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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: RICHARD GODIN, JR.,               )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 128

                                                                        )           Issued: February 29, 2016

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-136-013116-CA     



            Richard Godin, Jr., member of Local Union 938, 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 Joseph Jephson threatened that local union leadership would not represent Godin, Jr. and his co-workers fairly because of the candidacy of Godin, Jr. in the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election.


            Election Supervisor representative Jack Sullens investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Local Union 938 held the nominations meeting for its delegates and alternate delegates election on January 9, 2016.  Godin, Jr. was nominated for delegate as an unaffiliated candidate. 


            Godin, Jr., a steward at his worksite, told our investigator that on January 28, 2016, he participated in a conference call with Joseph Jephson and José Rodrigues, both of whom also are stewards.  Godin, Jr. stated that during this call, Jephson declared that the business agent responsible for their worksite, Shahan Simon, and local union secretary-treasurer Bob Miles would not represent the worksite fairly because of Godin, Jr.’s candidacy in the delegates and alternate delegates election.


            Rodrigues corroborated Godin, Jr.’s account of the conference call in every material way.  Rodrigues further stated that, immediately after the conference call, he and Godin, Jr. phoned Simon to tell him what Jephson said.  Simon replied that Jephson did not speak for the local union and that Godin, Jr.’s candidacy would in no way affect the manner in which the local union represented Godin, Jr. or the membership at his worksite or cause the local union to fail in its duty of fair representation.


            Simon confirmed to our investigator that he received the call from Rodrigues and Godin, Jr., and told them both that Jephson did not speak for the local union and that the candidacy of Godin, Jr. would not impact representation of the membership at his worksite.


            Jephson denied the statement that Godin, Jr. and Rodrigues attributed to him.


            We credit Godin, Jr., and Rodrigues, finding that Jephson made the statement these witnesses attributed to him.  We do not credit Jephson’s denial.


Article VII, Section 12(g) prohibits threats for activity protected by the RulesArticle VII, Section 12(a) of the Rules states that “Union members retain the right to participate in campaign activities, including the right to run for office, to support or oppose any candidate, to aid or campaign for any candidate, and to make personal campaign contributions.”  This provision gave Godin, Jr. the right to seek election as delegate. Ramos, 2006 ESD 65 (February 3, 2006).

A threat to withdraw union support because of protected activity violates the RulesOstrach, 2000 EAD 57 (December 6, 2000), aff'd, 01 EAM 015 (January 19, 2001) (threat to refuse picket line support because of union official’s candidacy in International election violated Rules); Echeveria, 2006 ESD 66 (February 3, 2006) (steward’s threat that “I’ll remember you inside” if members signed an accreditation petition for candidates the steward opposed violated the Rules as a threat to withdraw union support).


Here, Jephson’s threat was not to withdraw his representation of the workforce because of Godin, Jr.’s protected activity.  Rather, it was a threat that the local union and, in particular, the business agent and secretary-treasurer would withdraw representation of the workforce.  The threat was immediately disavowed by the business agent in unambiguous terms, both by saying that Jephson did not speak for the local union and that the candidacy of Godin, Jr. would have no impact on representation by the local union or its officials.


For this reason, we find that Jephson’s statement did not itself utter a threat; instead, it purported to convey the threat of another, a threat that was not made by the source to whom it was attributed and was immediately disavowed by that source.  Accordingly, we DENY the 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

            2016 ESD 128




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


Richard Godin

1140a The Queensway

Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1P7


Teamsters Local Union 938

275 Matheson Blvd. East

Mississauga, ON L4Z 1X8


Jack Sullens

462 Sandpoint Ct

Windsor, ON N8P 1S3


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104