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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: CERTAIN ACCREDITATION   )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 150

            PETITIONS FROM                         )           Issued: March 21, 2016

            LOCAL UNION 938.                       )           OES Case No. P-034-081315-CN     



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”), filed anonymously with the Office of the Election Supervisor (“OES”), alleged that several thousand names had been forged on accreditation petitions circulated in Local Union 938 and that union resources had been used impermissibly to obtain Social Insurance Numbers needed to complete the petitions.  The anonymous protestor asserted that three officers of Local Union 938, President Craig McInnes, Secretary Treasurer Bob Miles, and Vice President Vince Johnson, were responsible for this conduct.


            Election Supervisor representative Jack Sullens investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Article X of the Rules permitted candidates and slates of candidates for International office to seek accredited status by which they could publish campaign material in Teamster magazine and obtain a union-wide membership list to be used to advance their candidacies for International office.  To obtain accredited status, each such candidate or slate was required to obtain signatures on petitions of at least 2.5% of the membership of the union-wide or regional membership pool applicable to the office sought. 


The subject of this protest was the effort by officers, employees, and members of Local Union 938 in Mississauga, Ontario to obtain petition signatures in support of the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.


The slate accreditation petition form (Election Supervisor Form 16) listed four columns in which members may print their names, sign the form, and print their local union numbers and the “Last 4 Digits of SSN/SIN.”  SIN refers to the Social Insurance Number, a 9-digit identification number assigned to Canadian residents in a similar way that Social Security Numbers are assigned to US residents.


Investigation showed that 203 slate accreditation petitions were submitted to OES bearing names of persons who were said to be members of Local Union 938.  Each petition had lines for 15 signatures.  Many petitions had all 15 lines filled (indeed, several had a sixteenth line of information squeezed in); the remaining petitions had between 1 and 14 lines filled. 


We focused on the SIN numbers displayed on the petitions to attempt to determine whether they were supplied by the members signing the forms or were obtained and entered later from another source.   If the numbers were supplied by the petition circulator or a person acting in concert with or under his/her direction from TITAN records or employer payroll records or similar sources, the person(s) responsible – and by extension the campaign that benefited – could be liable for an impermissible use of union or employer resources to support a candidate.

Our examination of the petitions revealed four categories of anomalies that raised suspicion about the provenance of the SIN numbers.  Thus, the SIN numbers on twelve petitions all appeared to be written in the same hand, with the handwriting clearly different than that used to complete the name, signature, and local union number in the other columns of the petition.[1]  In addition to these, twenty-five petitions showed that the SIN number was completed in a different color ink than was used for the writing in the other columns on the same lines of the petition.  Four more petitions listed the SIN numbers in a perfect column with numbers of nearly identical size and slant, an appearance that was in marked contrast to the less disciplined rendition of names, signatures and local union numbers that ranged across the spaces in each of their respective columns; further, the numeral “8” used in the SIN number column on these petitions was idiosyncratically distinctive whenever it appeared in the SIN number column, and was different in form from the 8s that were written in the local union number “938” in the adjacent column.  Three petitions showed isolated SIN numbers crossed out and another number entered next to it in the same space; the crossed-out number appeared in the space on the next line down, suggesting that the writer of the SIN numbers carelessly entered the wrong number on a given line and then corrected it.


All told, slightly more than twenty percent of the petitions containing names of Local Union 938 members submitted to OES by Hoffa-Hall 2016 included SIN numbers that we concluded were of dubious provenance.  Nine of these petitions showed Omkar Maraj, a Local Union 938 business agent, as the circulator.  Six showed local union vice president Vince Johnson as the circulator.  Another six listed Wayne Franklin, another business agent, as circulator.  Three more petitions in this group listed other business agents, Rick Davies, Shahan Simon, and Stuart Villanueve, as circulators.  Collectively, more than half of the petitions we found suspicious listed local union officers or business agents as petition circulators.


We suspected that the SIN numbers on the petitions at issue were obtained from TITAN records, which include SSN and SIN numbers in the member records and are readily accessible to local union staff.  We held this suspicion for three reasons.  First, various stewards told us that they circulated petitions at the behest of their business agents and turned in petitions that were largely devoid of SIN numbers, yet the petitions Hoffa-Hall 2016 submitted to us had very few omissions of these numbers.[2]  Second, we contacted a random sampling of petition signers, most of whom told us that they did not enter their SIN numbers on the petition either because they did not know them from memory or because they never would supply even a fragment of the number on a petition.  Third, our investigator, a citizen and lifelong resident of Canada, told us it was his experience that most Canadians (including himself) did not know their SIN numbers from memory because the number is not used as widely for identification as the SSN number is by US residents; moreover, the SIN number is stated in three groups of three numerals (e.g., xxx-xxx-xxx) rather than the SSN grouping of three-two-four (xxx-xx-xxxx), making it less likely a Canadian resident would recall the last four digits of his/her SIN number.[3]


