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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 295

                                                                        )           Issued: September 30, 2016

            Protestor.                                            )           OES Case No. P-361-090616-FW     



Teamsters United 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 Rome Aloise, Jerry Sweeney, Local Unions 853 and 287, and the Hoffa-Hall 2016 campaign impermissibly used union resources for a campaign purpose.


            Election Supervisor representative Deborah Schaaf investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


On June 12, 2016, Jerry Sweeney, a business agent for Local Union 287, mailed a personal check for $300 addressed to Rome Aloise, then a candidate for International office on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.  The check was made payable to “Elect Rome Aloise.”  Sweeney’s personal check was accompanied by a letter, printed on Local Union 287 letterhead and mailed in an envelope bearing Local Union 287’s return address.[1]  The letter stated in part, “From all the Members of Teamsters Local 287, we support you for the Job you’ve done and we will continue to support you for many years to come.  It has been pretty hard financially but I wanted to send what I could.  I have a few meetings coming up where I hope to be able to collect much more.”


Sweeney told our investigator he mailed the letter on or about June 12, the date it bears.  Sometime in mid-August, he found the letter in his union mailbox, marked “Return to Sender” because of incorrect address.  The letter was opened but its contents were the same as when Sweeney mailed it.[2]  Sweeney did not remail the letter or check.  Bank records he provided to our investigator established the check was uncashed.  Moreover, two entries for Sweeney appeared in OES’s CCERS system of contributions; one was a $20 ticket for a Hoffa-Aloise campaign kickoff in June 2015, and the other was a $72.95 purchase of campaign merchandise from Hoffa-Hall 2016 in August 2016, further corroborating his statement that he did not remail the contribution.


Sweeney’s June 12 letter was not delivered to Aloise.  Sweeney attempted to mail the letter to Aloise at Local Union 853, where Aloise is principal officer.  In February 2016, Local Union 853 moved from 2100 Merced, San Leandro, CA to 7750 Pardee Lane, Oakland, CA, about four miles away.  Sweeney’s letter and envelope were addressed to 7750 Pardee Lane, San Leandro, CA, which garbled the two addresses into a non-existent one. 


Teamsters United filed its protest September 6, 2016, the same day it received an anonymous fax from a UPS store in San Jose, CA that is a little more than four miles from Local Union 287’s offices in the same city.  The fax consisted of a single photocopy that captured the images of Sweeney’s June 12 letter to Aloise and his $300 check.  Sweeney denied making the photocopy, and circumstances suggest it was made when the misaddressed envelope was returned to Local Union 287.


Aloise told our investigator he did not know Sweeney intended to contribute to his campaign until the protest was filed.  Separately, Sweeney told our investigator he did not tell Aloise he was sending a contribution.  There is no contrary evidence.


Two weeks after Sweeney mailed his contribution, Aloise was nominated at the IBT 29th International Convention for one of three IBT vice presidents for the West region; he was declared elected when the number of candidates nominated for that position by secret ballot vote of the delegate body did not exceed the number to be elected.  Following his election at the convention, Aloise ceased being a candidate.


In addition to stating that he did not resend the check to Aloise, a statement corroborated by his bank statements and the CCERS record, Sweeney told our investigator that he did not follow through with his planned effort to raise money for Aloise.  This statement is supported by CCERS records.  Thus, aside from Sweeney’s merchandise purchase from Hoffa-Hall 2016 in August 2016, CCERS records show no contributions of any type from members of Local Union 287 to either Hoffa-Hall 2016 or Hoffa-Aloise 2016 after June 12, 2016. 


Article VII, Section 12(c) of the Rules prohibit use of union resources to support a campaign.  Union resources that may not permissibly be used for a campaign purpose include stationery and union office facilities.  Had Sweeney’s contribution to the Aloise campaign been received and accepted by the Aloise campaign, as Sweeney apparently intended, this provision would have been violated by the sender, for using union letterhead, envelope, and postage, and by the recipient, for receiving the contribution at the union hall.  However, because the letter was misaddressed by Sweeney and returned to him, only Sweeney’s use of Local Union 287 resources violated the Rules.  Neither Aloise, the Hoffa-Aloise campaign, the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate, nor Local Union 853 violated the prohibition barring use of union resources for a campaign purpose because the contribution was not received by the addressee at the Local Union 853 address.


Accordingly, we GRANT the protest with respect to Sweeney and DENY it with respect to Aloise, Hoffa-Aloise, Hoffa-Hall 2016, and Local Unions 853 and 287.  As remedy with respect to Sweeney, we order him to cease and desist from using union stationery and postage to conduct any activity relating to campaigning for union office including, but not limited to, mailing contributions to union office candidates.  Additional remedial sanctions (including reimbursement of costs and a fine to promote compliance with the Rules) may be imposed upon Sweeney if, in the future, he again uses union resources in violation of the Rules. 


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 295



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 287

1452 N. 4th Street

San Jose, CA 95112


Jim Sweeney


Rome Aloise


Deborah Schaaf

1521 Grizzly Gulch Dr

Helena, MT 59601


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

[1] We estimate that the single sheet of paper, single envelope, and postage used approximately $1.00 worth of Local Union 287 resources.

[2] Sweeney told our investigator he had not put his name on the envelope, so the person at the local union who received the returned mail could not know to put it in his mailbox without opening the envelope to identify the sender.