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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters










     2021 EAM 15

     ISSUED: March 22, 2021


     OES CASE NO. P-081-022221-SO


            Protest Decision 2021 ESD 74 (“ESD 74”), which addresses a pre-election protest filed by Cody Johnson, was issued on March 8, 2021 (OES Case No. P-081-022221-SO) by the Election Supervisor.  The protest alleged that Diane Powers, a union steward for Local 385, interfered with parking lot campaign activity in violation of the Rules for the 2020-2021 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (the “Rules”).  The protest further alleged that Walt Howard, a business agent for Local 385, instructed or encouraged Ms. Powers to violate the Rules.   

On March 8th, the Election Supervisor granted the protest and ordered Ms. Powers and Mr. Howard to cease and desist from interfering with campaign activity in employer parking lots.  In addition, Local 385 was ordered to post on all worksite bulletin boards a notice explaining members’ rights to campaign in employer parking lots and the Election Supervisor’s findings that Ms. Powers and Mr. Howard violated the Rules. 

On March 9, 2021, Mr. Howard appealed the decision.  On March 10th, by Notice of Hearing, the Election Appeals Master scheduled a telephonic hearing for March 15, 2021.  On March 15, 2021, the Office of Election Supervisor and Mr. Howard submitted supplemental arguments in support of their respective positions.   

A telephonic hearing was held on March 15, 2021.  The following individuals attended the hearing:  Jeffrey J. Ellison, Esq., and Dolores Hall on behalf of the Office of the Election Supervisor; and Walt Howard on his own behalf.


            The Protestor, Cody Johnson, is a member of Local 385 and a delegate candidate in the local’s upcoming election.  Mr. Johnson is running on the “OZ-Teamsters United Local 385” slate along with Juan Martin Hoyle and other affiliated candidates.  Walt Howard, the Appellant, is a Business Agent for Local 385 and is running as a delegate candidate against Johnson and Hoyle on the “Teamsters Unite! Stronger Contracts” slate.  Diane Powers is a union steward for Local 385 and reports to Mr. Howard, who is her business agent.  

On the morning of February 21, 2021, Johnson and Hoyle campaigned at an employer parking lot at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on behalf of the “OZ-Teamsters United Local 385” slate.  That day, they handed out campaign leaflets to members who were reporting to work and leaving after their shift was over.  In addition, Johnson and Hoyle asked members to register with their campaign so that they could receive email updates from the “OZ-Teamsters United Local 385” slate.  The parking lot where Johnson and Hoyle campaigned was approximately 300 feet away from an employee break room utilized by members who work at the facility. 

            At approximately 12 p.m., Ms. Powers arrived at the parking lot where Johnson and Hoyle were campaigning.  She did not recognize the campaigners and called her business agent, Mr. Howard, to determine whether he had sent anyone to campaign at the worksite.  Mr. Howard confirmed to Ms. Powers that he had not.  In addition, Mr. Howard told Ms. Powers that the two men were probably campaigning on behalf of the opposing slate.

Once the call with Howard ended, Ms. Powers began yelling at members who were being solicited by Johnson and Hoyle and told them not to listen to the campaigners or pay attention to them.  Ms. Powers also yelled to members in the parking lot that Johnson and Hoyle were “not aligned with Walt Howard,” repeatedly stated that “her bus drivers were for Walt Howard,” and also told members that Disney “had its own candidate” in Mr. Howard.  Ms. Powers also snatched a campaign leaflet from a member and handed it back to the campaigners.

As a result of the conduct, members in the parking lot avoided Johnson and Hoyle.  Johnson and Hoyle also stopped campaigning altogether and left the parking lot to avoid further confrontation.  Based on these facts, the Election Supervisor concluded that Ms. Powers and Mr. Howard violated the Rules.

Mr. Howard’s Appeal

In his appeal, Mr. Howard claims that the Election Supervisor’s determination should be reversed because the factual allegations raised by Johnson and Hoyle were false and misleading.  Specifically, Mr. Howard suggests that it was physically impossible for the above described events to have taken place because Johnson and Hoyle were not in the parking lot, but near the employee break room. 

Further, Mr. Howard asserts that Johnson and Hoyle were not engaged in campaign activity on behalf of their slate and that they never handed out campaign leaflets.  Instead, he contends that Johnson and Hoyle approached members and falsely told them that they were union officials seeking to discuss scheduling issues.  Mr. Howard claims they used this as a ruse to trick members to register for their campaign.

Decision of the Election Appeals Master

Two factual versions of the events are before me.  It is well settled that factual findings and credibility determinations of the Election Supervisor will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion.  Hailstone & Martinez, 10 EAM 7 (September 14, 2010).  While this is a high standard, determinations must be based on objective fact or observation and should be, at least briefly, justified.  See Richards, 00 EAM 4 (August 29, 2000).  Based on the thorough investigation conducted by the Election Supervisor and the justifications for the credibility determinations described in ESD 74, I credit the findings and affirm the decision.

To reach its determinations, the Election Supervisor interviewed Johnson and Hoyle, Ms. Powers, Mr. Howard and several rank-and-file members who were at the Animal Kingdom parking lot on February 21st.  The Election Supervisor also collected the campaign leaflets that were handed out to members by Johnson and Hoyle that day and analyzed the campaign registration information that was used to collect email information from members.  The Election Supervisor confirmed that both sets of documents contained “OZ-Teamsters United Local 385” campaign material and were used by the campaigners.  Based on this review, and contrary to Mr. Howard’s claims, Johnson and Hoyle were clearly engaged in campaign activity on February 21st.

Further, in finding Johnson and Hoyle’s claims credible, the Election Supervisor cited corroborating information from rank-and-file members as well as from Ms. Powers and Mr. Howard that supported the charges that they interfered with campaign activity.  Specifically, Ms. Powers admitted to the Election Supervisor that she was in the parking lot when she approached Johnson and Hoyle and confirmed that she spoke to Mr. Howard about their presence by telephone.  She also admitted that after the call with Mr. Howard ended, she told members arriving for work that Johnson and Hoyle were not on their “side” and were opposed to Mr. Howard’s slate, corroborating the Protestor’s allegations.  Mr. Howard made similar admissions that also corroborate the Election Supervisor’s findings that he encouraged Ms. Powers’ interference.

Mr. Howard’s claim that Johnson and Hoyle were not campaigning in the parking lot is not supported by the credible evidence.  Further, the evidence is clear that Johnson and Hoyle’s right to distribute literature or otherwise solicit support in connection with their candidacy was violated.  See Article VII, Section 12(a); see also Article VII, Section 12(e) (members have the right to aid or campaign for any candidate).  The facts also demonstrate that Powers and Howard violated members’ rights to hear or otherwise receive such campaign advocacy.  Id

Accordingly, the Election Supervisor’s decision is AFFIRMED.[1]



Hon. Barbara S. Jones (Ret.)

Election Appeals Master


DATED:         March 22, 2021



Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Edward Gleason


Patrick Szymanski


Will Bloom


Tom Geoghegan


Rob Colone


Barbara Harvey


Kevin Moore


F.C. “Chris” Silvera


Fred Zuckerman


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union


Cody Johnson


Teamsters Local Union 385

Michael McElmury, Trustee


Walt Howard


Dolores Hall


Jeffrey Ellison

[1] Mr. Howard raised new claims at the hearing that were not raised prior to the appeal.  Accordingly, they will not be considered now.  See O’Brien-Zuckerman 2021, 2020 EAM 3 (September 4, 2020) (Absent extraordinary circumstances, the Election Appeals Master will not consider new claims nor evidence submitted during appeal).