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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: DAN GRONE,                           )                Protest Decision 2015 ESD 60

                                                                  )                 Issued: December 17, 2015

            Protestor.                                     )                 OES Case No. P-041-090115-ME     



            Dan Grone, member and delegate candidate of Local Union 100, 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 Local Union 100’s newsletter violated the Rules because it constitutes union-funded campaign material.


            Election Supervisor representative Lia Lockert investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Nominations for Local Union 100’s delegates and alternate delegates election will take place February 4, 2016; the local union’s election plan sets March 8 as the date for mailing out ballots to members and schedules the ballot count for counted April 5, 2016.


            This protest alleged that the official Local Union 100 newsletter published August 24, 2015 violated Article VII, Section 8 of the Rules, which prohibits union-funded publications from supporting or attacking “any candidate or the candidacy of any person.”


            Recent history shows that the local union publishes a newsletter twice annually, generally in January and July.  Dave Hibbard edited the protested issue that was published August 24.  Previously, Sam Bucalo, business agent and secretary-treasurer, edited several issues of the newsletter.  On May 27, 2015, the local union executive board voted to replace Bucalo as editor with Hibbard.


            On July 1, 2015, Bucalo published and distributed to the local union membership at personal expense a 16-page personal newsletter that he titled Teamster News.  Bucalo’s newsletter indicated that it was not the official publication of Local Union 100 but instead was campaign material in support of Bucalo’s candidacy for re-election as local union secretary-treasurer in 2016.  Bucalo’s newsletter included an article stating his personal endorsement of Teamsters United, a slate of candidates for International office.  It also contained negative and derogatory information about other members of the local union executive board and local union business agents, alleging misconduct in office on their part and attacking them for internal union charges they had brought against Bucalo. 


Bucalo’s personal newsletter drew two protests, one filed by Hoffa-Hall 2016 and the other by Local Union 100 member and former officer Jimmy Meyer; both protests alleged that the newsletter so closely resembled the official newsletter of the local union as to constitute an impermissible union endorsement of Teamsters United.  We denied the protest, concluding that the disclaimers in Bucalo’s newsletter demonstrated that it was campaign material in support of Bucalo’s candidacy for local union office and not a Local Union 100 endorsement of Teamsters United.  Hoffa-Hall 2016 and Meyer, 2015 ESD 28 (August 28, 2015).  In addition, six of the seven executive board members of the local union brought internal union charges against Bucalo over the personal newsletter.  These were presented to Joint Council 26, which dismissed two of the six charges and substantially limited the scope of the remaining charges.  Trial on these charges was initially scheduled for October 22, 2015.  We denied without prejudice Bucalo’s protest alleging that the charges were impermissible retaliation for his Rules-protected activity in publishing the newsletter.  Bucalo, 2015 ESD 43 (October 19, 2015), aff’d,  15 EAM 3 (November 16, 2015). 


            Protestor Grone is a candidate for delegate in Local Union 100.  He contended that the official local union newsletter published August 24, 2015 contained neither significant nor newsworthy material and was instead a puff piece promoting the union officials who will stand for delegate or alternate delegate election against him.  As such, Grone argued that the newsletter was union-funded campaign material that violated the Rules. 


            Article VII, Section 8(a) of the Rules prohibits use of union-financed publications or communications “to support or attack any candidate or the candidacy of any person.”  The “tone, timing and content” test is used to determine whether such publications engage in impermissible campaigning.  Martin, P10 (August 17, 1995), aff’d, 95 EAM 18 (October 2, 1995); Jacob, P71 (September 7, 1995), aff'd, 95 EAM 19 (October 3, 1995); Ruscigno, P67 (July 19, 1995); Lewis, 2001 EAD 357 (May 9, 2001).  The Election Supervisor must also review “the specific context in which the communication takes place.”  Jacob, supra.

Election Appeals Master Conboy explained in Martin, 95 EAM 18 (October 2, 1995), that an incumbent has “a right and responsibility,” as a union officer, to “advise and report to the membership on issues of general concern” to the membership, and is “entitled to use union publications to express [his] views.” [Citations omitted] “A union publication may report on the regular functions, policies, and activities of an incumbent officer, but may not provide coverage that supports the incumbent’s candidacy for union office.”  In general terms, “newsworthy articles or articles which contain purely factual information are generally permissible.”  However, “the publication of too many articles regarding a candidate for union office, however newsworthy, may indicate that union officials have [impermissibly] used the publication as a tool of the candidate’s campaign.”  Further, a union president’s messages that tout his accomplishments as union president can be impermissibly “promotional” in advance of a union election. 

