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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: HOFFA-HALL 2016             )           Protest Decision 2015 ESD 28

            JIMMY MEYER,                               )           Issued: August 28, 2015

                                                                        )           OES Case No. P-014-071315-MW &           

            Protestors.                                         )                       P-018-071715-MW



            Hoffa-Hall 2016 and Jimmy Meyer, member of Local Union 100, filed separate pre-election protests pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2015-2016 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protests, consolidated for investigation and decision, alleged that Sam Bucalo, secretary-treasurer of Local Union 100, violated the Rules by sending a mailing to the Local Union 100 membership that endorsed Teamsters United candidates.


            Election Supervisor representative Joe Childers investigated these protests.


Findings of Fact


Bucalo is secretary-treasurer of Local Union 100, most recently elected to that position in 2013 as a member of a slate of local union officer candidates that campaigned locally under the rubric “Teamsters United.”  Bucalo has declared his candidacy to retain his position in the local union officer election to be conducted in 2016; he has stated he will seek reelection to local union office on the Teamsters United slate, just as he did in 2013.


“Teamsters United” is also a name adopted in 2015 by a slate of candidates for International office now running against the candidates on Hoffa-Hall 2016.  Although the rubrics are the same, there is no affiliation between the Teamsters United slate at Local Union 100 and the Teamsters United slate of International officer candidates.


Among his duties as local union secretary-treasurer, Bucalo created and published periodically the official newsletter of Local Union 100, called “Teamsters Local 100 News.  The Teamsters Local 100 News was printed in full color and mailed to every member of Local Union 100 at local union expense; it could also be viewed  on the local union’s website.


By local union executive board action taken May 27, 2015, Bucalo was removed as editor of the local union newsletter.  In addition, the executive board brought internal union charges against him.  The filing of the charges did not affect Bucalo’s status as elected secretary-treasurer of the local union or his obligation to perform the constitutional functions of that office. 


In late June 2015, Bucalo created and published a newsletter titled “Teamsters News.  Bucalo posted the full color Teamsters News on his personal Facebook page and, on July 1, mailed a black-and-white printing of it to every member of Local Union 100.  The Teamsters News contained Bucalo’s endorsement of Tim Sylvester, Fred Zuckerman, and “the Teamsters United Slate” for International office.


The protest filed by Hoffa-Hall 2016 alleged that with Teamsters News, Bucalo used union “things of value” to campaign for and provide an impermissible union endorsement to Sylvester, Zuckerman, and the Teamsters United candidates for International office.  The protest filed by Meyer stated that the Teamsters Newslooks as if it is an official Local 100 document;” according to the protest, a comparison of it with past official newsletters “will clearly show how similar this document is.”


            The official local union newsletter.  Bucalo as local union secretary-treasurer created and published Teamsters Local 100 News, which the masthead states is “the official newsletter for Teamsters Local 100.”  A statement immediately beneath the masthead read:


Part of our mission is to inform and educate the members of Teamsters Local 100.  The Teamsters Local 100 News will be Published twice each year (January and July).  Special Editions may also be published when needed to inform members of important union news.  The articles and opinions expressed in The Teamsters Local 100 News may not represent the official positions of Teamsters Local 100 or the IBT.


The January 2015 edition, the most recent edition published, consisted of 12 pages and included a report and update from the local union president, a report on the local union’s financial condition, business agent reports and assignments, reports and announcements concerning pension and retiree matters, a section devoted to right-to-work legislation, additional news items detailing organizing and worker safety activities, and an announcement of a picnic to be held in July 2015.


The first page of the newsletter contained white space for insertion of a mailing label.  In that same space were the local union’s non-profit mailing permit and its return address.


The newsletter was published and mailed at local union expense.


Bucalo’s Teamsters News.  On July 1, 2015, Bucalo mailed the Teamsters News to the local union membership.  A statement immediately beneath the masthead of Teamsters News read as follows:


Teamsters News sponsors this unofficial newsletter for the members of Teamster Local 100.  Our Mission is to inform and educate the members of Teamsters Local 100.  The articles and opinions expressed in this Newsletter do not represent the official positions of Teamsters Local 100 or the IBT.  This is a member sponsored newsletter.  Secretary-Treasurer, Sam Bucalo serves as the Editor and Publisher for Teamster News.  Sam Bucalo is an elected Officer of Teamster Local 100 and an intended candidate in the 2016 Local 100 Election.  The opinions expressed here are protected by IBT regulations and by Federal Law.  The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects free expression.


