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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters




                        PROTESTOR.                                                            2015-2016 EAM 3 (KAR)                                                                                                                  ORDER RE ESD 43


Protest Decision 2015 ESD 43, regarding Sam Bucalo, member and secretary-treasurer of Local Union 100, was issued on October 19, 2015 (OES Case No. P-053-092915-ME).  On October 20, 2015, Mr. Bucalo filed an appeal of ESD 43.  By Notice of Hearing sent to all identified Interested Parties, a telephonic hearing was scheduled for October 30, 2015.  On October 23, 2015, the Election Supervisor submitted a written response to the appeal.


A telephonic hearing was held on October 30, 2015:  The following individuals attended the hearing:  Sam Bucalo; Jeffrey J. Ellison, Esq., on behalf of the Election Supervisor; David J. Hoffa (Hoffa-Hall 2016); Dan Walsh (Adjunct Regional Director for OES); and Alan Jones (Joint Council 26).


            For the reasons set forth below, the appeal of ESD 43 is DENIED.


The protest in this case alleges that internal union charges filed against Bucalo in connection with a personal newsletter he published and distributed to the local union membership and posted on Facebook constituted impermissible retaliation against him for Rules-protected activity The newsletter included Bucalos personal endorsement of Teamsters United, a slate of candidates for International office The Election Supervisor held in Hoffa-Hall 2016 and Meyer, 2015 ESD 28 (August 28, 2015), that the newsletter constituted campaign activity protected by the Rules.


While the protests that resulted in that decision were being investigated, Local Union 100s executive board brought six internal charges against Bucalo for the personal newsletter and some of its contents.  After the protest decision issued, the joint council evaluated the internal charges against Bucalo, dismissing two outright and substantially limiting the remaining four.  Specifically, the joint council determined not to exercise jurisdiction over any charge that arose from the personal newsletter, ceding jurisdiction of claims there to the Election Supervisor and the Rules.  With respect to the Facebook posting, however, the joint council noted that LMRDA free speech protections insulated statements made to the membership but may not protect statements made to a wider audience Accordingly, the joint council directed the charging parties to prove that the Facebook posting Bucalo made was seen by non-members and that the local union suffered as a result.


The Election Supervisor concluded that evaluation of Bucalos allegation of retaliation was premature until such time as a trial result issued.  Accordingly, he denied the protest without prejudice to its refiling, in the event a result on the internal charges was adverse to Bucalo.


Bucalo argues on appeal that the Election Supervisors denial of the protest without prejudice relinquishes enforcement of the Rules to the joint council.   It does not.   To the contrary, the Election Supervisor has enforced the Rules with respect to the distribution of the personal newsletter to local union members, and the joint council has evidenced its intention to be bound by that decision.  Further, in the event Bucalo suffers adverse action for Rules-protected activity, the Rules grant the Election Supervisor authority to alter or rescind internal union discipline Article XIII, Section 4(e) & (x).   Here, the Election Supervisor concluded it is appropriate to await the joint council trial panels decision in order to assess, first, whether it is adverse to Bucalo, and if so, whether it was motivated by Bucalos Rules-protected activity.  A determination of these issues cannot be made before trial and decision.


The Election Supervisors decision leaves Bucalo with the right under the Rules to challenge any adverse determination of the charges the joint council trial panel might make. The decision of the Election Supervisor is therefore affirmed and the appeal is DENIED.