In applying these principles to the Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter, published in August 2015, we find that one article violated the Rules while the balance of the newsletter did not. 

The third paragraph of the Report of the President, by local union president Dave Webster, stated the following:

[D]espite what may be available to read in certain “campaign” literature, I must say that I have been so impressed with the integrity and accomplishments of those working for Local 100.  As President, I want you to know that I was shocked by the publication’s contents when I first saw it.  Under no circumstances do I support or endorse the negative contents of that publication and it shouldn’t be construed as an official endorsement by myself or Teamsters Local 100.  The Officers and Agents who were attacked by the so-called “Teamsters News” have my full support and appreciation for their hard work, integrity and dedication.


This paragraph did not involve purely factual reporting that was politically neutral.  Instead, it expressed Webster’s opinions about and responses to campaign literature the local union membership received from Bucalo.  Webster’s opinions – “I have been so impressed with the integrity and accomplishments…”; “I was shocked…”; “I [do not] endorse the negative contents of that publication…”; persons “who were attacked … have my full support and appreciation…” – responded directly to Bucalo’s campaign literature.  While Webster had the right as a member and candidate to express his views about Bucalo’s campaign claims, Webster could not permissibly use the union-funded newsletter to communicate those views.  Accordingly, we find that this paragraph violated the Rules.


            In reaching this conclusion, we find Webster’s conduct similar to that in Hill, 2011 ESD 136 (February 24, 2011), appeal withdrawn, 11 EAM 25 (March 9, 2011) and distinguishable from that in Hoffa-Hall 2011, 2011 ESD 314 (August 28, 2011).  In Hill, the local union’s president responded to campaign literature with a union-funded letter on local union letterhead that portrayed the incumbent local union administration favorably and refuted the allegations made in campaign literature.  We held that the local union president’s response violated the Rules not because it took a partisan tone, which the president as a member and candidate had the right to do, but because it was printed and mailed at local union expense.  Also, distribution of the letter was timed to reach members’ homes at or near the same time as ballots in the delegates and alternate delegates election. 


            In this case, unlike Hill, timing is not a factor because the newsletter was distributed months before delegate nominations and the scheduled balloting.  Nonetheless, the content of Webster’s opinions here – a direct response to campaign literature, featured in the local union president’s official message to the membership – constituted campaigning.  Presentation of this partisan campaign message as an official communication from the local union president is the basis for finding the communication violates the Rules.


            Webster’s opinions contrasted with the purely factual response the local union made in Hoffa-Hall 2011.  There, the local union sent a letter four months after the delegate and alternate delegate election, reciting the facts concerning a union-funded employee benefits seminar that candidates had attacked in that election.  We held that the letter did not violate the Rules, reasoning as follows:


The local union’s mailing here satisfies the tone element of the review.  It addresses the two issues presented in neutral terms, does not attack the source of the information, avoids self-promoting language, and does not refer to any partisan or political motivation either for the original information or the response.

With respect to content, the issues addressed undoubtedly were ones of concern to the membership.  The local union has suffered a decline in membership and, with it, a decline in revenue.  The letter addressed the suggestion previously made to the membership that traveling to Hawaii for an employee benefits seminar was without beneficial purpose.  It also sought to justify as a cost-saving measure the action of reducing the number of full-time employees of the local union. 

Concerning timing, the communication to the membership came nearly four months after the delegate election was concluded and more than three months before ballots are to be mailed in the International officers election. 

In contrast, Webster’s response was neither factual nor neutral, it attacked the source of the information by referring explicitly to the source’s political motivation, and it used self-promoting language in defense of the officers and agents the campaign literature criticized.


            Having found that this paragraph of the Report of the President violated the Rules, we find no further violation in the Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter.  We discuss each of the protestor’s claims to the contrary separately.


The first page carried the publication’s title over a photo of Local Union 100’s hall, which was flanked on either side by an historic and the current IBT logos.  Above the title were the words Unity, Strength, Pride, and Dignity, centered between two American flags.  Beneath the photo was the following:

This newsletter is the only official publication of Teamsters Local 100.

All other publications or newsprints without this notice are distributed by others.  See page 8.

Member comments and suggestions are encouraged.  [phone numbers provided]


Page 8 of the newsletter, to which the reader was directed by the statement beneath the photo of the local union hall on page 1, displayed in the lower left corner the following –


official notice

this newsletter is the only official

publication of teamsters local union 100.

the members recently received a

mailing that resembled the prior

format of the local 100 official

newsletter.  it was a personal

publication of a member, sent at his

own expense, and it was campaign

literature for next years local

100 and ibt elections.  it was not

sponsored by local 100 and it does

not represent the views of local

100 as an organization.


