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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters




                                                                                    2015-2016 EAM 36 (KAR) (ESD 341)                             PROTESTOR                                     


            Protest Decision 2016 ESD 341 (ESD 341) was issued on December 15, 2016.  ESD 341 addressed a protest filed by Fred Zuckerman, candidate for IBT General President on the Teamsters United slate, alleging that Dennis Corrigan, a supporter of Hoffa-Hall 2016 struck Richard Galvan while Mr. Galvan was leafleting on behalf of Teamsters United. 

Decision of the Election Supervisor

The protest in this case alleged that Dennis Corrigan violated the Article VII, Section 12(g) of the Rules (impermissible retaliation) by using threats, intimidation, and violence to interfere with the campaign activity of Teamsters United supporters.  The protest further alleged that Hoffa-Hall 2016 was responsible for Corrigan’s actions.

            Richard Galvan is a long-time member of Local Union 396 and an employee of UPS.  During the current election cycle, he ran for and lost an election for delegate to the IBT convention on a slate that supported Teamsters United.  In addition, he was nominated for IBT vice president for the West region at the IBT convention on the Teamsters United slate but did not achieve the 5% secret ballot vote threshold among West region convention delegates to be nominated to the rank-and-file ballot.  

Dennis Corrigan is also a long-time member of Local Union 396 and an employee of UPS at its Main Street hub in Los Angeles, California.  During the current election cycle, he served as a sergeant-at-arms at the IBT convention, with the responsibility among others of maintaining order and deterring politically motivated violence on the convention floor.  Corrigan and Galvan have known each other for many years. 

On Thursday, September 22, 2016, some twelve weeks after the convention concluded, Mr. Zuckerman, Mr. Galvan, and as many as ten additional supporters of Teamsters United campaigned in the employee parking lot of the UPS Main Street hub, canvassing among departing day shift employees and arriving twilight shifters.  They set up immediately outside the security station where UPS security searches departing employees to insure that they do not depart with any material or goods belonging to the employer or its customers.

The incident in question occurred at approximately 7p.m. when Mr. Corrigan entered the parking lot after having clocked off duty.

Mr. Galvan told the OES investigator that:

Corrigan threw down some pocket change upon seeing the campaigners, yelling something about a “donation.”  Galvan said that Corrigan then began to taunt Galvan, yelling that he “can’t win anything.”  Galvan said he responded to Corrigan, telling him to get away from him.  However, Galvan said that Corrigan, enraged, told Galvan he was going to “get” him, and then slammed a closed fist on Galvan’s wrists to try to knock the flyers from Galvan’s hand.[1]  Galvan said that Corrigan’s blow was violent, unprovoked, and aggressive.  The blow caused some of Galvan’s flyers to fall to the ground but Galvan was able to hold on to some.  Seeing that Galvan still held some flyers, Corrigan then tried to grab them from Galvan’s hands, according to Galvan.  Galvan resisted this move, and both pulled on the flyers for a brief period before Galvan pulled the flyers away from Corrigan.  Galvan said he told Corrigan to “get away from me” as he stooped to pick up the flyers that had fallen to the ground.  While doing this, Galvan said that fellow campaigner Jose Moreno approached, told Corrigan to back off, and held his arm out to keep the two men apart.  Moreno’s attempted intervention appeared to have no effect on Corrigan, according to Galvan.  Zuckerman, hearing Corrigan’s loud language, then appeared next to Galvan.  Galvan said that Corrigan looked at Zuckerman, appeared to recognize him, and stopped his activity nearly instantly.  He then backed away and turned to go to his car, at which point campaigning continued as it had before Corrigan’s arrival.  Galvan said that the canvassers remained in the parking lot for another hour or hour and a half without incident.

Mr. Corrigan told the OES Investigator that

Just before he punched out, he found a Teamsters United flyer someone had left on his lunch pail.  Corrigan told our representative that the flyer on his lunch pail bothered him a lot, and he “spouted off” about it while he processed through the security station.  In that station, Corrigan removed some loose change from his pocket in order to screen through the metal detection area.  Corrigan said he then exited the security station into the employee parking lot where the Teamsters United campaigners were canvassing.  Still upset about the Teamsters United flyer on his lunch pail, Corrigan threw the pocket change in his hand to the ground and called out facetiously in a loud voice, “Here’s a donation!”  Corrigan said he then saw Galvan, whom he has known for many years and dislikes.  As Corrigan walked past Galvan en route to his car, he told Galvan, “You’re a loser” and “I’ll kick your ass,” adding, “You’re acting pretty tough now because you have all your people here around you.”  Corrigan told our representative that Galvan insulted him in return, calling him a loser and making fun of Corrigan’s limp.  Corrigan said that this insult prompted Corrigan, who had passed Galvan, to turn around and confront Galvan directly.  

