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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              November 21, 1996





Robert Jordan

November 21, 1996

Page 1



Robert Jordan

6905 Archdale

Detroit, MI  48228


Lawrence Brennan, President

Teamsters Local Union 337

2801 Trumbull Avenue

Detroit, MI  48216


Barbara Harvey

Penobscot Building, Suite 1800

645 Griswold

Detroit, MI  48226

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

32300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334

Robert Jordan

November 21, 1996

Page 1



Re:  Election Office Case No. P-1231-LU337-MGN




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

Robert Jordan, a member of Local Union 337.  Mr. Jordan alleges that Local Union 337 sent members, at union expense, a letter and attachment that attacked the candidacy of Ron Carey,

the incumbent general president and a candidate for reelection, in violation of the Rules.


In order to support his protest, Mr. Jordan provided a copy of a letter entitled, “An

Robert Jordan

November 21, 1996

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Open Letter To The Members of Local 337.”  The letter, signed by “The Local 337 Executive Board,” responds to allegations of unethical conduct, made in an October 17, 1996 union-financed letter sent by Mr. Carey as IBT general president, against Local Union 337 President Lawrence Brennan.  The protested letter also criticizes Mr. Carey for possible ethical violations of his own.  Attached to the letter, which was mailed by the local union on November 7, 1996, is a three-page immunity agreement between Mr. Carey and former United States Attorney Rudolph Giuliani.


The local union responds that the protested letter conveys legitimate criticism of

an act of the general president and that the attached immunity agreement attacks Mr. Carey’s ethical record in the same manner Mr. Carey attacked Mr. Brennan’s in a union-financed communication.


Regional Coordinator William A. Wertheimer, Jr. investigated the protest.


The investigation revealed that on October 17, 1996, Mr. Carey, as general president, sent, at union-expense, a letter entitled, “A Message to Local 337 Members About Your Benefits” to the membership of Local Union 337.  In this letter, Mr. Carey states that he is responding to an earlier letter to the members by Mr. Brennan.  Mr. Carey then criticizes

Mr. Brennan for allegedly opposing a code of ethics for pension and health fund trustees. 

Mr. Carey accuses Mr. Brennan of receiving improper benefits from Michigan Conference of Teamsters fund trustees.  He then describes his efforts to get the trustees of the Central States Pension Fund to resign.  He encourages readers to support the new ethics code and to call for democratic election of future fund trustees.  He concludes the letter by stating, “The money in Teamster pension and health funds belongs to the members.  It’s time that officials like

Mr. Brennan got that message.”


In response to this letter, the Executive Board of Local Union 337 issued the protested letter and attachment.  The letter describes Mr. Carey’s letter as “a shocking misuse of union members’ funds, and [sic] an attempt to cover up the danger that Carey has created for [members’] pensions.  In the letter, the Executive Board goes on to present evidence that

Mr. Carey’s actions toward plan management will jeopardize benefits.  The Executive Board goes on to criticize Mr. Carey for attacking Mr. Brennan and accuses him of intentional obfuscation of the true roots of the problems at the Michigan Conference of Teamsters fund.  Finally, the Executive Board states that, since Mr. Carey is making an issue of ethics in fund management, members should know of a “scandal” in Mr. Carey’s own local union that eventually led Mr. Carey to sign an immunity agreement with the United States Attorney in exchange for his participation in the prosecution of another local union official.  A copy of the agreement is attached to the letter.


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 seq. (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.


As the Election Officer has noted on several occasions, union officers have a “right

Robert Jordan

November 21, 1996

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and responsibility to exercise the powers of their office and to advise and report to the membership on issues of general concern.”  Martin, P-010-IBT-PNJ et seq. (August 17, 1995) (decision on remand), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 18 (KC) (October 2, 1995) (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)).  Mr. Carey’s letter criticizing Mr. Brennan and expressing his concerns over the funds constitutes a legitimate communication that has not been prohibited by the Election Officer.


In Mims, P-1190-LU728-CHI (November 8, 1996), aff’d, 96 - Elec. App. - 276 (KC) (November 19, 1996), the Election Officer held that a communication issued by the trustees

of the Central States Pension Funds did not constitute an impermissible, campaign-related attack on Mr. Carey’s candidacy because the communication “was a legitimate exercise of the Funds’ perceived responsibility to provide information to its members” in response to severe criticisms of the trustees that appeared in an issue of The Teamster.  In that case, the Election Officer determined that individuals publicly criticized by the IBT may respond in kind in order to counter such criticisms or level criticisms of their own, without violating the Rules.


The circumstances in the present protest are very similar to those in Mims.  Based upon the criticisms of Mr. Brennan’s alleged unethical conduct issued by Mr. Carey on October 17, 1996, the Election Officer therefore finds that the response to this letter by the Executive Board, in the form of the letter protested herein, was a legitimate exercise of the local union’s right to respond to criticism and present its view to the members.  Mr. Carey made ethics an issue in his communication to the local union’s members; that the Executive Board responded in this context by calling Mr. Carey’s own ethics into question does not constitute campaigning.  Thus, the inclusion of the immunity agreement, offered by the Executive Board as evidence of such unethical conduct, does not violate the Rules.


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


Robert Jordan

November 21, 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

William A. Wertheimer, Jr., Regional Coordinator