Protestor Grone contended this notice constituted impermissible campaigning in a union publication because it “disparages the Teamster News campaign mailer sent by Bucalo.”   


We disagree.  The notice made two points, neither of which constituted impermissible campaigning.  It stated first that the Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter was the official publication of Local Union 100.  Second, it confirmed that the Teamster News, the personal publication of Bucalo, was campaign literature, as we held in Hoffa-Hall 2016 and Meyer, 2015 ESD 28 (August 28, 2015), a holding we note Bucalo advocated for.  These two points are both purely factual and newsworthy.  They therefore do not violate the Rules.


            The balance of page 8 was comprised of a listing of all executive board members and business agents, together with phone extensions of all full-time officers and staff; a color photo of seven Teamsters employed at KRD Trucking being sworn in at the May general membership meeting of Local Union 100; three color drawings, one depicting Rosie the Riveter, the other two styled on her, showing female industrial workers in heroic poses; a notice about the change in monthly membership meeting dates; and a notice encouraging members to obtain withdrawal cards when leaving their jobs.  Of these items, protestor Grone raised two objections to the photo of the members’ swearing in, which was captioned in part as follows:


“proud to be teamsters”

Proud KRD Trucking Teamsters get sworn in during the May Monthly Membership Meeting.  Steward Charlie Gabbard intends to bring this entire group in to be sworn.  If you have never been sworn, or wish to do it again, please attend the Monthly Membership Meetings!


First, he contended that newsletter editor Hibbard inserted this material in the newsletter because he has business agent responsibility for KRD Trucking and intended a “back whack”[1] for himself.  Second, Grone objected that the photo was taken showing the members’ faces, which according to Grone meant it was taken by an officer from the front of the meeting room.  We dismiss these objections.  Neither the photo nor caption identified or referred to Hibbard; instead, the presentation was properly focused on the members who appeared in the photo and their steward, who arranged for the unusually large and therefore newsworthy swearing ceremony.  Nothing in the precedents concerning improper use of union-funded publications for campaign purposes bars use of photos taken by officers that depict the faces of the photo subjects.


            Returning to page 1, Grone also objected to the lead article, by Local Union 100 president Dave Webster, titled “Right-to-Work and Pension Battles Illustrate the Real War on Workers.”  The article recounted a June 2015 trip to Washington D.C. by Local Union 100 retirees to protest the Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act of 2014 and to meet with U.S. senators and IBT General President Hoffa concerning a legislative effort to protect pension plans.  The article noted the potentially devastating effects that would follow from the failure of the Central States pension plan and similar plans and encouraged members to contact their representatives to address the issue.  The article also warned members to prepare for a legislative battle over enactment of a so-called right-to-work statute, concluding with respect to both issues that “[w]e must prepare for these battles and put forth a determined effort to combat and extinguish any and all attempts to destroy the middle class.”  Grone’s objection to this article was that it was a “re-write of the same two articles he placed in the last two Teamsters Newsletters (Oct 2014 and Jan 2015).”  We reject this objection.  Webster’s article in the August 2015 Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter was topical and newsworthy in that it recounted activity that occurred in June 2015 and addressed two issues that are of general current concern to the membership.


            Also on page 1 was an article titled “Teamsters Local 100 Vice President Ron Butts Serves on National UPS Frt. Panel.”  The item recounted a May 2015 appointment of Butts to the panel, which the article said “is thought to be the first such appearance on this panel by a Local 100 Officer.”  The article also listed Butts’ previous experience, along with business agents Brian Sizemore and Dave Hibbard, as sergeants at arms on the Ohio Joint State Committee (OJSC).  Grone contended that the article “panegyrizes” Butts, Sizemore, and Hibbard and rehashed information that was previously reported.  We disagree.  The article reports on the regular activities of the named individuals in a factual manner, not overly or unduly praising their positions.  An article in the January 2015 Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter reported that Butts, Sizemore, and Hibbard served as sergeant at arms on the OJSC in 2014; the current article reports that they remain in those positions and “now sit[] regularly” on various panels.  This reportage is purely factual and directed to the regular functions and duties of the named individuals.  We do not find it panegyric, commendatory, or acclamatory.  Instead, the article informs members that the local union’s officers and business agents hold adjudicatory positions outside the local union that carry potential benefit for local union members.


