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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters













August 26, 1996





Bill Urman, Trustee

Teamsters Local Union 471

3001 University Avenue, S.E.

Minneapolis, MN  55414


Re:  Election Office Case No. P-769-LU471-SCE, COMPLIANCE INVESTIGATION


Dear Mr. Urman:


On May 29, 1996, the Election Officer issued the decision in the above matter, finding that Local Union 471 violated Article VIII, Section 8(a) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election ("Rules") when it published pro-Carey campaign material in the April 1996 edition of its newsletter, "The Status of Free Men."  That campaign material consisted of:  (1) an article entitled "Hacks and Hatchet Jobs," reprinted from a publication called "In These Times," which discussed the International officer election, supported Mr. Carey, and opposed Mr. Hoffa; and (2) a preface to the article, which also discussed the campaign and took Mr. Carey's side against Mr. Hoffa.


To remedy this improper use of Local Union 471's newsletter to campaign for Mr. Carey, the Election Officer ordered "that the Hoffa campaign shall be provided four pages of space in the July issue of the Local Union 471 newsletter."  The decision was affirmed by the Election Appeals Master.  In Re: Hoffa, 96 - Elec. App. - 196 (KC) (June 11, 1996).


Mr. Hoffa has complained that although Local Union 471 printed four pages of material submitted by his campaign in the July newsletter, the front page of the newsletter was devoted primarily to a notice to members, entitled "Government forces Local to print material," which undermined the purpose and effectiveness of the Election Officer's remedy.


Compliance with the Election Officer's decision was investigated by Election Office Staff Attorney Christopher Corson.

Bill Urman

August 26, 1996

Page 1



The front page of the publication has a “Notice to All Members” with the column headline “Government forces Local to print material.”  The succeeding article consists of five paragraphs.  It defended the "Hacks and Hatchet Jobs" article as fair and accurate, characterized the Election Officer's decision as being based on a finding that the article was unfair, and attacked the Election Officer's decision as "prohibit[ing] union newsletters from printing anything truthful about a candidate during an election because his opponent does not want you to be able to make an informed decision."  The third paragraph defended the local union's decision to publish the article as an exposé of media bias.  The fourth paragraph invited readers to read the article again and noted that copies are available at the local union.  The fifth paragraph stated that "[m]any facts that would help members made their decision in the fall elections will be unavailable to them because of this government intervention."


In the original decision in this matter, the Election Officer ordered Local Union 471 to afford an opportunity for the Hoffa campaign to publish four pages of campaign material in the July issue of "The Status of Free Men" in order to equalize access for Mr. Hoffa after the local union improperly published pro-Carey material in the April issue.  The local union's notice prefacing the Hoffa material in the July edition directly undercut that remedy by continuing to promote and justify the local union's original pro-Carey campaigning.  Offering local union resources to assist members who wish to reread the "Hacks and Hatchet Jobs" article was completely inconsistent with the Election Officer’s order.


Article VIII, Section 8(a) imposes a straightforward prohibition:  "No publication or communication financed, directly or indirectly, by a Union may be used to support or attack any candidate or the candidacy of any person . . . ."  Campaigning is a personal right of "[a]ll Union members . . . to support or oppose any candidate, to aid or campaign for any candidate, and to make personal campaign contributions."  (Article VIII, Section 11(a)).  As the Election Officer stated in Phelan, P-711-LU550-NYC (April 23, 1996), aff’d, 96 - Elec. App. - 184 (KC) (May 6, 1996),


The Rules protect campaigning as a personal right of IBT members and require that it be exercised that way.  The work of [a Union body] must be distinct from campaigning by its members, whether they agree with each other or not.  This distinction between work responsibilities and campaigning is . . . fundamental to the successful operation of the Rules . . . .


When a local union uses its newsletter to support one candidate and oppose another, it usurps the personal campaign rights of its members and trespasses the rights of every member who disagrees.  It is no defense that local union officials believe that such material is fair and accurate.  Local union officials may not use local union resources to impose their political views on members.  Material that supports one candidate and/or opposes another is campaign material, regardless of its truth or falsity, and a local union may not publish it in a newsletter without violating Article VIII, Section 8(a).



Bill Urman

August 26, 1996

Page 1



The result of the Election Officer's decision is not to prohibit members from getting information about the International officer election.  It ensures that the information that members do receive will come from candidates and other members, and not from local union officials using local union resources.


Thus, the Election Officer finds that Local Union 471 failed to comply with the order rendered in this matter by publishing a notice that undermined the Election Officer's remedy. 


As noted above, the Election Officer also finds that Local Union 471 further undermined the previous order of the Election Officer by stating that members wishing to reread "Hacks and Hatchet Jobs" could obtain a copy from the local union.  Article XII, Section 1(b)(3) provides, "Union funds, facilities, equipment, stationery, personnel, etc., may not be used to assist in campaigns . . . ."  Using the union hall in this fashion violates the RulesSee Miller, P-504-LU147-MOI (April 23, 1996) (local union hall could not be made available as place to pick up prize won in campaign raffle).


Therefore, the Election Officer orders Local Union 471 to cease and desist from using its newsletter to print campaign material in the International officer election.


Local Union 471 is further ordered to mail the attached notice to all persons on the mailing list for the July issue of the "The Status of Free Men" within two (2) days of the date of this decision.  The local union shall not include anything else with the mailing.  Within three (3) days of completing the mailing, Local Union 471 shall file an affidavit with the Election Officer demonstrating compliance with this order.






Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer



cc:  John Sullivan, Associate General Counsel, IBT






Notice from Barbara Zack Quindel,

IBT Election Officer




Local Union 471 violated the Election Rules when it printed material in the April edition of "The Status of Free Men" that supported Ron Carey in the International officer election and opposed James Hoffa.  To create equal access for the Hoffa campaign, the Election Officer ordered the local union to print Hoffa campaign material in the July issue of the newsletter.


The local union violated that order when it accompanied the Hoffa material with a notice on the front page of the July issue, which continued to promote the pro-Carey material that violated the Election Rules in the first place.


The Election Rules protect campaigning as a personal right of IBT members and require that it be exercised that way.  When a local union uses its resources to support or oppose any candidate, it violates the protected campaign rights of members who disagree.  Thus, local unions may use their newsletters to report to members on matters of concern within the union.  Such reports may not, however, support or oppose candidates.


In order to clarify these important rights, the Election Officer required that this notice be sent to all recipients of the July issue of the newsletter.





Barbara Zack Quindel

Election Officer