Just as with Teamsters Local 100 News, the first page of Teamsters News contained white space for insertion of a mailing label, adjacent to the local union’s non-profit mailing permit and its return address.  However, Teamsters News also included at the bottom of the address space this disclaimer:


election campaign literature

contents of which are not endorsed by the union


Teamsters News consisted of 16 pages.  A headline on page 1 above the masthead read “local 100 members need to know the truth about the internal charges” and directed the reader to pp. 10 and 11.  The balance of page 1 was given to announcements of the Local Union 100 picnic, the schedule for local union meetings in the months September through December, a graphic directing the reader to page 2 for the local union financial report, another graphic directing the reader to pp. 6 and 7 for discount tickets to an amusement park, and two political items.  The first such item stated “Bucalo Endorses Sylvester-Zuckerman United Slate” and directed the reader to page 3.  The second was an American flag with the IBT horses-and-wheel logo superimposed upon it, and the word “teamsters” above the flag and “united slate” beneath it.


Much of page 2 of Teamsters News was devoted to the local union financial report, with bar and pie graphs, the trustees report, and an accompanying article lauding the accomplishments of Local Union 100 president David Webster and secretary-treasurer Bucalo in controlling spending.  In addition to this information, the bottom quarter page contained an “editorial box” and a reprint of the Teamster United Slate/American flag graphic seen on page 1.  The text of the editorial box read as follows:


editorial box

Teamsters News was created by Teamsters Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer, Sam Bucalo as an unofficial newsletter for the members of Teamsters Local 100.  The articles and opinions expressed in this Newsletter do not represent the official statements or positions of Teamsters Local 100 or the IBT.  The opinions expressed here are protected by IBT regulations and by Federal Law.  This newsletter and the associated web pages are intended to inform and educate the members of Teamsters Local 100. 

No Union Funds were spent on this publication or for the sponsorship of the associated web pages.

This newsletter and the associated web pages are sponsored and published by Teamsters Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer, Sam Bucalo.  Bucalo is an elected officer of Local 100 and also a Candidate for re-election on the Teamsters United Slate in the 2016 Local 100 elections.  If you have questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact us at:

(Emphasis in original.)


The email address included in the editorial box was Bucalo’s personal email address.


            Two-thirds of page 3 of Teamsters News contained an article and accompanying photo under the headline “sam bucalo endorses tim sylvester and fred zuckerman “the teamsters united slate.”  The photo depicted Zuckerman and Sylvester surrounded by more than 50 supporters, many of whom held blue, yellow and white “teamsters united!” placards that promoted “tim sylvester for general president.”  The article was a campaign piece that gave biographical information about Sylvester and Zuckerman and included quotes from Bucalo endorsing their leadership and candidacies.


            The bottom one-third of page 3 was titled “up-dated listing of agent assignments” and listed all employers under Local Union 100’s jurisdiction and the business agents assigned to service the membership at them.


            Page 4 of the newsletter was headlined “local 100 beat news officer and agent reports.”  A sub-headline read, “No Representational Reports were provided by Your Leaders at the June 2015 Executive Board.  Officers and Agents reported ‘progress.’”  Beneath these headlines ran a three-column article detailing labor-management issues at seven employers where Bucalo had business agent responsibility, with an additional column running over onto page 5.  The Teamsters United Slate/American flag graphic was reprinted on page 4 as well.


            Page 5 contained another reprint of the Teamsters United Slate/American flag graphic, beneath an article titled “Local 100 Newsletter Under New Management, Coming Soon.”  The article detailed the executive board’s decision to replace Bucalo as editor of the Teamster Local 100 News with executive board member Dave Hibbard, who the article said had served as the campaign manager for the slate of candidates competing against Bucalo’s Teamsters United Slate in the previous local union election.  According to the article, Hibbard produced “slanderous and dishonest flyers” in the previous election and was installed as local union newsletter editor after Bucalo filed internal union charges against a majority of the executive board who voted to sustain internal union charges against Bucalo.  The article called the executive board’s vote to replace Bucalo retaliation, stating that the newsletter under the new editor would cost more and contain less content than Bucalo-edited editions.


