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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


October 22, 1997




Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1


Peter Landon                                                       

1097 Hubbard Street                                          Detroit, MI 48209                                                                                   

Lawrence Brennan, President              Teamsters Local Union 337                           

2801 Trumbull Avenue                            Detroit, MI  48216                                         

Richard Brook, Esq.

Cohen, Weiss and Simon

330 W. 42nd Street

New York, NY 10036


Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

   Raymond, Ferrara and Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334


Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1


Re:  Election Office Case No.  PR-011-LU337-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 Peter Landon, a member of Local Union 299, against Local Union 337.  Mr. Landon asserts that the September 1997 issue of Teamsters 337 News, a regular union-financed publication of Local Union 337, improperly used union resources because it contained material supporting the candidacy of James P. Hoffa for general president.  Local Union 337 responds that the challenged publication contains no campaign material and does not violate the Rules.


The protest was investigated by Election Office Appellate Attorney David S. Paull.



Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1


The publication contains two articles which relate to the International officer election.  The first is a two page article entitled “New IBT Election Ordered Amidst Illegal Contributions to Ron Carey.”  The article begins on the front page of the publication.  As this title suggests, the article is about the Election Officer’s decision ordering a rerun election because of certain contributions made to the Carey Campaign in violation of the RulesSee Cheatem, Post-27-EOH (August 21, 1997), affd. in rel. part, 97 - Elec. App.- 322 (KC) (October 10, 1997).  The article contains direct references to several of the facts found by the Election Officer in Cheatem and quotes from the decision.  Approximately 15 percent of the article is devoted to statements made by Mr. Hoffa after the decision was rendered, including a call for a special prosecutor and for Mr. Carey’s resignation.  Larry Brennan, the president of Local Union 337 and editor of Teamsters 337 News, is quoted at the end of the article.  In his comments about the improper contributions, Mr. Brennan criticizes the United States government, Mr. Carey and the Carey Campaign in strong terms.


The article contains a ten column inch picture of Mr. Hoffa, containing the following caption:


James P. Hoffa meets with enthusiastic supporters during the 1997 Detroit Labor Day parade.  An investigation by the IBT Election Office has found questionable contributions may have tainted the 1996 IBT election.  As a result, a new election will be held.


A block of similar size is found on the second page of the article, containing a montage of six headlines from various news accounts of these events.  Two of the headlines refer directly to Mr. Hoffa - “Hoffa: Ron Carey should step aside” and “Hoffa Seeks Removal of Teamsters’ Leader.”  The caption assigned is “Newspapers highlight Carey’s growing fundraising scandal.”


The second article, entitled  “I Want You To Know,” is the “Team 337 President’s Column,” written by Mr. Brennan.  It describes his “anger” over the Carey Campaign’s breach of the election rules, again criticizes the United States government for its conduct of the election and further quotes the Election Officer’s decision in Cheatem.


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 (August 17, 1995), affd, 95 - Elec. App. - 18 (KC) (October 2, 1995).  The Election Officer also considers the context in which the communications appeared.


              In Martin, the Election Officer recognized that union officers and officials have a “right and responsibility to exercise the powers of their office 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)).  The Election Officer also recognized in Martin that:



Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1


. . . an otherwise acceptable communication may be considered campaigning if it goes on to make a connection with the election or the election process, if it involves excessive direct or indirect personal attacks on candidates, or alternatively, involves lavish praise of candidates.  Otherwise legitimate coverage of the activities of a union official running for office may constitute campaigning if it is excessive.


The Election Officer and the Election Appeals Master have also noted, however, that despite references to the election process, [r]eports on the results of protest decisions are legitimate subjects for union-financed publications, so long as the context is newsworthy, the tone objective and the timing appropriate.  See Blake, P-245-JC42-CLA (December 18, 1996), aff'd, 96 - Elec. App. - 54 (KC) (January 12, 1996).             


Pictures of candidates are permitted in union-financed publications when directly related to the matter reported, so long as the matter is of legitimate interest to the membership.  See Hoffa, P-202-IBT-EOH (November 17, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec.  App. - 39 (KC) (November 30, 1995); Lamy, P-258-IBT-EOH (December 18, 1995), aff’d, 96 - Elec.  App. - 53 (KC) (January 11, 1996).


The Election Officer has recently determined that reports which directly concern the Cheatem decision and the order for a rerun election are within the IBT’s institutional interests and a legitimate newsworthy subject to its members.  Atha, PR-001-IBT-EOH (October 10, 1997).  Local Union 337 may similarly utilize its resources to advise the membership of the decision.  However, those parts of the first article which refer to Mr. Hoffa as calling for Mr. Carey’s resignation and removal, the picture of Mr. Hoffa on the front page and the montage of headlines contained on the second page are not permissible under the Rules.  The comments concerning the activities and views of Mr. Hoffa are campaign related and do not concern the Election Officer’s decision.  There is no connection between the subject of the article and the photograph of Mr. Hoffa enjoying “enthusiastic” support during a Labor Day parade.  The newspaper montage “highlight[ing] Carey’s growing fundraising scandal” on the second page, particularly the two headlines relating to Mr. Hoffa’s activities and views, like the corresponding references in the text of the article, go beyond objective reporting and support the campaign of Mr. Hoffa.


The article written by Mr. Brennan is harsh in its criticism of Mr. Carey, his campaign organization and the United States government in the conduct of the election.  While coming close to the line of impermissible campaigning, however, this article makes no connection to the campaign or to the election beyond that which is permitted by the Rules.


Accordingly, the protest is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


When the Election Officer determines that the Rules have been violated, she may take whatever remedial action is appropriate. Article XIV, Section 4.  In fashioning the appropriate remedy, the Election Officer views the nature and seriousness of the violation, as well as its potential for interfering with the election process.


Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1



The Election Officer has determined that resources of Local Union 337 were used to promote the candidacy of Mr. Hoffa in the Teamsters 337 News. A similar benefit will therefore be provided to Mr. Carey.  Accordingly, the Election Officer orders the following:


1.  Local Union 337 shall cease and desist from using union resources to support the candidacy of Mr. Hoffa in violation of the Rules at Article VIII, Section 8(a).


2.  By October 24, 1997, the Carey Campaign may submit to Local Union 337 one piece of campaign literature, containing not more than 200 words and typed on a 8½11-inch paper.  In addition, the Carey Campaign may submit a picture of Mr.Carey, not larger than 4 inches by 3½ inches, plus a 40-word caption.  If submitted, the Carey Campaign should simultaneously provide a copy of these materials to the Election Officer.


3.  If submitted, the campaign material referred to in Paragraph 1 above shall be published by Local Union 337 in the November, 1997 issue of the Teamsters 337 News on page one.  The material submitted by the Carey Campaign shall be preceded with the following statement: This material is printed by the order of the Office of the Interim Election Officer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  No person or entity may modify the campaign material submitted pursuant to this order without the consent of the Interim Election Officer.  The November, 1997 issue of Teamsters 337 News must be published under this order.


4.  Within one (1) day of the mailing of the November, 1997 issue of the Teamster 337 News, Mr. Brennan will submit an affidavit to the Election Officer indicating compliance with this order.


An order of the Election Officer, unless otherwise stayed, takes immediate effect against a party found to be in violation of the RulesIn Re: Lopez, 96 - Elec. App. - 73 (KC) (February 13, 1996).


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


Peter Landon

October 22, 1997

Page 1



Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 444 N. Capitol Street NW, Suite 445, Washington, D.C. 20001, facsimile (202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.





Benetta M. Mansfield

Interim Election Officer


cc:               Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master