            Grone complained that this information was repeated on page 2, in the Report of the President, the same item which contained the Rules violation we found above.  There, local union president Webster began his report commenting on the many negotiations, arbitrations, and grievance hearings local union officers and staff have handled thus far in 2015 while, in addition, producing and promoting a successful golf outing and joint council picnic.  He then wrote:


On another positive note, congratulations to Vice President Ron Butts for being appointed to sit on a Teamsters UPS Freight National Grievance Committee Panel.  This is quite an honor for Ron and Local 100.  It’s rare that any of our Officers or Agents are selected for such a prestigious position.  Along with Local 100 Agent Dave Hibbard, who sits on the Ohio Freight Panel, Local 100 is well represented.  Way to go, guys!


We find nothing impermissible about this paragraph.  Webster is “entitled to use union publications to express [his] views” where, as here, they do not promote the candidacy of any individual or otherwise refer to a coming election.


            Page 2 also contained the Report of the Secretary Treasurer, Sam Bucalo, which recounted the financial position of the local union in purely factual terms.  The protest complained that the report was two months out of date.  Investigation showed that the report published was the one Bucalo gave editor Hibbard on June 29, 2015.  Under these circumstances, we find nothing improper about the local union publishing the financial report the secretary treasurer presented for publication.


            The Report of the Trustees and Recording Secretary also appeared on page 2.  The focus of this article was a description of trustees’ duties, both in reviewing and inspecting the monthly financial reports and in performing other assignments.  The protestor objected to this article as not newsworthy.  We disagree.  For members who are unfamiliar with trustees’ duties (a large majority, we suspect), the article is newsworthy.  Moreover, the article was directed to the regular duties and functions of elected officials and the description was presented in a purely factual way.


            Page 3 of the newsletter contained three articles on the left side of the page, two of which the protestor faulted.  The first, an article about the tentative contract with First Student, reported that the tentative national agreement was unanimously approved by the bargaining committee, gave dates for the ratification mail-ballot election, and declared that a ratified contract would be made retroactive to March 15, 2015.  The article also stated that “Agent Abraham has been very successful with the group.  Gary has improved the starting wage by over $2.00 per hour with a memorandum of understanding.”  Protestor Grone argued that this article contained “no information about the contract.  No terms of raises, or changes in the terms and conditions of employment.  It merely states that there will be a vote.  And, it makes a campaign claim that Gary Abraham had increased the wages for these workers.”  We find the article does not violate the Rules.  Contrary to the protestor’s contention, the article reported on the progress toward ratification and implementation of the contract, and that wages under the contract were raised “by over $2.00 per hour,” both of which constituted newsworthy information of general concern to the membership, particularly those employed by First Student.  We reject as without merit the protestor’s claim that the article was to be faulted because it both contained “no information about … raises” and because it reported a wage increase. 


            The second article on page 3 that drew objection from the protestor was titled “Local 100 Pursuing Key Organizing Vote Dates.”  It reported on current organizing efforts, the employers involved, and the dates set for election (where established).  The information was presented in a politically neutral, purely factual manner and thus complied with the Rules.  The protestor complained that the article “venerate[d] the names of the officers and agent” involved in organizing.  Where a union publication may permissibly report on the activities of its officers and employees, providing names of the persons engaged in the activities is fully authorized and not objectionable.


            Also appearing on the right side of page 3 was a single column titled “Current Status of Local 100 Internal Charges.”  What followed were brief descriptions of five separate cases of alleged misconduct filed under the IBT constitution.  Grone’s protest claimed that the descriptions were “an attack to slander Sam Bucalo.”  However, Grone told our investigator that to his knowledge the descriptions were factual.  He also argued that the local union had not previously published information about the charges, but there is no question that the articles were newsworthy.  At bottom, then, Grone’s protest about the case descriptions was that the newsletter’s factual reportage of newsworthy information violated the Rules.  This contention in no way states a violation of the Rules.


            Bucalo is named in each of the five case descriptions.  Our investigator was referred to him by the protestor, and Bucalo disagreed with the protestor that the case descriptions were factual.  Our investigator interviewed Bucalo at length and obtained a volume of documentation from him in support of his claim that the case descriptions were not factual and were misleading.  We note that Bucalo did not file a protest claiming that the newsletter violated the Rules.  However, we treat his evidence and argument as supplemental to Grone’s protest, even where it contradicts claims and concessions Grone made.  Our review encompassed records from the union charges, the newsletter’s report of the proceedings, and each description printed in the newsletter.  In each instance we conclude that the newsletter presented a fair and accurate report of the internal charges and that there is no Rules violation.  A detailed review of Bucalo’s contentions is attached as Appendix A to this decision.  