 Corrigan insisted to our representative that he did not hit or touch Galvan in any way, but instead confronted him face-to-face and raised his left hand in a feigned gesture to swipe the flyers that Galvan held in his right hand. Corrigan said that although he moved in very close to Galvan, he did not feel that he was threatening Galvan because there was no physical contact.  However, Corrigan said that when he got very close to Galvan, Galvan pushed Corrigan back against his chest with his right hand.  In doing so, some of Galvan’s flyers “might have fallen” to the ground, according to Corrigan, but Corrigan was not certain of this.  At that point, Corrigan said that Javier Escamilla (a co-worker) and at least one other unknown person came up and drew Corrigan and Galvan apart.  Corrigan later thanked Escamilla for “keeping (him) from doing something stupid.”  The verbal exchange of insults between the two men continued throughout this episode, until Zuckerman approached Galvan and Corrigan.  Corrigan immediately recognized Zuckerman and backed away, walking over to his car.  

 Once inside his car, Corrigan said he called Local Union 396 president Jay Phillips to report the incident and ask his advice.  Phillips told him to “expect a protest” and to stay away from the Teamsters United people.  After about five minutes in his car following the call with Phillips, Corrigan drove home.  Corrigan said he was upset, shaking, and stammering throughout the confrontation, and he said this manifested in a trembling voice he used with Galvan, which Corrigan said is what happens to him when he is upset.  Corrigan said the Zuckerman supporters took advantage of his stammering by making fun of him, his walk, and his shaking, increasingly as the incident continued.  Corrigan said he felt he had been baited by Galvan and had reacted unfortunately as a result by lashing out at Galvan.  But Corrigan insisted to our representative that, aside from Galvan’s push against Corrigan’s chest, there was no physical contact between the two men.

All of the eye-witnesses interviewed by the OES Investigator substantially corroborated Mr. Galvan’s account of the incident. 

The Election Supervisor found that Mr. Corrigan violated the Rules with two acts: he forcefully struck Mr. Galvan’s wrist with his fists, attempting to dislodge campaign flyers held by Mr. Galvan; and he then attempted to wrest from Mr. Galvan’s hand the flyers he still held.  Having found those acts as Rules violations, the Election Supervisor also found that Mr. Corrigan did not violate the Rules with any conduct that preceded or followed those acts.  Specifically, the Election Supervisor found that Corrigan’s casting down of loose coins in the parking lot where the campaigners were canvassing support and loudly declaring that the coins were a “donation” to the slate were not a violation.  Rather, the Election Supervisor found that both of these acts were, in broad terms, campaign speech in opposition to the campaign speech of the canvassers and therefore were protected by the Rules, even though they were loud, vulgar, and obnoxious. 


The Election Supervisor concluded that Corrigan’s violations “consumed mere seconds and did not substantially interfere with or interrupt the campaign activity of Teamsters United, which continued at that worksite for the better part of two additional hours.”  Specifically, the Election Supervisor found that the campaigners arrived at the location between 5:00 and 5:15 p.m. and campaigned to 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.  Corrigan’s violent actions occurred shortly after 7:00 p.m. and took up a few seconds.  Mr. Galvan continued campaigning unabated, as Mr. Corrigan left the scene as soon as he recognized Teamsters United’s lead candidate, Fred Zuckerman, standing next to Mr. Galvan.  On this basis, the Election Supervisor concluded that Mr. Corrigan’s “very brief” Rules violation did not substantially interfere with the nearly four hours of campaigning the slate supporters carried out.   


            With respect to the contention that Mr. Corrigan’s violations were attributable to Hoffa-Hall 2016, the Election Supervisor found that Mr. Corrigan acted alone, without knowledge of or consent by the slate.  The Election Supervisor found that the brief incident occurred spontaneously, with no foreknowledge on Mr. Corrigan’s part that the campaigners – and in particular Mr. Galvan – would be in the parking lot when Mr. Corrigan clocked off duty.


            The Election Supervisor therefore granted the protest with respect to Mr. Corrigan and denied it with respect to Hoffa-Hall 2016.

