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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

December 10, 1997





Jock P. Rowe, Sec.-Treas.

December 10, 1997

Page 1




Jock P. Rowe, Sec.-Treas.

Teamsters Local Union 77

Executive Plaza, Suite 301

Fort Washington, PA  19034


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI  48098

Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334


Jock P. Rowe, Sec.-Treas.

December 10, 1997

Page 1





Re:  Election Office Case No.  PR-044-LU77-EOH




Jock P. Rowe, secretary-treasurer of Local Union 77, filed a protest against James P.  Hoffa, candidate for general president, pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  Mr. Rowe alleges that literature distributed by the Hoffa Campaign was threatening and intimidating and that the material improperly encouraged Local Union 77 to use the union equipment to make copies.  Mr. Hoffa responds that the protested campaign literature contains no threats and does not encourage the improper use of union resources under the Rules.


The protest was investigated by Election Office Counsel David S. Paull.


The protester received the campaign literature through the mail.  The envelope contained three separate items.  The first is a letter, signed by Mr. Hoffa, which describes the rerun election as “another chance to save our Union and our treasury.”  The letter requests those members who supported Mr. Hoffa in the initial election to “reach out” to those members who favored his opponent and states further:


In December of ‘96 we lost the election by a very small margin.  PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN AGAIN!  In the December election your Local Union #77 voted 204 for HOFFA and 294 for CAREY.  What I am asking you for is your help and commitment to deliver your members’ votes for the Hoffa slate in the re-run election.” 

Jock P. Rowe, Sec.-Treas.

December 10, 1997

Page 1




The second piece is entitled “Help Me Rebuild Our Union” and contains comments apparently expressed by Mr. Hoffa on the day that Mr. Carey was disqualified as a candidate for general president.  A third piece is another letter requesting campaign contributions.


It is well established that the Rules neither prohibit nor regulate the content of campaign literature.  Rogers, P-518-LU373-SOU (February 21, 1991).  Nevertheless, statements made in campaign literature are not unconditionally protected by the Rules as free speech.   Hoffa, 1019-IBT-NYC (October 23, 1996 ), aff’d, 96 - Elec.App. - 267 (KC) (November 8, 1996) (the Rules do not prohibit the filing of a well-founded libel action which alleges that statements contained within campaign literature are defamatory).  Moreover, the Election Officer has previously stated that conduct is not retaliatory unless it “embodies a palpable threat of actual harm.”  Blake, P-785-LU630-CLA (June 19, 1996).  See also Dunn, P-110-LU25-BOS (July 28, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 8 (KC) (August 21, 1995); Kelly, P-600-LU705-CHI et seq. (March 27, 1991); Schweitzer, P-672-LU896-CLA (March 25, 1991), aff’d, 91 - Elec. App. - 118 (SA) (April 31, 1991); In Re: Sullivan, 95 - Elec. App. - 2 (KC) (July 14, 1995).


According to the protester, since Local Union 77 members supported the Carey slate, Mr. Hoffa’s campaign materials are a “threat of intimidation by the Hoffa Slate to me as the principal officer of the Local, that I better turn my membership around and deliver the vote for Hoffa or else.”  The Election Officer finds no evidence of an actual or implied threat in the material.


There is similarly no evidence that the protester or any other member was encouraged or requested to improperly use photocopy equipment to support Mr. Hoffa’s candidacy.  While the letter states that “I need you to make copies and distribute to your members my enclosed message,” it does not suggest or recommend that union resources or facilities be used. 


Accordingly, the protest is DENIED.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one (1) 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:


Jock P. Rowe, Sec.-Treas.

December 10, 1997

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, 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 445, Washington, DC 20001, Facsimile

(202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.






Michael G. Cherkasky

Election Officer




cc:               Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master