            Page 6 of the newsletter featured an article titled “Sam Bucalo Negotiates Local Discounts,” which lauded discounts Bucalo obtained for members at entertainment and banking establishments.


            Page 7 listed the IBT’s extensive array of member discounts available through its Teamsters Privilege program.


            Pages 8 and 9 featured the “local 100 update,” which detailed a decertification the local union suffered; a fine threatened against the local union by the county health board; a raid on its membership by the Machinists Union; and decisions by a majority of the executive board to dispense with summer monthly membership meetings; to maintain for officers and agents a monthly car allowance; to reimburse to all officers, agents, and employees the FICA tax withheld from their pay; to forego electrical and groundskeeping maintenance work on the local union hall; to purchase new laptop computers for officers and agents; to grant pay raises and stipend increases for officers and agents; and to refuse to make a donation to the memorial fund of a slain Cincinnati police officer, among other news.  The bottom corner of page 9 included a reprint of the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem that appeared elsewhere in the newsletter.


            Pages 10 and 11 presented an article titled “the truth about the internal charges,” Bucalo’s rebuttal to charges brought against him by a majority of the executive board.  This article was accompanied by a photo of six German World War II era soldiers and officers examining a document, the caption indicating that the persons depicted were the executive board majority and their allies who prosecuted the internal charges against Bucalo. 


Also on pages 10 and 11 were articles about spending by other executive board members, including one detailing two steak dinners of $100 or more purchased with union funds by one member, and monthly travel and food expenses incurred by that member and two others.  Also included were articles tallying the local union funds spent on the charges brought against Bucalo and on a trip one member took to seek IBT support for a suspension from membership of Bucalo.


Also printed on page 11 was a list of things Bucalo purchased with personal funds for the benefit of local union members.  Another reprint of the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem appeared on the bottom of page 11.


            Printed on page 12 was an article about the executive board’s decision to no longer purchase seniority pins for local union members.  Also printed on that page and pages 13, 14 and 15 were lists of local union members who had achieved seniority anniversaries of 10 or more years.  Page 13 at the bottom displayed another reprint of the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem.


            Page 16, the final page in the newsletter, gave details of the upcoming local union picnic.


            Bucalo told our investigator he developed the newsletter over several evenings on his home computer, without expenditure of union funds or use of union equipment or software.  There is no contrary evidence.


            Bucalo stated further that the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem that appeared in the Teamsters News was the emblem his slate used in the 2013 local union election and that he intends to use in next year’s local union election.  Protestor Meyer, who lost to Bucalo in the 2013 local union election, told our investigator he recognized the Bucalo slate flag emblem and did not confuse Bucalo’s Teamsters United with the Teamsters United slate pursuing International office in the current election.


            Bucalo also told our investigator that he exercised his right as a candidate for local union office to send the newsletter as a campaign mailing to the membership at his own expense.[1]  He said he followed the local union’s written procedures for conducting such a mailing.


            Those procedures, last used in the 2013 election, state that “candidates for office may request the Local Union to mail campaign literature to the membership.”  The procedures state that mailings will be done only by a mail house retained by the local union, that requests for campaign mailings must be made to the local union secretary-treasurer at least 5 days in advance of the date desired for the mailing, that the local union will advise the mail house of the date desired for the mailing and will deliver mailing labels to the mail house by that date.  The procedures further require that a candidate seeking to do a campaign mailing deliver to the local union with his/her request the full anticipated cost of the mailing, calculated according to a formula laid out in the procedures.  The procedures also state that “[t]o be entitled to the .119¢ rate, the return address of Truck Drivers, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union No. 100 must be used and the full name of the Union must be used somewhere in the text of the mailing.  Also, the envelope must clearly state “ELECTION CAMPAIGN LITERATURE – Contents of which are not endorsed by the Union.”

            Bucalo presented evidence that he complied with these campaign mailing procedures.  Thus, he prepared a letter dated June 24, 2015 on Teamsters United Slate letterhead (using the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem that subsequently appeared in the Teamsters News and had been previously used in the 2013 campaign).  The June 24 letter announced that he was “a candidate on the Teamsters United Slate for the 2016 Local 100 Officers election,” and requested a mailing.  The letter was addressed to himself as secretary-treasurer and signed by himself as “candidate on the Teamsters United  Slate.”  It asked that mailing labels be sent to the mail house for a July 1 mailing date and requested the specific costs that the mailing would entail, including the cost of mailing labels and the mail house’s charges for the mailing, among other costs.

