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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


May 29, 1998




Richard Volpe

May 29, 1998

Page 1


Richard Volpe

6 Tuxedo Avenue

New Hyde, NY  11040


Ken Hall, Director

Parcel and Small Package Trade Division

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20001


Henry F. Murray, Esq.

Livingston, Adler, Pulda & Meiklejohn

557 Prospect Avenue

Hartford, CT  06105

Carroll E. Haynes, President

Teamsters Local Union 237

216 West 14th Street

New York, NY  10011


Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334


Richard Volpe

May 29, 1998

Page 1


Re:  Election Office Case No. PR-104-LU237-EOH




Richard Volpe, a member of Local Union 550, 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 the Ken Hall slate[1] and Carl Haynes.  Mr. Volpe is a candidate for Eastern Region vice president who ran on the Hoffa Slate in the initial election.  Mr. Hall serves as Director of the IBT Parcel and Small Package Trade Division and has declared himself a candidate for general president.  Mr. Haynes is the president of Local Union 237 and a candidate for Eastern Region vice president opposing Mr. Volpe.


Mr. Volpe alleges that an edition of the Local 237 Newsline (Newsline”) dated May 1998 was improperly used by Mr. Hall and Mr. Haynes for campaign purposes.  Mr. Hall and Mr. Haynes deny that the Rules were violated.


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

Richard Volpe

May 29, 1998

Page 1


The Newsline is a union-financed periodical published by Local Union 237.  Mr. Volpe submitted the copy of the first page of the protested publication as evidence that Newsline was used for campaign purposes.  An article containing the headline “Court-Appointed Monitor Approves Rerun by Hoffa” is in the upper left-hand corner of the page.  The article discusses the Election Officer’s recent decision in In re Carey Slate, PR-035-EOH (Post-47-EOH), aff’d, 98 - Elec. App. - 348 (KC) (May 15, 1998).  Mr. Volpe underlined the following sentences from the article to specifically indicate the parts which he alleges are improper:


When ballots for the new election are sent to the membership, the candidates for President are expected to be Hoffa and Ken Hall, a 41-year-old West Virginian who is director of the union’s 200,000-member small packages division.  As such, Hall played an important part in hammering out the contract that ended last year’s strike by 185,000 workers against United Parcel Service


(Emphasis original.)  All of the material cited by Mr. Volpe appeared on the front page of Newsline.


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), aff’d, 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:


. . . 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.


Richard Volpe

May 29, 1998

Page 1


The Election Officer and the Election Appeals Master have previously determined that the topics contained in the Newsline article are proper subjects for union-financed communications.  Blake, P-245-JC42-CLA (December 18, 1996), aff'd, 96 - Elec. App. - 54 (KC) (January 12, 1996) (reports on the results of protest decisions are legitimate subjects for union-financed publications); Atha, PR-001-IBT-EOH (October 10, 1997) (reports which directly concern the rerun election are within the institutional interests of the IBT and all affiliated local unions);  Michaels, P-205-LU407-CLE (November 8, 1995) (UPS collective bargaining negotiations and its outcome are of wide and legitimate interest to all union members).  See, also, Riley, P-101-IBT-EOH (August 23, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 14 (KC) (September 29, 1995) and Hoffa, P-1181-IBT-EOH (November 18, 1996). 


The protester contends that the article violates the Rules because it describes Mr. Hall as a candidate and also refers to “many of his positive accomplishments within the Teamsters.”  However, the Rules do not automatically prohibit a union-financed publication from connecting a potentially positive fact with a candidate, so long as the context is newsworthy, the tone objective and the timing appropriate.  Where, as here, an article in a union-financed publication makes praiseworthy or critical statements about a candidate in the context of legitimate and newsworthy subjects, the Rules are not violated unless the statements are excessive or make a direct link to the election or the campaign.  Landon, PR-011-LU337-EOH (October 22, 1997) (harsh criticism of a candidate by the president of a large local union in a union-financed publication did not support or attack a candidate because the remark was made in the context of a legitimate subject for communication and did not make a connection to the election); Atha, PR-002-IBT-EOH et.seq. (October 15, 1997) (praiseworthy comments directed toward a candidate in the context of legitimate union business made no connection to the election and therefore was not campaigning).


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).  In addition to referring to the candidacy of both Mr. Hall and Mr. Hoffa, the union-financed text identifies Mr. Hall as the director of the “small packages division” and as an “important” player in ending the UPS strike last year.  Thus, the protested language is a statement of Mr. Hall’s union affiliation and position within the IBT and does not express support for him as a candidate.  Hoffa, P-1279-LU50-NCE (November 25, 1996).


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:


Richard Volpe

May 29, 1998

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













[1]  The Election Officer is not aware of any group of candidates calling itself the Ken Hall “slate” and treats this protest as if it were filed against Mr. Hall and Mr. Haynes individually.