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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: DAVID AKERS,                              )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 175

                                                                        )           Issued: April 20, 2016

            Protestor.                                            )           OES Case No. P-205-030316-MW   



David Akers, member and delegate candidate in Local Union 50, 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 the decision of local union leadership to entrust the key to the post office box to which ballot packages would be returned as undeliverable violated the Rules because the person selected was not neutral.


Election Supervisor representative Joe Childers investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Local Union 50 is entitled to elect three delegates and one alternate delegate to the IBT convention.  At its nominations meeting held Sunday, February 28, 2016, two full slates and no unaffiliated candidates were nominated.  Akers leads one slate; the local union’s principal officer, Steve Alexander, heads the other slate. 


            The day of the nominations meeting, the local union announced that Heidi Miller, an office clerical employee of the local union, would have custody of the key to the post office box to which ballot packages returned as undeliverable (RAU) would be delivered and would have responsibility for retrieving and remailing those ballots.[1]  The protestor alleged that Miller is not neutral because she is subordinate to and personal friends with principal officer Steve Alexander and office manager Nancy Alexander, the principal officer’s wife.  The protestor’s concern is that the election results will not be trustworthy because of Miller’s role with processing the RAU ballots.. 


            The local union responded to this protest by asserting that it was untimely filed.  The announcement of Miller’s role with respect to ballots was made on February 28 and the protest was filed March 3.  Article XIII, Section 2(b) requires that pre-election protests be filed within two working days of the date the protestor became aware of them.  Investigation showed that protestor Akers attempted to file the protest by email on February 29 but that OES protest software malfunctioned.  Under these circumstances, we reject the local union’s timeliness objection.


            In the course of this election, OES has noted several incidents that relate to the participation by Akers-affiliated candidates.  In Eligibility of Rawson, 2016 ESD 144 (March 15, 2016), the Local Union 50 secretary-treasurer challenged the eligibility of Terry Rawson, a local union vice-president, to be nominated for alternate delegate.  We found that the local union created the circumstances of Rawson’s purported ineligibility, first by discharging him from employment with the local union, then by failing to deduct from his executive board salary his monthly dues despite an existing checkoff authorization for those deductions, and finally by failing or refusing to pay him his executive board compensation altogether.  We found that the local union’s treatment of Rawson violated the Rules and held Rawson eligible for nomination as alternate delegate.


While investigating the Rawson eligibility protest, we learned that the Independent Review Board has recommended internal union charges be pursued against an employee of the local union who allegedly made threats against Tom McGowan and his family at the behest of the local union’s principal officer.  The threats allegedly were made concerning McGowan’s political activity within Local Union 50.  McGowan is a candidate for delegate on protestor Akers’s slate.


We also learned during the investigation of this protest that Marc Archer, the elected recording secretary, had been subjected to treatment similar to Rawson.  First, the principal officer dismissed Archer from full-time employment with the local union, then Archer’s executive board salary was suspended apparently without authority to do so, and finally Archer was placed on withdrawal status and his dues payments were refused, despite that he obtained employment under the jurisdiction of the local union.  Archer supports the slate that protestor Akers leads; he opposes the slate led by the local union’s principal officer.  We instructed the local union to permit Archer to serve as an observer for the protestor’s slate under Article IX of the Rules, finding that Archer satisfied that provision’s requirement that he be a member in good standing, notwithstanding the local union’s placement of Archer on withdrawal status.


With this background, we proposed to representatives of both slates that an OES representative closely supervise the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election, in order to raise member confidence in the trustworthiness of the election result.  Both sides agreed.  We have designated Steve Pittman as our representative to perform the supervision.  He attended the printing of ballots and supervised the preparation of ballot packages, accompanied the ballot packages to the U.S. Postal Service for mailing, and retained the excess ballot stock in his custody.  He took control of both keys dispensed by the postal service for the post office box to which RAU ballots are returned as well as both keys dispensed by the postal service for return of voted ballots.  He has made periodic checks of the RAU post office box, with observers, retrieving ballot packages returned as undeliverable and remailing those ballot packages to members as current addresses are obtained.  He has also filled the requests for duplicate ballot packages as members made them. 


In addition to this close supervision provided by Pittman, OES representatives will attend and supervise the tally of ballots to be performed on April 25, 2016.


On this basis, we deem this protest RESOLVED.


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 175



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 50

Post Office Box 140

Belleville, IL 62222


Mark Beil

Post Office Box 140

Belleville, IL 62222


Terry Rawson

9761 Highway 127

Murphysboro, IL 62966


David Akers

1861 Meadowbrook Court

Barnhart, MO 63012


Steve Pittman


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

[1] Local Union 50’s approved election plan stated that Britt Sowle, outside counsel for the local, was to be responsible for safeguarding the ballot stock for use in any mailing to members who requested duplicate ballots or for whom current addresses were found after the initial ballot was returned as undeliverable.