            Bucalo’s June 24 letter was stamped received the same date by Local Union 100 staff.  On June 29, a letter from Bucalo as secretary-treasurer to Bucalo the candidate was prepared by the local union office manager, enclosing an invoice for the cost of the mailing.  The invoice stated the cost of the mailing would be $1,091.92.  The letter declared that mailing labels would not be sent to the mail house until payment in full of the invoice amount was received by the local union.

            Bucalo told our investigator he believed the invoice amount prepared by local union staff was a miscalculation based on an incorrect assumption that the item to be mailed was a postcard, not the 16-page newsletter (eight 11x17 sheets of newsprint folded) he intended to mail.  Accordingly, he recomputed the cost and estimated the mailing expenses, including the mail house fee, at $2,300.00.  He produced a certified check in that amount to the local union on June 29, the same date he received the invoice for $1,091.92.  The local union accepted the check and forwarded the mailing labels to the mail house.  Bucalo delivered Teamsters News to the mail house, and the mailing for 4,184 members was processed by the mail house and delivered to the post office on July 1.

            As things turned out, Bucalo overestimated the mailing costs.  The mail house invoice received by the local union on July 13 put the total cost of the mailing at $2,068.18, an amount $231.82 less than the sum Bucalo tendered to the local union on June 29.

            Sarah McFarland, long-time employee of Local Union 100 and its office manager, told our investigator that the procedures for mailing candidate literature have remained unchanged since she became employed in 1987.  Further, she stated that use of the local union’s return address on campaign literature mailed is a condition of using the USPS bulk permit.


Bucalo printed the newsletter through an online site for the sum of $1,110.36, which he paid with personal funds. The total cost to print and mail the newsletter came to $3,178.54.  Although Bucalo created Teamsters News in color, the version he mailed to members was black and white, being the less expensive option.


            The following images are the front pages of the January 2015 Teamsters Local 100 News official newsletter of the local union (left) and Bucalo’s personally financed July 2015 Teamsters News (right), as mailed to local union members:






Hoffa-Hall 2016’s protest alleged that Bucalo’s personally financed Teamster News misused union resources to endorse the Teamsters United slate for International office in three ways: 1) it was financed directly by union resources; 2) it improperly accessed the local union mailing list to carry out the mailing; and 3) it “blurred the lines” between a member’s personal endorsement and an official endorsement by Local Union 100 by adopting a style and format of union newsletter to mislead readers that the newsletter was the local union’s and not Bucalo’s. Meyer’s protest asserted that Bucalo’s newsletter violated the Rules because “it looks as if it is an official Local 100 document.”  We address these claims in the order they are presented.


Article VII, Section 12(c) bars use of union funds and equipment, among other things, to assist in campaigning.  Section 12(b) of the same article bars union endorsements of a candidate.  Article XI, Section 1(b)(3) prohibits a labor organization from contributing “anything of value, where the purpose, object or foreseeable effect of the contribution is to influence, positively or negatively, the election of a candidate.”


Addressing first the allegation that Teamsters News was financed by union resources, no evidence supports the allegation and all evidence bearing on the issue refutes it.  The documentation Bucalo presented demonstrates that he paid for the printing and mailing of the newsletter with personal funds.  Bucalo’s statement that he prepared the newsletter on his personally owned computer after hours in his home using personally owned software is credible and unrebutted.  Accordingly, we reject the first allegation as unsupported by any evidence.


