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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: PETER SULLIVAN,                      )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 197

                                                                        )           Issued: May 5, 2016

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-129-012816-GP     



Peter Sullivan, member of Local Union 104, 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 Mitch Gallagher harassed a Teamsters United supporter, in violation of the Rules.


            Election Supervisor representative Mary Campbell investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Local Union 104 is entitled to elect nine delegates and three alternate delegates.  Two full slates and two unaffiliated delegate candidates competed for these positions.  The Teamsters United AZ slate was led by protestor Sullivan; the Andy Marshall Unity slate was led by local union principal officer Andrew Marshall.


The protest alleged that on January 27, 2016, three delegate candidates on the Teamsters United AZ slate were campaigning in an employer parking lot at a UPS facility when Mitch Gallagher, a member employed by UPS who also serves as a union steward at that facility, walked past them speaking on his phone.  Gallagher was heard to say, “Yeah, I see that fag; he’s here standing right in front of me.”  Three witnesses corroborated the protest allegation.  Gallagher did not deny it.


Investigation showed that Gallagher did not interfere with or disrupt the candidates’ campaign activity, nor did his words cause or tend to cause members to avoid the campaigners.


The protest urged that Gallagher’s harassment not be allowed under the Rules, further asserting that there be imposed a zero tolerance for sexual orientation discrimination.


We DENY this protest.  The Rules protect the right of members such as the campaigners to engage with other members in support of their candidacies and those they support for election.  We find they were able to exercise their rights fully on the occasion at issue here.


The Rules also protect the right of a member opposing the political speech to express his opposition, even where the words he chooses are rude, obnoxious, and offensive.  Jorgensen, 2000 EAD 72 (December 26, 2000); Rodriguez, 2000 EAD 45 (November 3, 2000); Yocum, 2000 EAD 18 (September 1, 2000) (loud, rude and obnoxious behavior of union steward as member attempted to have other members sign petition not unlawful); Wasilewski, 2000 EAD 14 (August 14, 2000) (words exchanged between two sides in the context of petitions being signed); Rudolph, P861 (August 29, 1996) (no violation where tempers flared briefly on each side, words were exchanged and a few pushes); Zuckerman, 2005 ESD 38 (December 15, 2005) (no violation where campaigner’s conduct was “loud, rude and obnoxious” but stopped short of physical violence).  We look to the totality of the circumstances to determine whether vulgar or threatening language so interferes with the right to campaign that it violates the Rules. Williams, 2001 EAD 201 (February 27, 2001).  Here, we find that Gallagher’s language did not interfere with the campaigners’ right to campaign.


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 197



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


Peter Sullivan


Elizabeth Holleran


Fernie Escobedo


Mitch Gallagher


Andrew Marshall


Teamsters Local Union 104

1450 South 27th Ave

Phoenix, AZ 85009


Mary Ann Campbell

13853 State Rd E

DeSoto, MO 63020


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104