            Turning to the balance of the newsletter, the reports of the seven business agents appeared on three columns of pages 4 and 5, and the left of three columns on page 6.  Each report was topped with the business agent’s name, contact information, and photo, beneath which was a brief report of a few sentences on worksites under his responsibility.  The protestor and Bucalo contended that the presentation of Bucalo’s business agent report showed impermissible partisan bias because it started in the left column of page 4 and jumped to the left column of page 6.  In addition, the protestor and Bucalo contended that Bucalo’s report was cut substantially from the copy he submitted for publication.  We address these two points in the order presented.


            First with respect to the arrangement of the reports, we find no evidence of partisan bias.  Bucalo’s report consisted of approximately 12  column inches, yet each column of the newsletter is only 9 ½ column inches long, so it was inevitable that Bucalo’s report would exceed one column length.  We accept the editor’s statement that he configured the reports appropriately to fit the available space.  For Bucalo’s report, the bottom of the first column on page 4 was labeled “Bucalo Agent Report continued on page 6;” the resumption of the report on page 6 was labeled “Bucalo Agent Report (Continued from pg. 4).”  Given this labeling, we see no opportunity for reader confusion.


            Second, concerning the editing of Bucalo’s report, the report as printed was shorter than the copy Bucalo submitted.  Comparing the two, however, we find nothing substantive was omitted from the report as printed, and the resulting report was, in our view, more concise and readable.  Even though Bucalo’s report was edited for space, it still was by far the longest of the seven agent reports, as this table demonstrates:



Column inches
















            The final objection protestor Grone raised concerned the reporting on the First Student negotiations.  The page 3 article credited business agent Gary Abraham, stating, “Agent Abraham has been very successful with the group. Gary has improved the starting wage by over $2.00 per hour with a memorandum of understanding.”  Grone contended that the employer, not Abraham, proposed the wage increase in order to retain employees, and that the newsletter portrayed Abraham more favorably than was justified, for a partisan purpose.  However, Abraham’s agent report did not take a similar tack.  He wrote:


In a totally cooperative spirit, First Student has increased starting pay to $15.90 for all drivers.  The company has shown the initiative in order to retain and/or attract new employees.  The union applauds the company’s efforts and better things are yet to come.


Balancing these two articles about the First Student negotiations, we find factual reportage with no evidence of puffery or partisan positioning.  Accordingly, we reject the objection concerning First Student.


For the reasons stated, we GRANT the protest with respect to the third paragraph of the Report of the President on page 2.  We DENY the protest in all other respects.




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).


            We direct Local Union 100, its president Dave Webster, and its newsletter editor Dave Hibbard, to cease and desist from impermissibly using the local union newsletter or other union publication to respond to campaign claims.


            We further direct Local Union 100 to mail the notice attached to this decision to all members of Local Union 100.  If Local Union 100 publishes and deposits in the US Mail to its membership an edition of its newsletter before January 31, 2016, the notice mailing required by this remedy may be satisfied by reprinting it on page 2 of the newsletter, adjacent on the same page to the Report of the President.  Galley proof or the equivalent must be presented to OES adjunct representative Dan Walsh prior to publication and his direction with respect to layout consistent with what is ordered here must be followed. 


If Local Union 100 does not publish and mail its newsletter by January 31, 2016, it must mail the notice attached to this decision to all members by that same date, using US Mail first class pre-sort or better.


We order this notice distribution to inform the members of the Rules requirements, that certain local union officials have violated the Rules, and to deter future violations.


Proof of compliance with the notice publication must be made to OES within three (3) days of completing it.


            A decision of the Election Supervisor takes immediate effect unless stayed.  Lopez, 96 EAM 73 (February 13, 1996).


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 60 


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

Dan Grone

7962 Snider Rd

Mason, OH 45040


Teamsters Local Union 100

2100 Oak Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45241


Sam Bucalo

6158 Kingoak Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45248


Lia Lockert

P.O. Box 17

Peninsula, OH 44264



Dan Walsh

950 Duxbury Court

Cincinnati, OH 45255


John Pegula

1434 Greendale Dr.

Pittsburgh, PA 15239


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 210

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Office of the Election Supervisor

for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

1050 17th Street, N.W., Suite 375

Washington, D.C.  20036


844-428-8683 Toll Free

202-774-5526 Facsimile


Richard W. Mark

Election Supervisor




The Election Supervisor has found that Local Union 100, its president, Dave Webster, and its newsletter editor, Dave Hibbard, violated the Rules for the 2015-2016 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”) by impermissibly using the union-funded Teamsters Local 100 Newsletter, published by Local Union 100 in August 2015, to respond to campaign literature published by a candidate.  The improper campaigning was contained in the “Report of the President” column of that newsletter, where President Webster criticized campaign material a candidate had previously circulated among the membership and defended local union officials and employees that the campaign material had criticized. 

