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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters














January 18, 1996





Bob Jordan

January 18, 1996

Page 1



Bob Jordan

6905 Archdale Street

Detroit, MI 48228


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI 48098

Lawrence Brennan, President

Teamsters Joint Council 43

2801 Trumbull Avenue

Detroit, MI 48216


Paul Levy

Public Citizen Litigation Group

1600 20th Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20009


Bob Jordan

January 18, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case No. P-269-LU337-SCE




Bob Jordan

January 18, 1996

Page 1



Bob Jordan, a Local Union 337 member, filed a protest pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”) against James P. Hoffa, a candidate for general president and an employee of Joint Council 38.  The protester alleges that Mr. Hoffa’s participation as the protester in the appeal hearing held pursuant to the Rules concerning Hoffa, P-203-IBT-SCE, et seq. (December 5, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 48 (KC) (December 28, 1995) was campaign activity improperly supported by union and employer resources because he performed the protest-related activity while on the payroll of Joint Council 43.  In a subsequent letter dated December 18, 1995, the protester further alleges improper use of resources to fund other protest-related activity engaged in by Mr. Hoffa, but fails to identify a particular protest apart from those decided in Hoffa, supra.  The Election Officer will not adjudicate this broad allegation because she has determined that a fair and expedited protest process is best protected by declining to make factual findings concerning conduct not specifically cited in the original protest.  See Sullivan, Case No. P-052-LU14-SCE (December 12, 1995) (citing In Re: Pope, 95 - Elec. App. - 35 (KC) (November 20, 1995)).  Among the issues not raised in the original protest and therefore rejected for determination by the Election Officer in Sullivan, supra was the allegation that Mr. Hoffa’s employer supported campaign activity by permitting him to engage in protest-related activity on work time. 

In the same December 18, 1995 submission, the protester asserts that his protest “comprehends . . . all protest activity from December 8 forward.”  As described in this decision, the analysis required of the issue raised in this protest is fact-specific.  Therefore, the Election Officer will not treat this protest as alleging a continuing violation.


The protester objects to the use of union or employer resources to further protest activity in which Mr. Hoffa “has acted on behalf of himself as a candidate or of his campaign, seeking remedies for his own political benefit and to the detriment of candidates that he opposes, as well as protests in which it has been alleged that he, as a candidate, accepted support from union entities other than the one by which he is employed.”


Mr. Hoffa responds that the instant protest is untimely.  As to the merits, he argues that a ban on performing protest-related activity during working hours would unduly hamper the protest process protected by the Rules


The protest was investigated by Regional Coordinator Bruce Boyens.


Article XIV, Section 2(b) requires a protester to file a preelection protest “within two (2) working days of the day when the protestor becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware of the action protested, or such protest shall be waived.”   Mr. Jordan’s protest was filed December 12, 1995, one day after Mr. Hoffa allegedly made the improper

December 11, 1995 appearance at the appeals hearing concerning Hoffa, supra.  The protest is therefore timely.               


The Hoffa case, which is the factual basis for this protest, was a consolidated decision. P-203-IBT-SCE, Mr. Hoffa alleged that Ron Carey, also a candidate for general president, and International Vice President Diana Kilmury, also a candidate for re-election, used union funds to attend a Teamsters for Democratic Union (TDU) convention in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Mr. Hoffa further alleged that the TDU convention was in fact a rally to promote Mr. Carey’s slate.  In P-234-IBT-SCE, Mr. Hoffa made similar allegations against other members of the Carey slate and IBT staff who he alleged attended the TDU convention.  In her decision, the Election Officer found that the protester had provided evidence that the IBT officers who attended the TDU convention campaigned there, but determined that union funds were not expended for such campaigning.  Thus, the Election Officer denied both protests, and

Mr. Hoffa appealed the decision.  The protester alleges that Mr. Hoffa’s participation in this appeal hearing was improperly supported campaign activity.


Article XII, Sections 1(b)(1) and (3) prohibit a union from using its funds “to promote the candidacy of any individual.”  The Rules define campaign contribution broadly to include any direct or indirect contribution where the purpose, object or foreseeable effect of that contribution is to influence the election of a candidate.  Rules, Definitions, 5.  This protest


Bob Jordan

January 18, 1996

Page 1



raises the issue of whether the filing of a protest and the subsequent processing of a protest--a right explicitly protected by Article XIV, Section 1--can be campaign activity under the Rules which cannot be supported with union resources.


