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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              July 30, 1996





Leticia Awsta, et al.

July 30, 1996

Page 1



Leticia Z. Awsta

311 Riverdale

San Antonio, TX 78228


Laurence D. Talbott

P.O. Box 150

Hamersville, OH 45130


Tim Russ

341 N.W. 81st Street

Seattle, WA 98117


Leslie Cadman

317 S. Campbell

Detroit, MI 48209


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI 48098


George Geller

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik, Raymond

  Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Leticia Awsta, et al.

July 30, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case No. CONV-15




A pre-election protest was filed pursuant toArticle XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules) by

Leticia Z. Awsta, a member of Local Union 657, and Laurence D. Talbott, a member of Local Union 100.  Leslie Cadman, a retired member of Local Union 142, was also included in the protest.  The Election Officer notes, however, that Mr. Cadman is not a member who is entitled to file a protest under the Rules.  The protesters allege that they were threatened and harassed by Hoffa supporters while attempting to pass out campaign literature during the IBT Convention.


The protest was investigated by Regional Coordinator Judith E. Kuhn.


Leticia Awsta, et al.

July 30, 1996

Page 1



Included with protest above was a separate and unrelated incident alleged by Tim Russ, a member of Local Union 174.  Mr. Russ contends that he was grabbed by Hoffa supporter and thrown aside while on the Convention floor.  Mr. Russ never presented any evidence on his claims.  It was, therefore, not processed any further by the Election Office.


The investigation revealed that during the afternoon of July 15, 1996, Ms. Awsta and Messrs. Talbott and Cadman were walking down a hall on the west side of the Convention Center where the Hoffa campaign office was located.  They were passing out campaign material supporting Mr. Carey near the Hoffa campaign office. 


Ms. Awsta states that at that point, a large, heavy-set woman with short hair and two other women approached the group and said, Get the fuck out of here.  We dont want none of that stuff.  Go somewhere else.  Ms. Awsta further states that she advised the woman not to take the leaflets if she did not want them.  Ms. Awstas statement regarding this incident is supported by Messrs. Talbott and Cadman.  There then ensued a shouting match in the hall where several Hoffa supporters approached the group and made various loud statements about about them leaving and that their literature was not wanted there.  The evidence shows that statements were exchanged between both Carey and Hoffa supporters.


At some point during this shouting, George Geller came out of the Hoffa campaign office and announced that he was an attorney for the Hoffa campaign.  He then stated that

Ms. Awstas group had a right to be there and invited Ms. Awsta and her group to continue their activities.  Supporters of Mr. Hoffa continued to come toward her and her group. 

Mr. Geller then said to Ms. Awsta, Dont be afraid.  I will walk down the hall with you and no one will hurt you.  When the approaching group refused to yield, Mr. Geller repeated to them that he represented the Hoffa campaign and his previous statement that Ms. Awstas group was within its rights.  Ms. Awsta then states that the short-haired woman said, Shut the fuck up.  I dont care who you are. They are not going to come through here.  At that point, states Ms. Awsta, her group left the area.  Mr. Talbott claims that he was physically pushed out of the hall by four or five Hoffa supporters.  Mr. Cadman claims that they were surrounded by eight to 10 Hoffa supporters, one of which said to Mr. Cadman, You are leaving.  We dont want you here.  You will leave on your own, or you will leave horizontally.  The protesters agree that the Hoffa supporters did not want the Carey literature and they left the area and returned to the Carey campaign office to write up the incident reports that formed the basis of this protest.


Mr. Geller states that the Carey supporters were engaged in a stupid provocative effort when they attempted to campaign by the Hoffa campaign office.  Mr. Geller acknowledges that the Hoffa supporters told the protesters to get out of the area and that nobody wanted their leaflets.  He also states that he came into the hall in order to prevent any possibility of an incident.  Mr. Geller does not deny that he assured the Carey people that they could safely conduct campaign activities in that part of the Convention hall.  He further states that Ms. Awsta advised him that she was not intimidated.  Mr. Geller denies that the incident was confrontational or that any physical contact occurred.  He states that there were four small female Hoffa supporters involved, there was no crowding and no attempt to block the hallway.  He also notes that yelling occurred on both sides.


Leticia Awsta, et al.

July 30, 1996

Page 1



The Rules at Article VIII, Section 11(f), prohibit retaliation and the threat of retaliation by any person against a member for the exercise of any guaranteed election right.  Among these rights is the freedom to engage in political and campaign activities, free from any threat of violence.  Lopez, P-456-LU743-CHI (April 10, 1996) (finding Ill kill you to violate the Rules, in light of ongoing animosity between the parties).  Kelly, P-600-LU705-CHI, et seq. (March 27, 1991) (finding an aggressive threat to kick their ass made in a menacing manner to be harassment in violation of the Rules).  Smith, P-600-LU150-CSF (April 30, 1996) (finding that the Rules were violated by the threat to remove a member from the premises in a body bag).             


However, the Election Officer has also noted that heated discussions do not constitute a violation of the Rules, which are designed to ensure fair, honest, open and informed elections.  See Dunn, P-110- LU25-BOS (July 22, 1995), affd, 95 - Elec. App. - 8 (KC) (August 21, 1995); Scott, P-1092-LU745-SOU (November 21, 1991) (Threatening words by a supporter of a candidate to a supporter of an opposing candidate in the context of ongoing animosity and where no fight erupted not found to violate the Rules.)


The Election Officer finds that the facts here do not constitute retaliation.  This confrontation between supporters of Mr. Carey and Mr. Hoffa occurred in the front of the Hoffa campaign headquarters during a very spirited and emotional Convention.  There is little question that there were words, even harsh words, exchanged by the supporters, and that the specter of a physical confrontation was possible.  However, on these disputed facts, the Election Officer does not find retaliation within the meaning of the Rules.


Accordingly, 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


Leticia Awsta, et al.

July 30, 1996

Page 1



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

Judith E. Kuhn, Regional Coordinator