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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              November 6, 1996





Gerald Moerler

November 6, 1996

Page 1



Gerald Moerler

21131 E. Calora Avenue

Covina, CA  91724


Ron Carey, General President

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC  20001


John Sullivan, Associate General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC  20001

Ron Carey Campaign

c/o Nathaniel K. Charny

Cohen, Weiss & Simon

330 W. 42nd Street

New York, NY  10036


Bradley T. Raymond

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik, Raymond,

  Ferrara & Feldman, P.C.

32300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334

Gerald Moerler

November 6, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case No. P-1171-IBT-EOH




A pre-election protest was filed pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for

the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”) by

Gerald Moerler, a member of Local Union 63.  Mr. Moerler alleges that the IBT improperly

used the November/December 1996 issue of its official publication, Teamster, to support the candidacy of incumbent General President Ron Carey.


Gerald Moerler

November 6, 1996

Page 1



Specifically, Mr. Moerler asserts that Mr. Carey “is taking full advantage of nearly every page to further his reelection campaign.”  The protester contends that the magazine contains numerous quotes and pictures of Mr. Carey and reports favorably on his tenure as general president and the accomplishments of the current administration.  Mr. Moerler alleges that coverage of local union actions and achievements in the publication are limited to local unions that support Mr. Carey’s candidacy and that the publication is used to attack officials who support James P. Hoffa, the opposing candidate for general president.  He also states that the publication includes photographs of Carey supporters, but specifically excludes photographs that depict supporters of Mr. Hoffa.


Election Office Staff Attorney Jonathan K. O’Neill investigated the protest.


Article VIII, Section 8(a) of the Rules states that a union-financed publication or communication may not be “used to support or attack any candidate or the candidacy of any person.”  In reviewing union-financed communications for improper campaign content, the Election Officer looks to the tone, content and timing of the publication.  Martin, P-010-IBT-PNJ et al. (August 17, 1995) (decision on remand), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 18 (KC) (October 2, 1995).  The Election Officer also considers the context in which the communication appeared.


In Martin, the Election Officer recognized that union officers and officials have a “right and responsibility to exercise the powers of their office and to advise and report to the membership on issues of general concern” (quoting Camarata v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 478 F. Supp. 321, 330 (D.D.C. 1979), aff’d, 108 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2924 (D.C. Cir. 1981)). 


Pursuant to her authority under Article VIII, Section 8(e) of the Rules, the Election Officer reviewed the protested issue prior to its publication.  The Election Officer approved

the content of the issue on October 10, 1996, finding that publication of the material would

not constitute a violation of Article VIII, Sections 8(a) and 11(b)-(c) and Article XII,

Sections 1(b)(1) and (3) of the Rules.


The November/December 1996 issue of Teamster is 19 pages long, including the inside front cover, but not including campaign material, the notice of the election or voting instructions printed at the direction of the Election Officer.  It begins with letters from members followed by a short article entitled, “Stand Up to Corporate Greed” about the recent IBT voter registration efforts.  The article contains an introductory quote from Mr. Carey and is accompanied by a photograph of Mr. Carey addressing a voter registration rally.


The next article, entitled, “International Urges Central States Pension Trustees to Step Aside” begins with a report of Mr. Carey’s request for the fund trustees to resign.  The publication then includes reports on organizing efforts, political initiatives and demonstrations, including reports on relations with United Parcel Service (“UPS”), fighting corruption at an Avis car workers local union in New York, success in the Mission-Guerrero organizing drive and other news items.  Mr. Carey is depicted in two of the 34 photographs included in the publication.  He is mentioned by name 14 times.


In Hoffa, P-1053-LU952-CLA, P-1088-LU952-CLA (October 28, 1996), the Election Officer determined that coverage of a candidate’s fulfillment of his duties as a local union officer was excessive.  In that case, the candidate’s name appeared 32 times in a 24-page publication, he appeared in over 10 percent of the photographs in the issue and significant descriptions of his career and positions appeared in several places.  In that case, the Election Officer determined that the coverage received by the candidate was “largely gratuitous” in that “it praised his experience and his general role in the affairs of the local union.”

Gerald Moerler

November 6, 1996

Page 1



No such gratuitous coverage exists in the protested publication in this case.  The November/December 1996 issue of Teamster includes various reports of interest to the membership.  The presence of Mr. Carey’s statements in these reports does not violate the Rules if his comments are made in the furtherance of the duties of his office and are not excessive.  Under the Martin standard, union communications are more stringently analyzed for campaign support and impact as the election draws near.  Even under this higher standard, the protested publication does not violate the Rules.  As the Election Officer has stated, “Union officers must still fulfill their duties, even in the sensitive period just prior to the election.  So long as these communications do not contain a reference to the campaign or excessive reference to a candidate, the communication does not violate the Rules.”  DeRossett, P-1141-IBT-EOH, P-1145-

IBT-EOH (October 31, 1996).


Mr. Moerler argues that Hoffa supporters were intentionally excluded from the photographs and that only local unions that support Mr. Carey received coverage.  The protester essentially objects to the manner in which editorial discretion determined the content of the publication.  This argument lacks merit without a demonstration that the material in the publication is campaign-related or excessive. 


The Election Appeals Master has stated that “[A]bsent a political endorsement or attack, as established by the communication’s tone, content, and timing, the Election Rules do not empower me to intrude upon the journalistic process of a union publication.”  In Re: Lamy,

95 - Elec. App. - 53 (KC) (January 11, 1996).  Moreover, the Election Officer has previously determined that “a union-financed communication does not violate the Rules because it fails to treat opposing ideas or opinions.”  Volpe et al., P-828-IBT-MGN et seq. (July 11, 1996), aff’d, 96 - Elec. App. - 218 (July 23, 1996).  In Martin, supra, the Election Officer incorporated the reasoning of the court in Camarata, quoting:


Elected union officials . . . are not ordinarily required to give space therein to the expression of contrary views . . . So long as such coverage is addressed to the regular functions, policies and activities of such incumbents as officers involved in matters of interest to the membership and not as candidates for reelection, there is not a violation of [Section] 401(c) [of the LMRDA].


The Election Officer, therefore, will not regulate the content of the publication, so

long as that content does not violate the Rules.  As stated above, the coverage received by

Mr. Carey does not reference the election and is not excessive.


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:

Gerald Moerler

November 6, 1996

Page 1



Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & 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 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