The Rules prohibit use of a union-funded publication to campaign for or against a candidate.  President Webster as a member and a candidate may campaign for himself and others, but he must not use the union newsletter, paid for with union dues, to do so.  Hibbard, as the newsletter editor, must not permit the newsletter to be used for campaigning.

The Election Supervisor will not permit any such violations of the Rules.  The Election Supervisor has ordered Local Union 100, Webster, and Hibbard to stop using union-funded publications to support or attack any candidate.

The Election Supervisor has issued this decision in Grone, 2015 ESD 60 (December 17, 2015).  You may read this decision at  


            Any protest you have regarding your rights under the Rules or any conduct by any person or entity that violates the Rules should be filed with Richard W. Mark, 1050 17th Street, N.W., Suite 375, Washington, D.C.  20036, telephone: 844-428-8683, fax: 202-774-5526, email:



Appendix A – Analysis of Newsletter Report of Internal Union Charges


The Local Union 100 August 2015 newsletter reported on five internal union charge proceedings.  The protestor referred us to Bucalo as a witness concerning this aspect of the protest.  Although Bucalo did not file a protest himself, we treated the positions he presented in the interview, that the reports were misleading and (under Grone’s theory) violated the Rules as a form of counter-campaigning or attack related to Bucalo’s self-published campaign newsletter.  We find that each report is a fair and accurate description of the internal union charge proceedings and that there is no Rules violation.  Our findings as to each report are set forth below. 



Former President Butch Lewis, Former Vice

President Jimmy Meyer and Trustee Michael Lane

Vs. Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo

Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo was found guilty by Joint Council 26 on May 5, 2015 of charges stemming from what was ruled to be an unauthorized trip billed to Local 100 and ordered to repay $476.35.  That decision was appealed to the International by all parties.  The General Executive Board upheld the Joint Council decision and, in addition, levied an additional two-week suspension upon Bucalo, citing in the ruling that the trip “could be characterized as embezzlement.”  Bucalo paid the money back to Local 100 and has appealed the decision to the 2016 I.B.T. Convention.


We reviewed the GEB decision, issued September 29, 2014, which gave the history of the case at the joint council and the GEB’s rationale for the decision it reached.  First, the joint council decision was issued May 5, 2014, not 2015 as the newsletter reported.  Bucalo told our investigator that he believed the misreporting of the year of decision was “misleading” so as to make the charges look more recent than they were.  Second, Bucalo said the phrase “could be characterized as embezzlement” was “taken out of context” and using it in the newsletter description “was intended to paint me in the least favorable light.”


            We reject the objection to this case description.  Although the description reported the year of the joint council decision incorrectly, this minor error did not change the impact of the piece so as to make it a political attack on Bucalo.  As for Bucalo’s claim that insertion of the embezzlement phrase was out of context, we find to the contrary that its use in the description accurately captured the context in which it appeared in the GEB decision.  Bucalo was accused and found guilty of improperly using union resources to travel to Washington D.C.  He made the trip to monitor a ratification ballot tally on the UPS contract, even though he had no business agent responsibilities for UPS members and the local union had designated another member as its representative to monitor the election.  When the local union president learned that Bucalo left on the trip anyway, he immediately contacted Bucalo to tell him that he was not permitted to use the local union credit card to finance any aspect of the trip.  In addition, the local union president carried Bucalo as away without leave and did not pay him for the days he was gone.  When the local union learned that Bucalo had used the union credit card to pay the trip’s expenses despite the local union president’s instructions, demand was made for reimbursement.  When that demand was ignored, charges were brought.  The finding against Bucalo included an order that he reimburse the union funds he had expended without authorization, which the decision said “could be characterized as embezzlement.”  We find that, aside from the misreported year of the joint council decision, the first case description is purely factual and presented in a fair context.  Moreover, it is newsworthy information of general concern to the membership.  Accordingly, we dismiss the protestor’s objection to this case description.


            The second case description read in its entirety as follows:



Former Vice President Jimmy Meyer Vs.

Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo and

President Dave Webster

On August 4, 2014, former Vice President Jimmy Meyer filed charges against Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo and President Dave Webster, citing violations in the administration of the Local 100 D.R.I.V.E. Fund.  The charges were heard by a panel appointed by the Local 100 Executive Board, which found President Webster not guilty of the charges.  The panel ruled that President Webster had appointed and relied upon Secretary Treasurer Bucalo, who, as the appointed Fund Administrator and as the elected Secretary Treasurer, was to keep the Fund in compliance with State of Ohio rules.  The Panel ruled that Bucalo was guilty of a failure in his duties to oversee the Fund and imposed as a penalty a 60-day suspension from office for this, his third convicted offense.  Bucalo’s appeal to the Joint Council is pending.


We examined the trial panel’s written decision and find that the description that appeared in the newsletter was a purely factual recounting of newsworthy information that was of general concern to the membership.  Accordingly, we dismiss the protestor’s objection to this case description.


            We do so despite Bucalo’s (not Grone’s) contention that the case description was misleading in two respects.  First, he argued that the description did not mention his argument that the panel was illegitimate under Article XIX, Section 1(a) of the IBT constitution.  That provision requires that “[c]harges by, against, or involving a majority of the members of the Local Union Executive Board shall be filed [with the joint council.]”  Charges were filed against two executive board members; a third member, Ron Butts, was expected to provide substantive evidence.  As such, four members of the executive board – a majority – were not involved.  Bucalo attempted to involve an additional executive board member, Mike Simonds, by calling him as a witness.  Simonds, however, had no substantive evidence to provide, and the trial panel concluded that the provision of Article XIX, Section 1(a) did not require that the charges be shifted from the local union to the joint council.  We conclude that the case description’s omission of Bucalo’s unsuccessful attempt to maneuver the case to the joint council did not alter its purely factual reportage. 


            Bucalo’s (not Grone’s) second objection to this case description was that the following sentence was not factual: “The panel ruled that President Webster had appointed and relied upon Secretary Treasurer Bucalo, who, as the appointed Fund Administrator and as the elected Secretary Treasurer, was to keep the Fund in compliance with State of Ohio rules.”  He argued that he was not the official fund administrator until he signed the proper paperwork in October 2014. 


Bucalo’s argument misses the mark.  In this protest decision, we evaluate whether the newsletter description of the trial panel’s decision is factual, not whether the decision the trial panel reached is correct or supported by the evidence.  The trial panel’s decision includes the following findings:


Brother Webster as the Principal Officer properly appointed Brother Bucalo … to be the Treasurer of the DRIVE Fund.


Brother Bucalo did not take the steps necessary to submit the form when he was appointed as the Treasurer of the DRIVE Fund by new President Webster in January 2014 and for at least the first nine months of the year, including for four months after he received the Richter letter about the unfiled report.  Brother Bucalo still did not correct the situation when Brother Meyer brought this matter to his attention in the late spring and again in the summer of 2014.  Brother Bucalo claims to have filed the Designation of Treasurer form (exhibit 2-B) on September 24, 2014, approximately six weeks after Brother Meyer filed the charges.  However, a further Meyer Exhibit (E-10) demonstrates the same exhibit as being stamped and received by the Secretary of State on October 24, 2014; Brother Bucalo explained he had failed to sign the form in both places where it was required, so the document was sent back to him to complete.


The Executive Board concludes that, as the duly appointed Treasurer of the DRIVE Fund, Brother Bucalo had specific duties to file the applicable form with the Secretary of State to formalize his designation as Treasurer and to make arrangements to change the signatories on the DRIVE Fund bank account.  His failure to do so constitutes a violation of, among other provisions, Article XXIII, Section 1 of the IBT Constitution and Section 4(A)(6), (9), (10) and (11) and Section 10(A) and (D) of the Local 100 Bylaws.


While Brother Webster as the principal officer generally is responsible for supervising the officers, the Executive Board concludes in this case that he appointed Brother Bucalo to be Treasurer of the account and reasonably relied upon him to handle these matters, both at the start of his administration and later when Brother Meyer brought the matter to his attention.


Based on these findings of the trial panel, we conclude that the newsletter reportage was factual and therefore in accordance with the Rules.


Bucalo’s (not Grone’s) final objection to the second case description is that it did not report that the 60-day suspension imposed by the trial panel was stayed after Bucalo had served 7 days.  We reject this objection because the description accurately reports the penalty the trial panel imposed.


