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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: ANTHONY BLAIR,                       )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 121

                                                                        )           Issued: February 25, 2016

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case Nos. P-116-012016-MW  

____________________________________)                       & P-128-012716-MW


Anthony Blair, member of Local Union 89, filed two 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”).  Both protests alleged that the Zuckerman/Bolton slate in the delegates election improperly used a local union text list for campaign purposes while the local union denied the same opportunity to Blair’s slate. 


            These protests were consolidated for investigation and decision.  Election Supervisor representative Joe Childers investigated them.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Blair is a delegate candidate in Local Union 89’s delegates and alternate delegates election on the Hourly Workers Unite to Lower Dues! slate.  Zuckerman is principal officer of Local Union 89, a delegate candidate on the Zuckerman/Bolton slate, and a candidate for IBT General President.  Colvin “John” Bolton is secretary-treasurer of Local Union 89 and a candidate for delegate on the Zuckerman/Bolton slate.


The protests argue that Local Union 89 has a “text message” list, that the Zuckerman/Bolton slate has used the local union’s list to send campaign text messages, and that Bolton in his role as secretary-treasurer has denied use of the list to the Hourly Workers Unite slate.  These facts are said to violate the Rules.


Investigation showed that Local Union 89 has contracted with TXT180, a vendor, to develop capability of the local union to communicate by text message with individuals who sign up to receive such messages.  Thus, evidence established that Local Union 89’s website has a sign-up space in which individuals may enter their names and US cell phone numbers in order to receive “Local 89 Text Message Updates.”  In addition, the local union has solicited local union members employed at the UPS WorldPort, a UPS airhub under the local union’s jurisdiction, to sign up for text message updates.  The solicitation asks Worldport Teamsters “To receive contract info text: AIRUPDATES to 77948.”   Local Union 89 first established an account with TXT180 in September 2013.  It presently maintains five sub-accounts through this vendor.  They are “89stewards,” “airupdates,” “ground,” “stoptw,” and “union.”  The list has some 750 phone numbers on it. 


The 77948 number used to sign up for text updates is controlled by TXT180, a bulk text message vendor.  An individual signs up for the service by texting a designated identifier to the 77948 number – in the case of WorldPort Teamsters, the identifier is “AIRUPDATES” – and TXT180 adds the individual’s cell phone number to the “AIRUPDATES” category.  The account holder – for AIRUPDATES, Local Union 89 – may then direct TXT180 to send a specific message to all cell phone numbers on that category’s list.


TXT180 is a national company that receives signups and generates text messages in a broad range of categories, all using the 77948 number.  Thus, customers interested in receiving information about Bert’s Mega Mall, a seller of new and used motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, and dirt bikes in Covina, CA can sign up for text messages by texting “BERTS” to 77948.  Guests and visitors to the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas can sign up for text message about the events and offers at that property by texting “VEGAS” to 77948.  Citizens seeking to have information from the Beloit Public Health Initiative sent directly to the cell phones can text “BELOIT” to 77948 and receive it. 


The Zuckerman/Bolton delegate slate established an account with TXT180 in August 2014.  Its campaign material encourages supporters to text “FRED2016” to 77948 in order to receive campaign updates. 


The protestor urges the finding that the Zuckerman/Bolton slate has accessed the list accumulated by Local Union 89 to send a campaign message to local union members.  Investigation does not support such a finding. 


The phone numbers obtained by TXT180 through voluntary signups by individuals are maintained by that entity and used when the account holder seeks to send a text message to those individuals.  Once a person texts the name of the account to 77948, his or her cell phone number is registered to that account and only that account. The account holder can then send “blast” text messages to all persons who have registered their cell phone numbers to the account holder’s account.  Therefore, WorldPort Teamsters who have signed up for text messages from the “AIRUPDATES” account will receive only those messages Local Union 89 authorizes for distribution through that account.  Similarly, only those individuals who have texted “FRED2016” and so registered their phone number    will be able to receive messages authorized by the Zuckerman/Bolton slate.


With respect to Local Union 89’s sub-accounts with TXT180, evidence shows that no blast text messages have been sent to the cell phone numbers in any of these sub-accounts in the past 60 days.  The Zuckerman/Bolton slate sent a total of two blast texts to the numbers on the FRED2016 account, one on February 7, the other on February 8.  Both were campaign messages and were timed to coincide approximately with the arrival of ballots in the delegates and alternate delegates election.  The campaign messages were not sent to any of Local Union 89’s sub-accounts.


Article VII, Section 7 of the Rules establishes procedures the union must follow to permit mailing and emailing of campaign messages to the union membership.  No provision requires the union to make cell phone numbers available for text message campaigning.  If a union elects to make such numbers available, it must provide advance written notice of the availability of the resource and refrain from discrimination among candidates.  Local Union 89 has not made the cell phone list accumulated in the union’s TXT180 sub-accounts available for campaigning, and we find specifically that the Zuckerman/Bolton slate has not used or been permitted to use the local union cell phone list for campaigning.


Investigation further showed that the list accumulated by the Zuckerman/Bolton slate was developed using campaign and not local union resources.


Accordingly, we DENY these protests.


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 121



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


Anthony Blair

799 Equinox Blvd

Mt. Washington, KY 40047


Teamsters Local Union 89

3813 Taylor Blvd.

Louisville, KY 40215


Joe Childers

201 W. Short St, Ste 300

Lexington, KY 40507


Bill Broberg

1108 Fincastle Road

Lexington, KY 40502


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104