In the context of whether protest-related activity is improperly supported by union resources, the Election Officer has differentiated between protests furthering the independent, institutional interests of the union, and protests essentially involving advocacy on behalf of one or more candidates.  See McSweeney, Post 41-LU710-CHI (May 8, 1991), aff’d, 91 - Elec. App. - 150 (SA) (May 16, 1991); Furst, Case No. P-711-LU1145-NCE (undated), aff’d in part and rev’d in part sub nom In Re: Furst, 91 - Elec. App. - 172 (SA) (July 29, 1991).  The Election Officer has held that protest activity is not campaign activity merely because the position advanced in connection with the protest will ultimately benefit one side and injure the other because that occurs in almost all protests filed in a contested election.  See In Re: Furst, supra.  It is a legitimate function of a local union or other subordinate body to enforce the Rules on behalf of the membership.  Thus, Article XIV, Section 2(i) provides standing for the “Union(s) involved” to appeal protest decisions, and therefore play an integral role in interpreting and enforcing the [Rules].”  In Re: Furst, supra.


Accordingly, the Rules have been interpreted to permit a local union to expend its resources to pursue a protest filed to ensure proper implementation of the Rules, without taking a “clearly partisan position” or “incontrovertibly engag[ing] in advocacy on behalf of particular candidates.”  In Re: McGinnis, 91 - Elec. App. - 150, supra.  When this criteria is met,


the Union, whether the International or a subordinate body, may properly use its funds to file and pursue such protests.  It may do so by paying for the time spent by its officers in handling such protests, by hiring legal counsel or . . . by paying a consultant.


Furst, supra.


In contrast, the Election Officer has barred a union from using its funds to finance protest activity which advances or damages a candidacy without implicating the institutional interests of the union.  For example, local union funds may not be expended to:  (1) defend members of an incumbent slate against a protest charging fraud and coercion; McSweeney, supra; or (2) provide representation for candidates accused of soliciting completed mail ballots for collection; Marciel, P-768-LU63-CLA (May 20, 1991), aff’d, 91 - Elec. App. - 153 (SA) (May 30, 1991).


Bob Jordan

January 18, 1996

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The Independent Administrator acknowledged that the standard for differentiating between proper and improper expenditures in the context of protest-related activity is a “tolerant one.”  In Re: Furst, supra. The Independent Administrator cautioned that “[a] more restrictive standard may chill the Union’s participation in the election process.”  He reasoned, “By inviting participation in the process, and by leaving the pathway to challenge that process free of unnecessary hurdles, it will, in the end, serve to guarantee the integrity of the result.”  Id.  The Election Officer has consistently held that “the right of IBT members to file election protests, even protests which are found to be non-meritorious, goes to the heart of the safeguards mandated by the Rules and the Consent Order.”  Crawley, P-098-LU988-PNJ (June 30, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 1 (July 14, 1995) (quoting In Re: Puglisi, P-1074-LU64-ENG (Nov. 25, 1991), aff’d, 91 - Elec. App. - 242, aff’d, 88 CIV. 4486, slip op. (S.D.N.Y. 1992)).


The protests filed by Mr. Hoffa that are alleged to be campaign activity implicate a fundamental, institutionally significant interest.  All IBT members have an inherent interest in ensuring that the International Union’s resources are not expended to further a candidate’s campaign.  The Election Officer does not consider Mr. Hoffa’s activity in furtherance of the cited protests to be campaign activity.  Accordingly, if Mr. Hoffa’s time spent in the appeal hearing had been compensated by Joint Council 38, the Rules would not prohibit the use of union resources for this protest-related activity. 


Accordingly, the protest is DENIED.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one day of receipt of this letter.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Officer in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing and shall be served on:


Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham and Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY 10022

Fax (212) 751-4864


Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 400 North Capitol Street, Suite 855, Washington, D.C. 20001, Facsimile (202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.






Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer



cc:              Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master

Bruce Boyens, Regional Coordinator