The third case description read in its entirety as follows:



Teamsters Local 100 Executive Board Vs.

Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo

Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo was charged by the Local 100 Executive Board with improperly negotiating language into a collective bargaining agreement against the By-Laws of Local 100 and the directive of the Local 100 Executive Board.  The charges were heard by Joint Council 26 on July 9, 2015 and their decision is pending in the case.


Bucalo conceded to our investigator that the description is factual with respect to the charges filed against him but contended that the report nonetheless was misleading because it did not include his view that the charges were frivolous.  After the newsletter was published, Bucalo was found guilty of the charges, was ordered suspended from office for two weeks, filed an appeal, requested a stay of the suspension, which was denied, served the suspension, and filed two election protests, the first contending that the charges were retaliation prohibited by the Rules for his campaign support of the Teamsters United slate of candidates for International office, and the second contending that his locked office at the local union hall was entered while he was on suspension and surveillance equipment and devices installed on his computer and phone, among other allegations.  We denied the first protest in Bucalo, 2015 ESD 42 (October 19, 2015), aff’d, 15 EAM 2 (November 16, 2015).  We denied the second in Bucalo, 2015 ESD 44 (October 27, 2015).)  We conclude that the third case description complies with the Rules.


The fourth case description read in its entirety as follows:



Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo Vs.

1). The Appointed Executive Board of:

Trustees Dave Couch and Mike Lane,

Recording Secretary Mike Simonds,

Business Agents Gary Abraham and Dave Hibbard

2). Vice President Ron Butts

3). Former Vice President Jimmy Meyer

On May 11, 2015, Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo filed multiple charges against the accused, including racketeering, collusion, jury-tampering, embezzlement and other offenses, based upon the appointed Panel’s hearing and guilty verdict against him in the D.R.I.V.E. Fund case.  Joint Council dismissed most of the charges and set a hearing on the remaining allegations for August 26.


Bucalo (not Grone) contended that this description was misleading because it did not report that some of the charges he filed were remanded to the local union for consideration.  He also stated that he filed the charges over the process used in the DRIVE hearing, not the finding of guilt.  We reviewed the 76-page charging document Bucalo filed, which consisted of lengthy quotations of federal statutes, local union by-law provisions, and sections of the IBT constitution, as well as allegations of misconduct against the named respondents.  The joint council distilled some 15 separate allegations from this lengthy document, all arising from the DRIVE fund internal union trial against Bucalo.  The joint council determined that two of the allegations were also stated in Bucalo’s appeal from that trial proceeding and would be considered as part of the appellate process.  The joint council further determined that three allegations alleged misconduct in the processing of the DRIVE trial and would be set for hearing before the joint council.  The joint council dismissed seven allegations because they failed to allege a violation that would be subject to discipline under the IBT constitution or local union by-laws.  For the remaining three allegations, the joint council determined that it did not have jurisdiction because the allegations did not involve a majority of the local union executive board.  For each of these last three charges, the joint council wrote: “It is therefore dismissed as improperly filed with the Joint Council.  You may refile this charge with Local 100 pursuant to Article XIX, Section 1(d) of the IBT Constitution.”  All told, twelve of the fifteen charges were dismissed, while the remaining three charges were set for hearing.  We find that the newsletter’s report that the joint council dismissed “most of the charges and set a hearing on the remaining allegations” to be factually accurate.  We reject Bucalo’s claim that the case description failed to note that three charges were remanded for the reason that no charges were remanded.  Three charges that were filed improperly with the joint council were dismissed as improperly filed.  The joint council further advised Bucalo that he could refile the charges with the local union, should he so choose.  Accordingly, we reject the complaints about the fourth case description.


The fifth case description read in its entirety as follows:



Teamsters Local 100 Executive Board Vs.

Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo

The Teamsters Local 100 Executive Board recently filed Article XIX charges against Secretary Treasurer Sam Bucalo for multiple violations stemming from his recent campaign literature, including converting union property for his own use.  These charges have yet to be heard or scheduled by Joint Council 26.


Bucalo conceded that this description is factual.  We agree, and find no Rules violation.  After the newsletter was printed and distributed, the joint council issued a letter decision dismissing some of the charges and narrowing others, which it set for hearing.  Bucalo filed an election protest with us, alleging that the charges constituted impermissible retaliation against him, in violation of the Rules.  We denied the protest without prejudice in Bucalo, 2015 ESD 43 (October 19, 2015), aff’d, 15 EAM 3 (November16, 2015).


[1] A slang expression we interpret as equivalent to an “attaboy.”