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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters













March 12, 1996





Richard Strejc & Mike Di Cosola

March 12, 1996

Page 1


Richard Strejc

6613 Foxtree Avenue

Woodridge, IL 60517


Michelangelo Di Cosola

5 N. 175 Pintail Lane

Bartlett, IL 60103

Steve Weinert, Secretary-Treasurer

Teamsters Local Union 738

300 S. Ashland Avenue, Room 308

Chicago, IL 60607

Richard Strejc & Mike Di Cosola

March 12, 1996

Page 1


Re:              Election Office Case Nos.              P-400-LU738-CHI





Two members of Local Union 738 filed pre-election protests pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  In P-400-LU738-CHI, Richard Strejc alleges that Local Union 738 Business Representative Steve Weinert violated Article XII, Section 1(b)(3) of the Rules by purchasing and distributing, just after the Local Union 738 nominations meeting, coffee mugs imprinted with the Teamsters logo and the names of the members of Local Union 738 Executive Board members.  The protester notes that these officers are also candidates for delegate from the local union.   In P-558-LU738-CHI, Michelangelo Di Cosola alleges that the officers of Local Union 738, who comprise the Steve Weinert slate of delegate candidates, violated Article VIII, Section 11(c) of the Rules by purchasing the coffee mugs and distributing them on the day after the Local Union 738 delegate nomination meeting held January 30, 1996.  Because the protests involve similar facts and legal issues, they have been consolidated by the Election Officer for decision.


Richard Strejc & Mike Di Cosola

March 12, 1996

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Local Union 738 responds, asserting two procedural objections to P-400-LU738-CHI. First, it argues that the protest by Mr. Strejc should be dismissed pursuant to Article XIV, Section 1 because the protester “caused or significantly contributed to the situation giving rise to such protest.”  They contend that Mr. Strejc requested mugs from the local union and then distributed them to his coworkers.  Additionally, the local union states that the protest by

Mr. Strejc filed February 2, 1996 is untimely because the protester requested mugs prior to January 29, 1996, and therefore failed to file his protest within the two days required by the Rules.  As to the merits, the local union states that it has been the practice of the local union to distribute specialty items to its members.  It also notes that the names on the mug and the candidates on the Steve Weinert slate are different.


Regional Coordinator Julie E. Hamos investigated the protests.


I.  Standing to File Protest


The violation of the Rules in the alleged protests concerns use of local union monies to make a campaign contribution.  If the protester in P-400-LU738-CHI requested a mug from the local union or distributed them to his coworkers, the Election Officer does not consider this action to have “caused or significantly contributed” to the alleged use of union funds by Local Union 783 to support the campaign for delegate of its executive board members who are also delegate candidates.




The Rules, at Article XIV, Section 2(b), state, "Except as otherwise provided . . . all preelection protests . . . must be filed within two (2) working days of the day the protester becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware of the action protested or such protests shall be waived."


The requirement to promptly file protests is an important part of the election process.  The short time limits were designed to ensure that alleged violations of the Rules would be quickly brought to the attention of the Election Officer in order to afford the greatest opportunity for applying an effective remedy in the event a violation is found.  However, given that the Election Officer may address any violation of the Rules, whether a timely protest is filed or not, the time limits in Article XIV, Section 2(b) are treated not as an absolute jurisdictional requirement, but rather as a prudential restriction.  In Re: Ford,

95 - Elec. App. - 46 (KC) (January 19, 1996).


Here, given that Mr. Strejc’s protest was undisputedly filed within two days of the day the protested coffee cups were distributed, and that the distribution is an alleged Rules violation, the Election Officer will address the merits of these protests.


IIIAlleged Misuse of Union Funds         


Local Union 738 ordered 4,000 coffee mugs which it distributed to members during a two- to three-week period in January 1996.  The names and titles of the seven executive board members are imprinted on the mugs.  Five of the executive board members are also candidates on the Steve Weinert slate. The mugs were distributed to members by local union officers, stewards and members.  


Richard Strejc & Mike Di Cosola

March 12, 1996

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Article XII, Section 1(b)(1) prohibits campaign contributions from the union.  The term “campaign contribution” is broadly defined in the Rules to include “any direct or indirect contribution of money or other thing of value where the purpose, object or foreseeable effect of that contribution is to influence, positively or negatively, the election of a candidate . . .” Rules, Definitions, 5.


In Martinez, P-454-LU657-SOU (February 29, 1996), the Election Officer decided that a local union did not distribute pocket calendars with the intent or foreseeable effect of influencing the delegate election.  She reached her decision by considering the factual circumstances surrounding the distribution of the calendars, in particular, the past practice of the local of distributing gifts, and the reasons for the timing of the distribution of the protested gifts.


Here, the local union has a practice of distributing specialty items to its membership.  The current Executive Board previously distributed calendar magnets.  The prior Executive Board also distributed coffee mugs.  Both the magnets and the mugs previously distributed were imprinted with the names and titles of the local union executive board members.


The timing of the distribution of the protested coffee cups is attributable to the fact that in November 1995, the vendor of the cups, Leonard J. Sitko & Associates, visited a number of local unions who share a building in Chicago, including Local Union 738, to solicit orders for the cups, offering a year-end discount of almost half the price of the mugs.


The Election Officer finds sufficient evidence here that Local Union 738 did not distribute the coffee mugs with the intent or foreseeable effect of influencing the election for delegates from the local union.


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 & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY 10022

Fax (212) 751-4864


Richard Strejc & Mike Di Cosola

March 12, 1996

Page 1


Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 400 N. Capitol Street, Suite 855, Washington, DC 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

Julie E. Hamos, Regional Coordinator