We also reject the second allegation that Bucalo improperly accessed the local union mailing list to carry out the mailing.  We begin our analysis by noting that candidates under the Rules are permitted the opportunity to have their literature distributed by the union at candidate expense.  Article VII, Section 7.  Bucalo is not a “candidate” under the Rules, however, because he is not “actively seeking nomination or election for any Convention delegate or alternate delegate position or International Officer position.”  Definition 6 (emphasis supplied).  Accordingly, his right to distribute campaign literature does not derive from the Rules


It derives instead from LMRDA Section 401(c), 29 USC § 481(c), which requires every labor organization, including Local Union 100, “to comply with all reasonable requests of any candidate to distribute by mail or otherwise at the candidate’s expense campaign literature in aid of such person’s candidacy.”  Bucalo as a declared candidate for election to local union office enjoys this right.  Local Union 100 has a long-standing procedure in place that candidates may use to exercise their statutory right to distribute campaign literature to the union membership at personal expense.  Bucalo followed that procedure precisely, even to the point of recalculating the mailing expense to insure that the sum he advanced to the union exceeded the charge the mail house would make.  Bucalo, as a candidate for local union office, invoked his LMRDA Section 401(c) rights and we reject the contention that he improperly accessed the local union mailing procedure.  Further, because the local union forwarded the membership mailing list directly to the mail house, the evidence establishes that Bucalo never possessed the list as the protest claims.


The final allegation, the one shared by both protestors, is that Bucalo’s personally funded newsletter so closely resembled the official local union newsletter as to mislead readers to the belief that Local Union 100 endorsed the Teamsters United slate for International office.


The similarities between the two newsletters are plain.  Both are printed in a tabloid style, and the formatting of the front pages and layout of inside pages are similar.


The differences between the two publications, however, are obvious and significant to distinguish Bucalo’s newsletter from the official Local Union 100 newsletter.  Thus, where the official newsletter states that it is “the official newsletter of Local 100,” Bucalo’s newsletter states variously that it is an “unofficial newsletter” and a “member sponsored newsletter,” that the “articles and opinions expressed do not represent the official positions of Teamsters Local 100,” that “[n]o Union Funds were spent on this publication,” and that the publication is “Election Campaign Literature – Contents of which Are Not Endorsed by the Union.”  These disclaimer statements are included on the front page of Bucalo’s newsletter, including being prominently featured in the address box adjacent to the mailing label.  Further distinguishing the Bucalo’s newsletter as received by the members was that the official union newsletter appeared in full color while the Bucalo’s personal publication was in black-and-white.  These disclaimers, the repeated use of Bucalo’s Teamsters United emblems from his past and current local union electoral campaigns, his self-laudatory statements, and his attacks on the elected officials he perceives as his opponents taken together persuade us that Bucalo’s newsletter was campaign material promoting his candidacy for local union office.


In Galvan, 2015 ESD 21 (August 13, 2015), we considered a protest that claimed that the colors and fonts used on a union-funded solidarity t-shirt so closely resembled a campaign t-shirt that it constituted an improper union endorsement of that candidate.  We rejected that submission, writing:


We are unpersuaded that the union-funded shirt’s fonts and colors alone, without more, convey and reinforce the campaign message of the partisan shirt.  The language of the shirts is an essential element of the messages they convey.  Although the script used to present those messages is similar, we cannot ignore that the language of the union-funded shirt does not approach the line established by the cited decisions.


Here, although the layout of the newsletters is similar, the language of the Bucalo-sponsored newsletter – in particular, the repeated announcements that the newsletter is unofficial and is campaign material – makes clear that it is not a union publication.  Even protestor Meyer, a seasoned member of Local Union 100, could say only that the two newsletters appeared “similar;” he conceded that he was not misled that Bucalo’s newsletter was official.


            Nor did the inclusion of assertedly bona fide news of the local union render the Bucalo newsletter “official” and his personal campaign endorsement a Rules violation.  Our holding that the newsletter is campaign literature – self-declared as such and paid for with personal funds using the local union procedure for distribution of campaign literature – requires that we apply our precedents that the content of campaign literature generally lies outside our authority to regulate. See Sandford, 2006 ESD 142 (April 3, 2006), and cases collected there.  The Election Supervisor does not regulate the content of campaign material, even statements that are false.  The Rules allow for uninhibited, robust and wide-open campaign debate, and if there are remedies for misstatement or deception in campaign literature they exist outside of the Rules.[2]  The statements expressed in Bucalo’s newsletter therefore are not subject to regulation by the Election Supervisor or the Rules


            This result does not change where the content of the campaign material is said to be information that Bucalo came by solely because of his official duties as local union secretary-treasurer.  Here, Hoffa-Hall 2016 asserts that the information contained in expense reimbursement requests of executive board members Bucalo criticized is a “thing of value” which belongs to the union.  The campaign further argues that because Bucalo came to the information by reviewing reimbursement requests that were submitted to him as local union secretary-treasurer, he may not use the information for campaign purposes without appropriating a union asset – the information – and violating the Rules.  The campaign essentially asks us to hold that the Rules bar a candidate from discussing in campaign material information about union governance and finances that he learns because of his duties as an officer of the union.  We reject the campaign’s invitation, concluding instead that our reasoned approach of not regulating campaign content gives members the benefit of information and debate essential to a democracy.


