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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


for the



IN RE: CHRISTOPHER BUTLER,          )           Protest Decision 2016 ESD 235

                                                                        )           Issued: June 7, 2016

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-088-011116-NE     



Christopher Butler, member of Local Union 653, 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 Brian McElhinney committed multiple acts of retaliation against Butler on account of Butler’s protected activity under the Rules.


Election Supervisor representative Peter Marks investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


Local Union 653 is entitled to elect two delegates and two alternate delegates to the IBT convention.  At the nominations meeting held January 10, 2016, three candidates were nominated for the two delegate seats.  Candidates McElhinney, the local union’s principal officer, and William Trask, the local union president, formed a slate to compete against protestor Butler.  The two alternate delegate candidates on the McElhinney slate were deemed elected in the absence of opposition. 


            The protest first alleged that on January 11, the day after the nominations meeting, principal officer McElhinney told members of the local union that Butler’s candidacy would cost the local union $15,000 because of the need to settle the election through balloting.  McElhinney admitted making this statement.  In Marchetta, 2016 ESD 107 (February 10, 2016), we denied that a similar statement constituted a Rules violation because it was not inherently retaliatory or coercive.  There, the statement did not convey a threat to withdraw union services or support in the workplace, a threat of union discipline, or a threat of physical harm or violence.  We make the same finding here.  In addition, given that Butler remained a candidate, any suggestion that McElhinney’s statement was coercive is undercut by the fact that Butler was not coerced to withdraw his candidacy.  Accordingly, we deny this aspect of the protest.


            The second allegation is that McElhinney told a member that he would have to delay negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement at United Liquors because of the need to take time off from work to campaign.  McElhinney admits making this statement.  However, the contract at United Liquors was in effect at the time of the statement and had a June 1, 2016 expiration date.  Further, the negotiation of a successor agreement depended on the coordination with two other Teamster local unions.  On these facts, we find that the statement was not coercive or retaliatory.


            The final allegation is that because Butler accepted nomination to run for delegate, McElhinney failed to appoint Mike Clark as steward at United Liquors.  Investigation did not substantiate this allegation.  Clark was the previous principal officer of the local union, and McElhinney defeated him for principal officer in elections held in November 2015.  A petition was presented at the December 2015 general membership meeting that Clark be installed as steward at United Liquors.  McElhinney denied the request because the bargaining unit had a sufficient number of stewards already and there was no need for an additional steward, especially given that the employer would shortly be housing members of three separate Teamster local unions in the same building.  As principal officer, McElhinney was not obligated to appoint a political rival whom he had defeated in the officer election to a steward position.  See Wsol, P-095-IBT-CHI at 5 (September 20, 1005).  And, assuming for the sake of argument that the decision not to appoint Clark a steward is an “adverse action,” there is no evidence that McElhinney made that decision in retaliation for Clark’s conduct of any activity in the International Union election protected by the Rules.


            Accordingly, we DENY this protest.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within three (3) 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 235



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


Christopher Butler


Brian McElhinney


Peter Marks

116 Nagle St

Harrisburg, PA 17104


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104