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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


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IN RE: FRED ZUCKERMAN,                  )           Protest Decision 2017 ESD 360

                                                                        )           Issued: January 3, 2017

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-236-032116-NA     



Fred Zuckerman, candidate for IBT General President on the Teamsters United slate, 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 he was not afforded a two-bedroom suite at the hotel with which the IBT contracted for convention services when the same type of room was provided to candidates on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.  The protest further alleged that benefits included in the IBT’s contract with the hotel constituted employer contributions to the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate, in violation of the Rules.


            Election Supervisor representative Jeffrey Ellison investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


The 29th International Convention of the IBT was held at the Bally’s/Paris Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas NV from June 27 to July 1, 2016.  Pre-convention preparations and meetings of committees and other bodies of the IBT commenced many months before the start of the convention.  Pursuant to a convention contract negotiated between the IBT and the hotel, the hotel agreed to provide lodging to guests for the convention and associated meetings and preparation at negotiated rates below the so-called “rack” rate.  In almost all cases, the lodging expense for IBT or joint council officers, employees, committee members, and guests was to be paid by the IBT or the particular joint council; the lodging expense for local union delegates, alternate delegates, and guests was to be paid by local unions.


In March 2016, protestor Zuckerman, a member of the IBT’s constitution committee, sought to arrange lodging at Bally’s Hotel for the period commencing June 19 through July 2, 2016.  In particular, he sought a two-bedroom suite at the group-rate of $157 per night negotiated between the IBT and Bally’s.  He was advised that several two-bedroom suites of the type he sought were included in the lodging contract in place between the IBT and Bally’s but that they were reserved for IBT officers and staff.  He was further advised that a two-bedroom suite was available outside the group rate at a cost of $902 per night.  His counsel filed this protest, asserting that Zuckerman needed the two-bedroom suite “to be used as a place to rest and strategize at what will be a very active and potentially contentious Convention.  He learned that though his own International Union secured special rates for the type of rooms he sought, the rooms the IBT blocked were to be doled out by the IBT leadership who are also candidates for International Office covered by the Rules.”


The IBT responded that, in accord with standard practice in the hospitality industry, it contracted with the hotel for a block of rooms at the convention, negotiating rates for lodging that represented substantial reductions over the rates offered to individual customers.  These reduced rates were passed on to all persons who sought to obtain lodging within the room block, the protestor included.  The vast majority of rooms available within the room block had one bedroom.  A limited number of one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites were included within the block and were distributed to officers and staff of the IBT.  The IBT denied that only those persons who were candidates for International office on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate occupied the two-bedroom suites.  The IBT offered to place Zuckerman on a waiting list that would allow him access to a two-bedroom suite should one become available; evidence suggests that Zuckerman did not accept this offer.


On May 20, 2016, the IBT notified Zuckerman’s staff that two-bedroom suites had just become available at Bally’s at the same rate charged for single rooms.  Zuckerman requested and was granted a two-bedroom suite, with the room charge billed to the IBT on account of Zuckerman’s membership on the constitution committee.


With Zuckerman’s request for a two-bedroom suite paid for by the IBT, we deem the aspect of his protest related to room size RESOLVED.  He received the suite he requested, and the IBT paid for it.


Zuckerman’s protest, filed three months before the convention, also alleged the “complimentary accommodations and additional concessions” provision in the contract between the IBT and Bally’s was “repulsive in its entirety.”  The provision required Bally’s to provide to the IBT certain items without charge, including free suites, parking, round-trip limo transfers, health club passes, other passes, and Diamond cards.  The protest asserted that “OES should investigate and determine that the proposed complimentary items described in the attached contract will inevitably be used in a way that could influence the election.”  In response, the IBT denied that complimentary rooms or amenities were “things of value” that “accrue to anyone other than the Union institutions whose costs are reduced by virtue of the negotiated hotel agreement.”


The portion of the IBT convention with which the Rules are primarily concerned was the nomination of candidates for International office.  Two slates presented individuals for nomination.  All candidates who were nominated were submitted to a secret ballot vote of delegates to determine whether their names would appear on the rank-and-file ballot.  All candidates nominated on the floor of the convention achieved the 5% threshold necessary to appear on the rank-and-file ballot except the three candidates nominated by Teamsters United for IBT vice president – West region.  These three candidates fell, respectively, 3, 4, and 6 votes short of the 22 needed for nomination to the rank-and-file ballot.  No protest was filed or evidence produced that the hotel amenities granted by Bally’s to the IBT in the convention contract were used to influence delegate votes in the West region vice presidential contest.  Accordingly, we find nothing to substantiate the protestor’s claim that the amenities were “inevitably” used in a way that affected the outcome of that election.


Accordingly, we DENY this aspect of the protest as well.  Whether the amenities, which by contract were the property of the IBT as an institution, were as the protest insinuates not used for the benefit of the IBT but were improperly diverted to the use by individual officers or staff of the IBT in ways unrelated to the election is beyond our purview under 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

            2017 ESD 360



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


Gary Witlen

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001


Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104