenses (Advisory) issued on May 2, 1996.


Election Office Staff Attorney Jonathan K. ONeill investigated the protest.


Section III(D) of the Advisory states:


Jack Ford & Julian Torres

July 30, 1996

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Local unions have traditionally paid their delegates for time spent at the Convention; local union officers and business agents--who have historically comprised the large majority of the delegates and alternate delegates--have received their normal salary and have not been required to utilize vacation for the time spent at the Convention.  Under and in accordance with the Rules, this practice shall be observed for attendance at the 1996 IBT International Union Convention.  Thus, reasonable expenses shall include the salary or wages of the delegates and, if applicable, the alternate delegates attending the Convention.  Delegates and alternate delegates receiving a salary shall receive their regular weekly salary for one week, which will be deemed to cover the period of time spent at the Convention.  Delegates and alternate delegates who are paid on an hourly basis shall receive their straight time hourly wages, excluding overtime, mileage, or other premiums for forty (40) hours, which shall be deemed to cover the period of time spent at the Convention.  No delegate or alternate delegate will be required to use his or her vacation for purposes of attending the Convention.


Mr. Ford is an employee of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency.  He is also a member of Local Union 921s executive board.  Prior to the Convention, Mr. Ford received payment for the 40 hours of straight hourly wages required by the Advisory from Local

Union 921.  This payment did not include pension or welfare fund contributions that, under the terms of its collective bargaining agreement with Local Union 921, Mr. Fords employer would have made had he worked 40 hours during the week of the Convention.  In addition, the local union did not pay Mr. Fords contributions directly to the funds for the time he spent at the Convention.


While the Advisory clearly states that local unions are not obligated to pay premiums like pension and welfare fund contributions, Mr. Ford contends that the local union is required to pay these contributions for the following reasons. 


First, he argues that it has been the practice of the local union to make such contributions for delegates in the past.  This argument was rejected by the prior Election Officer in Serafinn, P-837-LU722-SCE (August 14, 1991), revd on other grounds, 91 - Elec. App. - 181 (SA) (September 6, 1991).  In that case, where delegates to the 1991 IBT International Convention alleged that their local unions refusal to pay health and welfare fund contributions for the period at which they would be attending the Convention violated the Rules, Election Officer Michael Holland stated:


Jack Ford & Julian Torres

July 30, 1996

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The Locals prior practices with respect to the 1986 IBT International Union Convention, or earlier Conventions, does not govern.  The Local Union is obligated to provide the expenses as set forth in the Rules and the Advisory to all its delegates regardless of whether or not all such items were reimbursed for prior Conventions and regardless of the rate for which such items were reimbursed for prior Conventions.  Similarly, the Local Union is not obligated to provide as reasonable Convention-related expenses items or amounts other than as set forth in the Rules and the Advisory regardless of what the Local has done in prior years.




The reasoning behind such a holding still applies.  The Election Officer, through her authority to insure the integrity of the election process, has provided a uniform system of treatment of expenses for Convention attendees in the Advisory.


Second, Mr. Ford argues that the fund contributions required of his employer by the collective bargaining agreement represent part of a general wage package which the local union is required to pay under the Advisory.  Underlying this argument is Mr. Fords belief that the fund contributions are part of the wages that he and the other members of his bargaining unit have opted to have paid directly to the funds.  He states that this intent has been memorialized in his units collective bargaining agreement.  In Serafinn, however,

Election Officer Holland pointed out that:


. . . the Advisory specifically defines the salary or wages for which the Local is responsible as the regular weekly salary for one wee, for delegates . . . paid on a weekly basis, or forty hours straight-time hourly wages, for delegates . . . paid on an hourly basis.  By the terms of the Advisory, a Local Unions responsibility for reasonable expenses does not include salary or wage items other than the regular weekly salary . . . or straight-time hourly wages for 40 hours; indeed the Advisory explicitly excludes fringe benefits from the definition of salary or wages for which the Local Union is responsible.


Id. (emphasis supplied).  The requirements of the 1991 and 1996 Advisories are virtually identical as they apply to the payment of salary or wages and other premiums or benefits.


Given the myriad nature of benefit plans and contribution schemes under the hundreds of collective bargaining agreements encompassed by IBT affiliates, the Election Officer has concluded that a requirement to provide wage items or benefits that are not straight-time wages would place an unfair burden on local unions.  As a result, as long as all members of a local unions delegation are treated equally, the local union is under no obligation to pay such fund contributions.  See Moerler, P-881-LU63-CLA (September 11, 1991).  Mr. Ford was the only delegate from Local Union 921 and the only member of the local sent to the Convention at local union expense.  As a result, Local Union 921 is under no obligation to pay the contributions.


Jack Ford & Julian Torres

July 30, 1996

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Finally, Mr. Ford reasons that since he is periodically paid by the local union for lost wages when he leaves work to attend to union business as an executive board member, and since such payments are made in lump sums that equal the amount of lost wages and fund contribution without distinction, then, as a local union officer in Philadelphia on union business, he is entitled to the full cash value he would have received had he been on union business at home.


As noted above, the Advisory sets forth the requirements that apply to all delegates regardless of their status as local union officers.


For the foregoing reasons, the protest is DENIED.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one day of receipt of this letter.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Officer in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing and shall be served on:


Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY 10022

Fax (212) 751-4864


Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 400 N. Capitol Street, Suite 855, Washington, D.C. 20001, Facsimile (202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.






Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer



cc:               Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master