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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: TEAMSTERS UNITED,               )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 157

                                                                        )           Issued: April 1, 2016

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case Nos. P-210-030716-SO    



Teamsters United filed a post-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 balloting irregularities in Local Union 2011’s delegates and alternate delegates election denied the slate the protestor supported a fair election. 


            Election Supervisor representatives Dolores Hall and Patrick Dooner investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Under Article XIII, Section 3 of the Rules, post-election protests may be filed concerning election day or post election day conduct.  Subsection (b) of this provision states that post-election protests “shall only be considered and remedied if the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election.”  The protest in this case was filed March 7, four calendar days (and two working days, when the intervening weekend is excluded) after the tally of ballots was conducted in this case.  Accordingly, we consider this protest against the standard established by Article XIII, Section 3(b).


Local Union 2011 is a statewide union of Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) employees, including probation, parole, and correctional officers.  Two full slates competed for the five delegate and five alternate delegate seats up for election in this local union.  Protestor Teamsters United supported the FDOC Teamsters United slate, which opposed the FDOC Teamsters Strong slate.


Ballots were mailed in the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election on February 5 and counted on March 3.  Of 4,545 ballot packages mailed, 548 valid ballots were returned and counted.  The Teamsters Strong slate received more votes than the Teamsters United slate for all contested positions.  The margin between the winning delegate candidate with the fewest votes and the losing candidate with the most votes was 26; the corresponding margin in the alternate delegates race was 42.


The protest made three allegations:


  1. Numerous members were not sent ballots in a timely manner despite repeated phone calls and requests made to the local union;
  2. The ballots of numerous members who said they had returned their ballots by mail were not received in the post-office box as of the day of the vote count; and
  3. Voted ballots were received for members who did not mail in ballots on their own behalf, which strongly suggested that ballot collection occurred.


Per the approved local union election plan, the election was administered by a local union election committee as well as staff of the local union.  The local union office is in Tampa, FL.  Under the plan, the local union hired post office boxes in two separate branches of the United States Postal Service, one in Brandon, FL for voted ballots, the other in Mango, FL for ballot packages returned as undeliverable (RAU).  When the local union mailed ballot packages on February 5, the return address on the ballot package envelope was the Mango post office box; the address on the envelope for members to mail in their voted ballots was the Brandon box. 


The local union assigned Yasmine Rhodes to pick up RAUs from the Mango post office periodically and deliver them to Olesia Trobaugh, an office clerical employed by the union.  Trobaugh counted the packages received from Rhodes, noted that number with the date of pickup, and then logged the names and addresses of the returned ballot packages.  Trobaugh then turned the information over to Idie Rodriguez, another office clerical, who checked the address information against a roster received from the Florida Department of Corrections, the employer.  FDOC employees are required as a condition of employment to maintain current addresses with the employer, so the FDOC employee roster, issued quarterly, is the source for the most up to date address information.  If Rodriguez noted the address on the current FDOC roster was different than that shown on the RAU for a particular member, she forwarded the different address to Trobaugh for remailing of a replacement ballot package to the member at the address drawn from the FDOC roster.  If the address on the RAU was the same as that shown on the FDOC roster, she asked a business agent to contact the steward at the facility where the member worked to ask for an updated address.[1]  If the sources yielded a new address, Trobaugh would remail a replacement ballot package.  The data of RAU pickup and remailing showed the following:


RAU processing

# picked up

Date picked up from Mango and delivered to LU 2011

# remailed











3/1/2016 a.m.



3/1/2016 p.m.



Rhodes told our investigator that she went to the Mango post office box on the dates indicated above and retrieved the number of packages shown in the left column.  On the evening of March 1, she returned to the box one last time ahead of the March 3 count date and found 77 RAUs stacked neatly inside the box.  Each bore a yellow sticker applied by the USPS directing the postal service to “return to sender,” either because the addressee was unknown, the address did not exist, or a forwarding order had expired.  Most of the stickers on these 77 RAUs were dated prior to the date of the first pickup of RAUs at the Mango post office.  Thus:



The March 1 evening RAU pickup

Sticker date















A postal service supervisor at the Mango post office told our investigator that the date shown on the yellow sticker indicated the date the receiving post office returned the letter to sender as undeliverable.  The supervisor indicated that, under post office standards, the letter would have been received at the Mango post office within three days after the date shown on the sticker.  By this measure, 73 of the 77 RAUs picked up on the evening of March 1 should have been returned to the Mango post office by February 18, the date Rhodes made her first pickup of RAUs. 