We acted on this suspicion by interviewing by phone and then in person under oath the three TITAN operators employed by Local Union 938.  All denied, under oath, that they knowingly supplied or assisted in supplying SIN numbers or number fragments that were used to complete accreditation petitions; they also denied, under oath, any knowledge as to whether or how such numbers might have been supplied from union or employer records.  We also interviewed Craig McInnes, Bob Miles, and Vince Johnson, all of whom denied any knowledge whatsoever of SIN numbers being missing from petitions.  Omkar Maraj told our investigator that he noted SIN numbers missing from petitions, contacted the members involved to obtain the numbers, and then filled them in himself.  We find this statement implausible and untrustworthy because the sheer volume of petitions purportedly circulated by Maraj that had SIN numbers entered in a different hand or color of ink show that the task of contacting each member to obtain the missing information was impossible under the time constraints that obtained in the petitioning process.


We find that scores if not hundreds of petition signatures collected from Local Union 938 members lacked SIN numbers supplied by the signer.  However, we lack sufficient evidence to prove that the SIN numbers were obtained from union or employer records, absent a cooperating witness.  Accordingly, we find no violation of the Rules for impermissible use of union or employer resources to support a candidate.


Maraj told our investigator that he did not circulate the large majority of the petitions that listed him as the petition circulator.  He made this admission when explaining why he had to contact members to request their SIN numbers rather than merely ask them face-to-face when they signed the petitions to fill in the space themselves.  Maraj conceded that the petitions were circulated by stewards at his request and then turned in to him with the circulator verification section of the form left blank; he then filled in that section with his own name and signature.  This arrangement violated the Rules and rendered the petitions void.  Article X, Section 2(a)(3) requires the circulator of the petition to certify the validity and accuracy of its contents, a certification that cannot be done if the circulator does not witness each signature on the petition. The certifying language declares that the circulator “certif[ies] that the signatures on this sheet were signed in my presence and are genuine.”  See Thornsberry, 2000 EAD 48 (November 17, 2000) (“The purpose of the rule requiring certification of petition signatures is to serve as a check against fraud; that purpose is circumvented entirely if the individual certifying the signatures has not witnessed them in the first instance.”); and Thornsberry, 2005 ESD 9 (September 8, 2005).


For this reason alone, we GRANT the protest and invalidate all fifteen petitions, containing a total of 159 signatures, that listed Maraj as the petition circulator.  The protest in this matter was filed during the period that OES was reviewing the accreditation petitions submitted by Hoffa-Hall 2016.  Local Union 938 is situated in the IBT Canada region.  Petition signatures on the fifteen petitions that listed Maraj as the circulator were intended to count toward accreditation of union-wide candidates and Canada region vice president candidates on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.  Our review of the petitions Hoffa-Hall 2016 submitted found 101,410 complete, validated signatures for union-wide candidates, well in excess of the 30,974 needed to accredit them.  In addition, we found 14,133 complete, validated signatures for the slate’s Canada region candidates, more than five times the 2,594 signatures necessary to accredit them.  Subtracting 159 signatures on the petitions that listed Maraj as the circulator from each of these totals does not impair the accreditation we previously granted to union-wide and regional candidates on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.  We order no further remedy.  See Hoffa-Hall 2016, 2016 ESD 151 (March 21, 2016).


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 150



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


Teamsters Local Union 938

275 Matheson Blvd. East

Mississauga, ON L4Z 1X8


Tracey Henry

Cavalluzzo Shilton McIntyre Cornish LLP

474 Bathurst Street, Suite 300

Toronto, Ontario  M5T 2S6


Jack Sullens

462 Sandpoint Ct

Windsor, ON N8P 1S3


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

[1] Unlike the petitions examined in Hoffa-Hall 2016, 2016 ESD 151 (March 17, 2016), where all handwriting on a petition except for signatures was entered by a “scribe” with legible handwriting, each line on the petitions described here appeared to be filled in by a different person – except in many cases for the SIN number, which appeared to be written by one person.

[2] Of the few lines that were missing SIN numbers on petitions submitted to OES from Local Union 938, most of the handwriting was illegible or nearly so, leading us to conclude that the reason the SIN number was not supplied after the petition was signed was because the person(s) reviewing the petition for the purpose of filling in the SIN number could not decipher the handwriting sufficiently in order to look up the number.

[3] With some frequency, the SIN number fragment apparently written on petitions from Local Union 938 by the person who completed the rest of the line consisted only of the last three digits of the number, providing support for this point.