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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              May 22, 1996





Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

Page 1



Clell Staehnke

530 Brainerd Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55101


Thomas B. Fahling, Treasurer

United Minnesota Teamsters Coalition

413 19th Avenue, N.E.

Minneapolis, MN 55418

Sue Mauren Unity Slate

1901 S. 5th Street

Minneapolis, MN 55454


Harold Yates, Trustee

Teamsters Local Union 320

3001 University Avenue, S.E.

Minneapolis, MN 55414

Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case Nos.              P-760-LU320-NCE, P-765-LU320-NCE




Pre-election protests were filed pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules) by Clell (Skip) Staehnke, member of Local Union 320, and Thomas B. Fahling, trustee of Local Union 320.  Mr. Staehnke and Mr. Fahling allege that Local Union 320 failed to comply with the Election Officers order in Birch, P-708-LU320-NCE (April 19, 1996), affd 96 - Elec. App. - 181 (KC) (April 30, 1996), by providing insufficient notice to candidates of bargaining unit meetings.[1]  Because of the similar nature of these allegations, these protests were consolidated by the Election Officer.


Regional Coordinator Judith E. Kuhn investigated the protest.


Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

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In Birch, the Election Officer determined that the local union had failed to comply with a prior order in which she directed the local union to distribute candidate literature at its own expense and to distribute to candidates who were not affiliated with the slate comprised of local union officers and employees a comprehensive list of where and when bargaining unit meetings would be held.[2]  Because of the local unions failure to comply in a time and manner that could have influenced the election, the Election Officer declared the Local Union 320 delegate election void and ordered a re-run.  She also ordered the local union to continue to satisfy its obligations to transmit information to all candidates regarding all local union meetings of which the local union becomes aware until the re-run election is completed.


1.  Allegations in P-760-LU320-NCE


In P-760-LU320-NCE, Mr. Staehnke alleges that, in its April 26, 1996 notice of upcoming meetings, the local union advised candidates of a May 2, 1996 meeting that never occurred.  Further, he alleges that the local unions May 3, 1996 notice of upcoming meetings included two previously unmentioned meetings scheduled for May 1, 1996 and 19 previously unmentioned meetings that were scheduled for the week beginning May 3, 1996.  The protester contends that candidates were provided with insufficient notice of these 19 meetings.


The local union responds that the May 2, 1996 meeting was held as scheduled and that the May 1, 1996 meetings were grievance or negotiation meetings which are not open to the public and which are not covered by the Election Officers order.  Responding to the allegations concerning the 19 meetings scheduled for the week of May 3, 1996, the local union contends that the candidates were provided sufficient notice of these meetings and, in any case, the meetings were mostly grievance and negotiation meetings, not local union meetings open to all members, as contemplated by the Rules.


A.  The May 2, 1996 Meeting


Mr. Staehnke took time off from work to campaign at a teachers assistants meeting listed on the local unions April 26 meeting notice as scheduled for 3:30 p.m., May 2, 1996 at North End Elementary School.  The protester states that, upon his arrival at the school, he went to the principals office, where all visitors are required to stop first.  He asked both the principal and the principals secretary if a meeting was to be held at the school that day and, after consulting the schools calendar, both said that no meeting was planned.  He asked if he could walk around the school to look for the meeting, was told he could not, so he left.


Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

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The investigation revealed that the teachers assistants meeting was held, as scheduled, in the school cafeteria.  Business Agent June del Castello states that she also stopped at the principals office upon arrival at the school and asked where the meeting would take place.  Like the protester, she was told that no meeting was scheduled.  Ms. del Castello then went to the school cafeteria, where prior union meetings had occurred, to see if any members showed up for the meeting.  According to Ms. del Castello, five members attended.


The school staff who provided the protester with inaccurate information did so in reliance on the schools calendar.  The local union is not responsible for the content of that calendar.  The meeting as announced in the April 26, 1996 notice did, indeed, take place.  No violation of the Rules has been stated.


B.  Appearance of May 1, 1996 Meetings on May 3, 1996 Notice


The investigation revealed that the May 1, 1996 meetings were not included on the April 26, 1996 notice, the last notice distributed prior to the meeting.  These meetings are, however, listed on the May 1, 1996 notice as U of M (Grievance) and Becker County Grievance Arb. Preparation -- Carol Bricenos home.  According to the investigation, neither meeting was a general membership, craft or bargaining unit meeting.


The intent of the Election Officers decision in Birch, supra, was to provide candidates with access to campaign opportunities at the scattered bargaining unit meetings.  Because of the nature of Local Union 320s membership, the memberships contact with the local union comes largely through the bargaining unit meetings.  The intent of the order in Birch does not extend candidate access to negotiation sessions, grievance hearings, grievance preparation meetings or strategy/planning sessions.  Such meetings are not membership meetings within the meaning of the rule.  As a result, candidates have no right to be informed of the time or location of such meetings.  The fact that the May 1, 1996 meetings did not appear on a notice until May 3, 1996 is, as a result, not a Rules violation.