We turn next to Bucalo’s right under the Rules to endorse candidates for International office.  Article VII, Section 12(b) permits an “endorsement of a candidate [to] be made by a Union officer or employee, but solely in his/her individual capacity.  The Union or a Local Union as such or the General Executive Board or an Executive Board of a Local Union as such may not endorse or otherwise advance a candidacy, even if all members agree on the endorsement or candidacy.” 


We analyzed the distinction between an endorsement made by a union official and one made by a union body in Jensen, 2006 ESD 167 (April 25,2006), aff’d, 06 EAM 37 (May 12, 2006):


Precedents under this provision make clear that endorsements by the Union or Local Union are prohibited. Thus, Hoffa, P954 (September 23, 1996), held that a local union’s executive board impermissibly endorsed candidates for International office; see also, Custer, P1098 (November 18, 1991) (the statement “Teamsters Local 673’s Executive Board unanimously endorse the Shea-Ligurotis Action Team” held an impermissible endorsement by a union body); Pope, 2000 EAD 3 (August 1, 2000) (endorsement resolution adopted at formal meeting of construction trades conference held improper); Jensen, 2001 EAD 479 (September 28, 2001), aff’d, 01 EAM 93 (October 3, 2001) (invitation to campaign rally from “the elected officers and business agents” of the local union violated the Rules).


While the Rules prohibit endorsements by the Union or a Local Union, endorsements by individuals are permitted even when the endorsement identifies the member by an official union position. Thus, Election Officer Holland in Moriarty, P1071 (November 15, 1991), found no violation when a letter contained endorsements from every member of the local union executive board, each board member’s name and title, and a statement that “the members” of the board unanimously endorsed a certain slate. The Election Officer explained, “[T]he Rules do not prohibit the members of an Executive Board from identifying themselves as such when [endorsing] candidates; as long as the endorsement is not made as an official endorsement of the Executive Board as an entity, but as individual endorsements by the members of the Executive Board, the Rules are not violated.” The Rules and Election Office precedent were applied in 2001 to permit a flyer headed with the words “A Message From Your President” that endorsed a slate of candidates in the local union’s delegate election and was signed by the individual, Phil Young, with the designation “President of Local 41.” Jones, 2001 EAD 222 (March 8, 2001). The Election Administrator held that the endorser had the same right to endorse as any other member and used his title to identify himself and not to convey official union action. See also, Sandford, 2006 ESD 142 (April 3, 2006). In allowing the flyer, the Election Administrator wrote:


The relevant precedent reveals a distinction between an endorsement by a local union institution, which is prohibited, and an endorsement by individual members who comprise a local union institution, which is permitted. [Citing Hoffa and Custer]. . . .


“[T]he Rules do not prohibit the members of an Executive Board from identifying themselves as such when [endorsing] candidates; as long as the endorsement is not made as an official endorsement of the Executive Board as an entity, but as individual endorsements by the members of the Executive Board, the Rules are not violated.” [Citation omitted]. In Custer, the Election Officer reiterated the distinction: “While members of the Local Union and Local Union officers have the right as individuals to express their preferences for particular candidates, the Local Union and the Local Union Executive Board as institutions cannot … endorse candidates.”


Jones, 2001 EAD 222 (March 8, 2001) (emphasis added).


Under the Rules and Election Office precedents, endorsement by the Union or Local Union “as such” is essential to finding a violation of Article VII, Section 12(b). Our precedents have given broad scope to individuals, and to groups of union members, who have endorsed candidates and used their titles for identification purposes in connection with the endorsement. What we have strictly prohibited under the Rules are endorsements that come from the Union or Local Union “as such.”