            A Mango post office clerk told our investigator that she saw the stack of RAUs that included the 73 returned prior to February 18 sitting on a shelf behind the post office boxes, out of view and reach of the public, for “a good while” before they were finally picked up.  She stated that, if the box were full, post office personnel should have included a notice printed on yellow paper in the box advising that additional mail beyond the capacity of the box was available for pickup.  The clerk did not know whether such a notice was included with the RAUs, and Rhodes[2], Trobaugh, and Rodriguez all denied discovering or seeing such a notice.  Regardless, evidence showed the box was never full so as to require insertion of a notice.  The box on February 18, the date by which most if not all of the 73 RAUs should have been returned to Mango, had only 13 pieces in it.  A week later, February 25, after the February 18 contents had been picked up, there were 40 more pieces.  The box capacity was at least 77, the number stacked neatly inside when Rhodes arrived on the evening of March 1, showing that there would have been no reason to insert a notice of excess mail on February 18 or 25.  From this evidence, we conclude that the failure, prior to February 18, to return 73 of the 77 RAUs to the box when they arrived at Mango was postal service error that the local union knew nothing of and had no reason to suspect prior to the placement in the box of the 77 RAUs at some time during the day on March 1.  Accordingly, we hold the local union had no obligation under the Rules or the local union election plan to attempt remailing of these RAUs.  Article XIII, Section 3(b) requires as a condition preceding any inquiry as to whether conduct may have affected the outcome of an election that the conduct constitute a Rules violation.  Absent a Rules violation associated with the postal service’s error in failing timely to deliver the 73 RAUs to the post office box hired by the local union, we do not address whether that error may have affected the outcome of the election.


            Turning to the specific allegations of the protest, the protest first asserted that members who requested ballots were not sent them.  The notice of election, required to be posted on all union worksite bulletin boards, directed members who did not receive a ballot, or had made a mistake on or lost a ballot they received, to phone the local union to request that a new ballot package be sent to them.  The local union maintained logs for each member who called saying he/she never received a ballot (denoted “new” on the log) and for each member who called saying he/she needed a replacement ballot (denoted “duplicate” on the log).  Each of these logs identified the member by name, address, phone, SSN, date of call, and reason for the request.  In addition, the local union maintained weekly logs that summarized the daily activity of new and duplicate ballot requests.[3]  These showed that during the week beginning February 15, the first week of activity for phoned requests for ballots, the local union filled two requests for duplicate ballots and nine for new.  During the week beginning February 22, zero requests for duplicates were received, and the local union received and filled four requests for new ballots.  During the week of February 29, no requests for duplicate or new ballots were received or filled. 


Jeffrey Kozlowski was the only person identified by the protestor who both responded to our investigator and said he requested a ballot and did not receive one.  Kozlowski stated that when he did not receive a ballot he phoned the local union twice to request he be sent one.  Kozlowski’s name does not appear on local union logs indicating that he called or that a ballot was mailed to him (other than through the original mailing).  At the count held March 3, the ballot sent to Kozlowski in the original mailing was received, opened, and counted.[4]  The protestor presented no additional evidence of members who said they requested ballots and did not receive them.  Accordingly, there is no evidence to support the protestor’s allegation that members requested ballots from the local union and did not receive them; with respect to Kozlowski, there is no business record at the local union substantiating his statement that he called to request a ballot.


Turning to the protestor’s second allegation, that ballots of members who said they voted were not found in the Brandon post office box on March 3, we determined the following.  First, Latreace Ashford stated she did not receive a ballot and called the union to request one.  Local union logs show that her phone call was received on February 22 and the ballot package was mailed to her on February 23.  No ballot was received from Ashford by the March 3 pickup of voted ballots at the Brandon post office box.  However, Ashford’s ballot was found in the Brandon post office box when it was emptied of late arriving ballots and closed out on March 9.  Second, William O’Steen said he received his ballot and mailed it back on February 11 by placing it in his mailbox at the end of his driveway in a rural area.  No ballot was received by March 3 or was in the Brandon post office box when it was closed out on March 9.  This evidence does not establish a violation of the Rules or the local union election plan.


The protestor’s third allegation is that voted ballots were received for members who did not cast the ballots themselves.  The protestor argued that this fact, if proven, demonstrated impermissible ballot collection warranting an election re-run.  The only evidence to support this allegation was provided by Kozlowski, discussed above, who said that he did not receive a ballot after the initial mailing, phoned the local union twice to request one, never received one, yet a ballot return envelope bearing his name and member information was returned to the Brandon post office box designated for voted ballots.  Kozlowski stated that the address for him on the list used to mail ballots was incorrect and that he had moved his residence eighteen months ago.  No additional evidence was presented or found of members whose ballots were received yet claimed they did not vote them.  This evidence does not demonstrate a violation of the Rules or the local union election plan that may have affected the outcome of the election.


For these reasons, we DENY this protest.[5]


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 157



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


Kimberly Schultz

18360 NE 22 Avenue

N. Miami Beach, FL 33160


Ken Wood

Bill Walsh


Dolores Hall

1000 Belmont Pl

Metairie, LA


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

[1] The local union did not ask the employer for assistance updating the address, in order to avoid the possibility that the union’s request might prompt FDOC to issue disciplinary action against the member for failing to notify the employer of an address change.

[2] Rhodes told our investigator that on each trip to the Mango post office, she removed what was in the box and then reached her hand into the box as far as the end of it to insure she got all the mail, and then double-checked by looking into the box to insure it was empty.

[3] Equivalent logs were maintained for remailing of ballots of ballot packages returned as undeliverable; these logs showed name of the member, the date the RAU for that member was received, the date the remailing occurred, and the corrected address to which the remailed ballot package was sent.

[4] Kozlowski claimed that he did not vote that ballot, and that it was sent to his former address, from which he relocated 18 months ago.  This claim is the subject of the protestor’s third allegation, discussed below.

[5] We denied an unrelated protest alleging campaign misconduct during the Local Union 2011 delegates and alternate delegates election in Schultz, 2016 ESD 156 (April 1, 2016).