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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


April 3, 1998





James P. Hoffa

April 3, 1998

Page 1


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI  48098


Bruce E. Retrum, President

Teamsters Local Union 2000

2850 Metro Drive

Suite 225

Bloomington, MN  55425


Paul Alan Levy

Public Citizen Litigation Group

1600 20th Street, NW

Washington, DC  20009

Bradley T. Raymond

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334

James P. Hoffa

April 3, 1998

Page 1


Re:  Election Office Case No. PR-063-LU2000-NCE




James P. Hoffa, a candidate for general president, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (Rules) against Local Union 2000.  The protester alleges that Local Union 2000 improperly used union resources to attack his candidacy by publishing and distributing the February/March issue of the 2000 Times. According to the protester, the 2000 Times improperly refers to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (“TDU”) because such references promote an organization which is “politically opposed” to his candidacy.  The protester also contends that references in the 2000 Times to the TDU publication Convoy Dispatch are improper because that newspaper is campaign literature.  Local Union 2000 admits that the February/March issue of the 2000 Times made reference to the TDU and the Convoy Dispatch, but contends that such references do not violate the Rules because they are not campaigning. 


The protest was investigated by Regional Coordinator Judith E. Kuhn.


James P. Hoffa

April 3, 1998

Page 1


The 2000 Times is a union-financed publication regularly distributed to the members of Local Union 2000.  The February/March 1998 issue is sixteen pages in length.  The TDU is referred to in two of the 19 articles.  One of these articles contains a reference to the Convoy Dispatch


The first reference to the TDU is contained in an article entitled “A Word From Your Local 2000 Attorney.”  The article was written by Barbara Harvey, an attorney in Detroit, Michigan, and is approximately one-half page in size.  In this article, Ms. Harvey states that she has “performed many legal services for TDU (Teamsters for a Democratic Union), including workshops on the legal rights of union members.”


A second reference appears in an article entitled “Teamsters for a Democratic Union.” The article is written by Ashley McNeely, a Local Union 2000 representative.  Reporting generally on the goals of the TDU, the article utilizes such phrases as “a catalyst for change,” the uprooting of “corruption,” the “right to vote and be heard” and the “fight for better contracts.”  Ms. McNeely also refers to the recently elected local union officers as members of the TDU.  “TDU has provided training and information to Local 2000 so that members of your Executive Board and Base Representatives can effectively serve the Flight Attendants,” writes Ms. McNeely.  The TDU Convention which took place in Cleveland, Ohio, in November 1997 is also a subject of brief comment.


The only reference to the international officer election is contained in the second paragraph of Ms. McNeely’s article, which states that “TDU has mobilized thousands of Teamsters to vote in local and national Teamster elections.”  There is also a reference to the TDU publication, Convoy Dispatch:


The monthly publication Convoy Dispatch is the voice of TDU and contains articles and information about the Teamster reform movement.  Occasionally, it contains articles written by and for members of Local 2000.


The article instructs members on how to join the TDU and urges members to “Learn how you can become a proponent for member’s rights in the 1990s and beyond and join the TDU today.”


In support of his allegation, the protester submitted a copy of the 2000 Times for February/March 1998 and a copy of an article from the Convoy Dispatch entitled “How Would Hoffa Handle Our Benefits?”  The article is critical of the protester.  Additionally, Mr. Hoffa included an insert from the Convoy Dispatch asking members to participate in a “Hoffa Watch” for the purpose of reporting on fundraising events held to benefit Mr. Hoffa’s candidacy. 


James P. Hoffa

April 3, 1998

Page 1


Complete copies of the Convoy Dispatch for January 1998 and February/March 1998 were submitted by the TDU to the Election Officer for review.  Both issues contain articles which attack Mr. Hoffa’s candidacy.  The issues also contain articles which are unrelated to the election process.  No items from the Convoy Dispatch are reprinted or referred to in the protested issue of the 2000 Times.


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), 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).  There is nothing in these articles which violates the Rules.  The mere reference to TDU or its publication does not constitute a violation.


The Election Officer has previously recognized that the TDU engages in campaigning.  Thus, TDU is required to finance its campaign-related activities exclusively from sources permitted by the Rules and to keep all of the other funds it receives segregated from these monies.  In re: Gully, 91 - Elec. App. - 158 (SA) (June 12, 1991), aff’g, Sargent, P-249-LU283-MGN (May 21, 1991).  The Convoy Dispatch contains both campaign-related material and articles which are not campaign-related.  See Hoffa, P-313-LU728-SEC (February 26, 1996) (finding that making copies of the Convoy Dispatch available on a table in a local union hall while barring pro-Hoffa campaign materials on the premises constitutes a form of discrimination in favor of Mr. Carey and his slate) and Campanella, PR-021-LU100-NYC (November 5, 1997) (making copies of the Convoy Dispatch available in a local union hall while barring pro-Hoffa campaign materials is discriminatory and in violation of the Rules). 


James P. Hoffa

April 3, 1998

Page 1


The protested references in the 2000 Times do not constitute campaigning.  The article written by Ms. Harvey makes reference to the TDU, but not in the context of the election campaign.  Rather, these references are made in an effort to promote herself and the services she can provide.  Similarly, Ms. McNeely’s feature refers to the TDU as a proponent of member rights and not as a participant in the campaign.  Further, Ms. McNeely does not refer to any of the campaign-related articles which have previously appeared in the Convoy Dispatch.  Instead, articles which concern the “reform movement” are generally referred to.  This is a legitimate and proper subject for communication with members.  Hoffa, P-808-IBT-SCE (June 28, 1996), aff’d, 96 - Elec. App. - 213 (KC) (July 17, 1996).  The TDU publication is further praised because it sometimes contains articles written “by and for members of Local 2000.”  The challenged 2000 Times articles make no reference to the election, to any candidate or to TDU’s campaign activities, and does not violate the Rules.


The Election Officer finds that Ms. McNeely’s article inviting members to “[L]earn how you can become a proponent for member’s rights and . . . join the TDU” is not campaigning.  The Election Officer recognizes that support or attack of a candidate or candidacy is not limited to explicit references to the individual as a candidate or his or her campaign.  The Election Officer notes, however, that in the coming months he will closely scrutinize the tone, content, and timing of material in publications for violations of the Rules.


For the foregoing reasons, 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:


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

Judith E. Kuhn, Regional Coordinator