Applying this analysis, Bucalo’s endorsement of Sylvester, Zuckerman and the Teamsters United slate of candidates for International office was personal and therefore within his rights under Article VII, Section 12(b).  He stated in clear terms in the headline and the article text that the endorsement was his.  He did not state that the endorsement was made by Local Union 100 or its executive board.  The means by which he communicated the endorsement to the membership was funded by personal rather than union funds.  Accordingly, neither the endorsement nor the means of disseminating it violated the RulesSee Anderson, 2011 ESD 307 (August 5, 2011) (local union secretary-treasurer “is free individually to endorse and support the candidacy of any member.”  However, he may not use the local union’s “official publication or any other union resource to communicate that endorsement to the membership.”)


For all of these reasons, we DENY this protest. 


            Having denied the protest, we note that the endorsement Bucalo made of Sylvester, Zuckerman, and the Teamsters United slate of candidates for International office was a campaign contribution under the Rules because it had the purpose, object, or foreseeable effect of influencing the election of those candidates.  Endorsements are expressly defined as campaign contributions under the Rules.  Definition 5(f).


            Bucalo spent $3,178.54 printing and mailing of the newsletter that contained the endorsement to the membership of Local Union 100.  The endorsement of Sylvester et al consumed two-thirds of page 3 of the newsletter.  In addition, a small blurb on page 1 referred the reader to the page 3 endorsement.  Taken together, we find that the equivalent of one page of the 16-page newsletter was devoted to the endorsement.  One-sixteenth of the newsletter’s printing and mailing costs is $198.66.  We direct Teamsters United to record this sum as a contribution to the slate from Bucalo.


            In making this calculation, we find that the repeated use of the Teamsters United Slate/American flag emblem in the newsletter was intended to promote Bucalo’s local union slate and did not endorse the Teamsters United slate of International officer candidates.  Accordingly, we do not include it in the calculation of Bucalo’s monetary contribution.  In reaching this conclusion, we note that Bucalo’s Teamsters United emblem bears no resemblance to the emblem used by the International officer slate.  Further, there is no affiliation between the two slates, Bucalo is a candidate only for local union office, and protestor Meyer recognized the newsletter emblem as a local union campaign emblem.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within two (2) working days of receipt of this decision.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Supervisor in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing, shall specify the basis for the appeal, and shall be served upon:


Kathleen A. Roberts

Election Appeals Master


620 Eighth Avenue, 34th floor

New York, NY 10018


Copies of the request for hearing must be served upon the parties, as well as upon the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1050 17th Street, N.W., Suite 375, Washington, D.C. 20036, all within the time prescribed above.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.


                                                                        Richard W. Mark

                                                                        Election Supervisor

cc:        Kathleen A. Roberts

            2015 ESD 28  




Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001


David J. Hoffa

1701 K Street NW, Ste 350

Washington DC 20036


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

P.O. Box 10128

Detroit, MI 48210-0128


Barbara Harvey

1394 E. Jefferson Avenue

Detroit, MI 48207


Teamsters United

315 Flatbush Avenue, #501

Brooklyn, NY 11217


Louie Nikolaidis

350 West 31st Street, Suite 40

New York, NY 10001


Julian Gonzalez

350 West 31st Street, Suite 40

New York, NY 10001


David O’Brien Suetholz

515 Park Avenue

Louisville, KY 45202


Fred Zuckerman

P.O. Box 9493

Louisville, KY 40209


Sam Bucalo

6158 Kingoak Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45248


Teamsters Local Union 100

2100 Oak Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45241


Joe Childers

201 W. Short Street, #300

Lexington, KY 40507


Bill Broberg

1108 Fincastle Rd

Lexington, KY 40502


John Pegula

1434 Greendale Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15239


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 210

Ann Arbor, MI 48104



[1]Bucalo told our investigator he was not now a candidate for any position or office in connection with the International officer election.  Local Union 100 has not yet submitted a local union delegate election plan. 

[2] As an example, Bucalo’s newsletter identifies by name an executive board member who purportedly used union funds improperly to pay for personal travel and meals, including a $142 steak dinner at Harry Carey’s in Chicago.  We do not investigate that assertion for accuracy.  Whether or not it is true, and whether the executive board member has any appropriate remedy if it is not, is a matter beyond the scope of the protest process.