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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: ELIGIBILITY OF                          )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 71

            THOMAS COFFEY,                        )           Issued: January 16, 2016

                                                                        )           OES Case No. E-094-011216-MW

            Local Union 710.                               )                      



            James Hamilton, member of Local Union 710, 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 Thomas Coffey is ineligible for nomination as delegate to the IBT convention for alleged failure to maintain 24 consecutive months of good standing.  


            Election Supervisor representative Jeffrey Ellison investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Article VI, Section 1(a) of the Rules provides that “to be eligible to run for any Convention delegate, alternate delegate or International Officer position, one must:  (1) be a member in continuous good standing of the Local Union, with one’s dues paid to the Local Union for a period of twenty-four (24) consecutive months prior to the month of nomination for said position with no interruptions in active membership due to suspensions, expulsions, withdrawals, transfers or failure to pay fines or assessments; (2) be employed at the craft within the jurisdiction of the Local Union for a period of twenty-four (24) consecutive months prior to the month of nomination; and (3) be eligible to hold office if elected.”


The nominations meeting for Local Union 710’s delegates and alternate delegates election was held January 10, 2016.  Therefore, the 24-month period during which candidates must be in continuous good standing in order to be eligible for nomination ran from January 2014 through December 2015.  The protest alleged that Coffey “was nominated for delegate and is not working in the industry and has been off work for 12 months and has not been paid.  Therefore he does not have 24 consecutive dues paying months.  He should not be eligible.”


To verify Coffey’s eligibility during this period, we reviewed TITAN records for dues remitted on his behalf.  Coffey was employed by the local union as an elected business agent until the local union was placed in trusteeship in January 2015.  During the portion of the eligibility period through the month the trusteeship was imposed, Coffey was on dues check-off, and his dues were timely deducted and remitted on his behalf.  Following imposition of the trusteeship, the appointed trustee removed all elected officers of the local union.  In addition, the trustee removed all elected and appointed business agents, Coffey included.  From the time of his removal and continuing to present, Coffey made timely payment of full cash dues to the local union, and the local union accepted the dues and credited Coffey’s dues payment record.  Accordingly, Coffey has maintained continuous good standing with respect to payment of dues for the entire eligibility  period. 


We construe the protest also to challenge Coffey’s eligibility with respect to the second eligibility criterion, employment at the craft under the local union’s jurisdiction.  During the thirteen months of the eligibility period when Coffey was employed on a full-time basis by the local union, he qualified as working at the craft pursuant to Article VI, Section 2(h) of the Rules, which declares that full-time employees of local unions meet this criterion by virtue of their employment. 


Upon his removal from his union position by the appointed trustee, Coffey filed an appeal under the IBT constitution, challenging the right of the trustee to remove him.  Coffey’s argument was that the trustee had express constitutional authority to remove elected officers of the local union as well as at-will employees, but the constitution granted him no authority to remove elected business agents such as Coffey.  Coffey appealed first to the General President, then to the General Executive Board, both of which rejected the appeal; he has filed an appeal to the IBT convention, which is the last resort available to him under the IBT constitution.  Article VI, Section 2(b) of the Rules declares that “the active employment at the craft requirement may be excused … by active pursuit of … legal action challenging suspension or discharge.”  We hold that Coffey’s appeals under the IBT constitution are “legal action” within the meaning of this provision, as exhaustion of constitutional remedies is a prerequisite to any civil litigation Coffey might pursue.  Accordingly, his period of unemployment following the trustee’s removal of him from his elected business agent position does not render him ineligible for delegate under the Rules.  Eligibility of Moore, 2011 ESD 129 (February 21, 2011), aff’d, 11 EAM 23 (March 2, 2011).  We note further that Coffey retains recall rights with his former employer, who still operates under the jurisdiction of the local union, and that employer has offered to return him to work should his appeal to the convention be unsuccessful.  A member satisfies the working at the craft eligibility requirement if he is on a recall list with an employer under the local union’s jurisdiction.  Eligibility of McPartlin, 2011 ESD 79 (January 24, 2011), aff’d, 11 EAM 17 (February 11, 2011).


            For these reasons, we find Coffey has maintained continuous good standing for the 24-month eligibility period and is therefore ELIGIBLE to stand for delegate in Local Union 705’s delegates and alternate delegates election.


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

            2016 ESD 71 



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


James Hamilton

4555 Douglas Road

Oswego, IL 60543


Thomas Coffey


Teamsters Local Union 710

9000 W. 187th Street

Mokena, IL 60448


Bill Broberg

1108 Fincastle Road

Lexington, KY 40502


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104