            With respect to remedy, the Election Supervisor ordered Mr. Corrigan to cease and desist from further violations of the Rules.  To encourage Mr. Corrigan to refrain from engaging in conduct that would violate the Rules in the current or next election cycle, the Election Supervisor imposed a fine of $500 that Mr. Corrigan will be required to pay to the Office of the Election Supervisor only in the event he is found by the Election Supervisor to have engaged in any conduct after September 22, 2016 and through the conclusion of the 2020-2021 International officer election cycle that violates the current Rules or those in effect for that cycle. 

The Election Supervisor further found that Mr. Corrigan’s violation was

especially troubling given his status as a sergeant-at-arms at the IBT convention, where a principal duty is to prevent violence in a politically charged environment.  While Corrigan as an IBT member retained the right to support or oppose any candidate, and he was not acting as a sergeant-at-arms at the time he struck Galvan, his status as a sergeant-at-arms nonetheless placed on him an obligation to the union as an institution to conform his behavior to acceptable norms.  For that reason, the behavior Corrigan exhibited in striking Galvan and attempting to pull flyers away from him reflected negatively on the IBT as an institution.  Given that Corrigan demonstrated a lack of appreciation for the need to refrain from politically motivated violence, we order the IBT to forward a copy of this decision to the Chief Sergeant at Arms for the 2021 IBT convention, once that person is appointed.  If the Chief Sergeant at Arms for the 2021 IBT convention wishes to use the services of Corrigan as part of the sergeant-at-arms corps at that convention, we order that Corrigan be given special instructions about acceptable behavior under the Rules and his obligation to conduct himself accordingly.


Finally, the Election Supervisor ordered Local Union 396 to post the notice attached to his decision on all union worksite bulletin boards under its jurisdiction and to maintain that posting until January 31, 2017.  The notice states in pertinent part that “the Election Supervisor has found that Dennis Corrigan, a member of Local Union 396 and an employee of UPS at the Main Street hub, violated the Election Rules by striking Richard Galvan on his wrist with his fists on September 22, 2016 as Galvan campaigned for Teamsters United in the UPS Main Street parking lot. * * * Corrigan’s violence against Galvan violated the Election Rules.”

Appeal of ESD 341


Mr. Zuckerman, represented by David Suetholz, Esq., timely appealed ESD 341, stating:

1)     The finding that Dennis Corrigan’s actions “did not substantially interfere with or interrupt the campaign activity of Teamsters United” is not supported by evidence presented nor election case law precedent

2)     The finding that Dennis Corrigan’s actions were his alone and not on behalf of Hoffa-Hall is not supported by the evidence presented nor election case law precent [sic].

On December 29, 2016, the Election Appeals Master received a written submission from the Election Supervisor.  Mr. Suetholz did not submit any further written statement.

A telephonic hearing was held on January 3, 2017, which was attended by: Jeffrey J. Ellison, Esq., on behalf of the Election Supervisor; Peter Marks (OES), Michael Miller (OES) and Deborah Schaaf (OES); David Suetholz, Esq., David J. Hoffa, Esq., attorney for the Hoffa Campaign, Alex Moran, Leslie Garrett, Richard Galvan, Jay Phillips, Edgar Esquivel, and Dennis Corrigan.

At the hearing, appellant withdrew the appeal as it pertains to Hoffa-Hall 2016.



Decision of the Election Appeals Master


            With respect to Mr. Corrigan, this appeal presents a challenge to the Election Supervisor’s determination that “did not substantially interfere with or interrupt the campaign activity of Teamsters United,” and to the remedy imposed by the Election Supervisor. 

I find that the Election Supervisor’s determination is supported by substantial evidence.  It is undisputed that the incident in question lasted at most a matter of minutes in the midst of a four-hour period of campaigning.  Mr. Corrigan removed himself from the scene promptly after the incident, and his conduct did not deter or intimidate Mr. Galvan from further campaign activity.  With respect to remedy, when the Election Supervisor determines that the Rules have been violated, he “may take whatever remedial action is deemed appropriate.”  Article XIII, Section 4.  In fashioning the appropriate remedy, the Election Supervisor views the nature and seriousness of the violation as well as its potential for interfering with the election process.  “The Election Supervisor’s discretion in fashioning an appropriate remedy is broad and is entitled to deference.”  Hailstone & Martinez, 10 EAM 7 (September 14, 2010).  The appellant has not demonstrated that the Election Supervisor abused his discretion in failing to impose additional unspecified remedial relief for the violation.


For the foregoing reasons, the appeal of ESD 341 is DENIED and ESD 341 is AFFIRMED. 








DATED:  January 13, 2017




[1] Galvan could not recall specifically whether Corrigan used both fists to strike Galvan’s wrist or only one.