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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: LARRY PARKER,                         )           Protest Decision 2015 ESD 54

                                                                        )           Issued: November 24, 2015

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-069-102615-FW     



            Larry Parker, member of Local Union 986, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2015-2016 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protest alleged that Chris Muller and Bobby Block interfered with Parker’s campaign rights by coercing and intimidating him, in violation of the Rules.


            Election Supervisor representative Michael Miller investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            On Friday, October 23, 2015, Parker campaigned in support of the Teamsters United slate in the parking lot where employees park their vehicles at the Yellow Freight terminal in Orange, California,.  The YF terminal is under the jurisdiction of Local Union 952.  Parker arrived at about 6:30 a.m. and campaigned without interference for several hours.  At about 9:30 a.m., however, Parker said he was approached by Muller and Block, men he had never met and did not recognize.  Muller confronted Parker and loudly told him to “Get the fuck out of here!”  Parker replied that he had the right to campaign on the parking lot and was not going to leave.  A brief argument settled into a civil and respectful conversation, in which the three exchanged information about union politics and issues confronting the membership.  The conversation lasted some 15 minutes.  After the conversation ended, Parker left the parking lot because no YF employees were arriving or leaving the facility.  He returned at 2:30 p.m. the same day at the suggestion of Muller and campaigned without interference until about 6:00 p.m.

         Muller largely corroborated Parker’s account of the exchange between them, except with respect to tone.  Muller admitted that his opening statement to Parker was a directive to leave the premises, but denied that it was loud, vulgar and offensive.  He stated that when Parker replied that he had the legal right to remain, both Muller and Block agreed.  Muller said the three then had a cordial and mutually respectful conversation about the election, the issues it presented, and the candidates running for office. 

         Block conceded to our investigator that Muller confronted Parker in a verbally aggressive manner before the interaction settled into a calm and substantive conversation about the election and the issues it presented. 

         Our investigator interviewed other witnesses, none of whom was close enough to Parker, Muller and Block to hear their exchange. 

         Article VII, Section 12(g) prohibits threats for activity protected by the Rules. However, a threshold must be crossed before threats or violence will be found to violate the Rules.  Jorgensen, 2000 EAD 72 (December 26, 2000); Rodriguez, 2000 EAD 45 (November 3, 2000); Yocum, 2000 EAD 18 (September 1, 2000) (loud, rude and obnoxious behavior of union steward as member attempted to have other members sign petition not unlawful); Wasilewski, 2000 EAD 14 (August 14, 2000) (words exchanged between two sides in the context of petitions being signed).  To find an improper threat, activity must constitute a palpable threat of imminent harm.  Ramos, 2006 ESD 65 (February 3, 2006); Galvan, 2011 ESD 130 (February 21, 2011).


         We find that Muller’s opening to Parker was confrontational, loud, rude, and obnoxious.  However, we find it did not cross the line to the palpable threat of imminent harm the Rules prohibit.  There is no dispute that the two had a mutually respectful conversation about the election and that Parker returned to the parking lot later that day to continue campaigning.  Thus, Parker’s conduct after the interaction confirms that he was not intimidated or coerced.  Trueman, 2011 ESD 123 (February 21, 2011). 


         Parker’s protest also asserted that Muller and Block were employees of Local Union 952, suggesting perhaps that they were on union-paid time when they confronted him.  Investigation found that Muller is employed by the local union as a maintenance worker; Block is an organizer whose salary is shared equally by the local union and the IBT. 


Union employees retain the right to engage in campaign activity, just as rank-and-file members do, so long as they do not campaign on time paid for by the union.  The Rules declare that campaigning by union employees on lunch break is permissible.  Article VII, Section 12(b).  Muller and Block stated they were enroute to a restaurant for lunch when, driving by the YF terminal, they saw Parker and stopped to speak with him.  We investigated this claim and found that the route they took from the local union hall to the restaurant where they said they were headed is a direct one, and is a plausible choice of travel.  Further, although the interaction with Parker occurred at 9:30 a.m, a time that might seem unusual for “lunch,” the local union’s principal officer confirmed that Block and Muller were assigned to begin working that day at or before 6:00 a.m., making a 9:30 a.m. time for lunch reasonable under the circumstances.


            Accordingly, we DENY this protest.


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 54 



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


Larry Parker


Christopher Muller


Bobby Block


Teamsters Local Union 952

140 S. Marks Way

Orange, CA 92868


Teamsters Local Union 986

1198 Durfee Avenue

South El Monte, CA 91733


Robert Baptiste

Baptiste & Wilder, P.C.

1150 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 315

Washington, DC 20036


Michael Miller

P.O. Box 251673

Los Angeles, CA 90025


Deborah Schaaf

1521 Grizzly Gulch Drive

Helena, MT 59601


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 210

Ann Arbor, MI 48104