C.  19 Meetings for Which Sufficient Notice Was Not Provided


An examination of the May 3, 1996 notice and prior notices reveals 20 meetings scheduled from May 3 to May 10, 1996 appear for the first time on the May 3, 1996 notice.  The investigation revealed, however, that 17 of these meetings were not general membership, craft or bargaining unit meetings.  These other meetings were for a variety of purposes, including grievance hearings, negotiating committee meetings, a meeting with members of a unit not yet eligible to vote (new initiates), etc.  Of these 20 meetings, only three were bargaining unit meetings.  The bargaining unit meetings were scheduled for May 7, 8

and 10, 1996.


Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

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As stated above, the Election Officers order in Birch extends only to membership meetings.  As a result, the protesters contention that candidates received insufficient notice of the 17 non-membership meetings appearing for the first time on the May 3, 1996 notice is without merit.  The protester was advised of these meetings when they were scheduled. Additionally, four days separate the issuance of the notice and the occurrence of the first membership meeting about which the protester complains.  Even assuming candidates would not receive the notice until the day after it was issued, notice of a meeting three days prior to the meeting is reasonable and does not violate the intent of the Election Officers order in Birch.


2.  Allegations in P-765-LU320-NCE


In P-765-LU320-NCE, Mr. Fahling alleges that the local union failed to comply with the Election Officers order because the May 8, 1996 update notice of meetings scheduled contained three previously unmentioned meetings which took place prior to the candidates receipt of the notice on May 9, 1996.  According to the protester, the May 8, 1996 notice listed a Dakota County stewards meeting scheduled for May 8, 1996 at 10:30 a.m., a Waseca Police Department union meeting scheduled for May 8, 1996 at 3:00 p.m., and a Hennepin County Home School membership meeting scheduled for May 9 at 12:00 p.m.  The protester further alleges that Business Agent Paul Nelson held a meeting for Minneapolis city drivers on May 8 at 5:00 a.m. and that this meeting was not included on any meeting notice.


A.  Dakota County Stewards Meeting


The investigation revealed that this meeting was not a membership meeting, but rather a negotiation strategy session between Business Agent Tim Mulcrone and Steward

Ken Tolonen of the Dakota County Sheriffs Licensed supervisors.  The meeting was not open to the general membership and, therefore, there is not a Rules violation.


B.  Waseca Police Department Meeting


The investigation revealed that Mr. Mulcrone received an urgent request for a status report on the progress of negotiations from the Waseca Police Department union members late on May 3, 1996.  On or before May 7, 1996, Mr. Mulcrone scheduled the status meeting for May 8, 1996.  Mr. Mulcrone then contacted the local unions secretary to report the meeting which was included on the May 8, 1996 notice.  According to Mr. Mulcrone, about a dozen police officers attended the meeting.  He also states that no campaigning took place.


The Election Officer is cognizant of the fact that, in order to efficiently and zealously represent members rights, a local union must often be responsive to members needs and concerns.  In the present case, a group of members urgently requested a meeting so that they could be apprised of the status of negotiations which affect them.  While the Election Officer wishes that candidates be informed of every membership meeting, she acknowledges that, in certain instances, the speed required in scheduling such a meeting will make notice to candidates impossible.  The local union will not be penalized for quickly responding to the legitimate requests of its members.


C.  Hennepin County Home School Membership Meeting


Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

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The investigation revealed that on May 7, 1996, Business Agent Mike Golen received, via facsimile transmission, a petition signed by more than 50 members employed at the Hennepin Home School requesting an emergency meeting about a situation where management had caused the members to redo their annual bid for shifts.  The steward at Hennepin posted the meeting for May 9, 1996.  The meeting was included on the May 8, 1996 notice that was received by candidates on May 9, 1996.


The facts in this case indicate that the May 9, 1996 meeting was held at the urgent request of members because of a situation that needed to be addressed immediately.  As a result, the failure to include the meeting on a prior notice or delay the meeting until such time that candidates could be given sufficient notice does not violate the Rules.


D.  Meeting with Minneapolis City Drivers


Mr. Fahling alleges that a meeting of drivers for the City of Minneapolis was held at 5:00 a.m. on May 8 and that this meeting was not included in the schedule sent to candidates on May 3.  Mr. Fahling provided an affidavit from Local Union 320 member Robert Allison stating that after an evening union meeting on May 8, Business Agent Paul Nelson mentioned he had been up at 5:00 a.m. to attend a meeting of Minneapolis City drivers.  The investigation revealed that no official union meeting involving the city drivers took place on May 8 at 5:00 a.m. as the protester alleges.  Rather, the members of the Sue Mauren Unity slate made a campaign stop at the city drivers facility and handed out campaign literature.  The candidates were on their own time and did not violate the Rules.


The Election Officer has investigated each of the alleged claims that the local union has not complied with her previous order in Birch.  Based on the foregoing, the Election Officer concludes that the order has not been violated.


Accordingly, the protests are 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


Clell Staehnke & Thomas Fahling

May 22, 1996

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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, 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

Judith E. Kuhn, Regional Coordinator

[1]The Election Officer initially ordered such compliance in Birch, P-603-LU320-NCE (March 21, 1996), affd 96 - Elec. App. - 154 (KC) (April 1, 1996).

[2]Local Union 320 represents numerous public employee bargaining units.  A bargaining unit meeting is a separate meeting with a single public employee group within the local union, similar to a craft meeting.