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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


              July 20, 1998




Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1


Susanne Gaon

13841 Braddock Springs Road

Apartment B

Centerville, VA  20121


Phillip Feaster, President

Teamsters Local Union 639

3100 Ames Place, NE

Washington, DC  20018


Joseph W. Adolph

228 Austin Drive

Stafford, VA  22554


Thomas S. Hardgrove

15514 Fort Washington Court

Dumfries, VA  22026


Joe Sukert

1133 Lakeview Drive

Stafford, VA  22554


Richard E. Dade

9307 Fresham Court

Laurel, MD  20708


Douglas Einolf

6419 Glenoak Avenue

Baltimore, MD  21214


Kenneth E. Walker

12713 Cunninghill Cove

Baltimore, MD  21220


Marshall A. Brown

3943 Martin Luther King Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20032

William B. Gibson, III

6131 Montrose Road

Cheverly, MD  20785


Warren R. Davis

6108 43rd Avenue

Hyattsville, MD  20782


Eric Wood

3200 Green Hill Road

Baltimore, MD  21219


Irvin L. “Skip” Wahl, Jr.

1805 Portship Road

Baltimore, MD  21222


Michael Petro

8241 Peach Orchard Road

Baltimore, MD  21222


Carolyn V. Purcell

1907 Ritchie Road

Forestville, MD  20747


James A. Smith

6213 Tyner Street

Springfield, VA  22152


J. Matt Latzo

9608 Hastings Road

Columbia, MD  21046


Kathleen C. Henry

8815 Hawthorne Lane, No. 203

Laurel, MD  20708

Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1


Joseph B. Rockstroh

6154 Old Washington Boulevard

Elkridge, MD  21227


Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI  48334


Hoffa Slate

c/o Patrick J. Szymanski, Esq.

Baptiste & Wilder

1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Suite 500

Washington, DC  20036

Tom Leedham

c/o Tom Leedham Campaign Office

Post Office Box 15877

Washington, DC  20003


John Metz

c/o George O. Suggs, Esq.

Wilburn & Suggs

1015 Locust

Suite 818

St. Louis, MO  63101


Ken Mee

42356 Greenbrier Park Drive

Fremont, CA  94538


Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1


Re:  Election Office Case No. PR-160-LU639-EOH

        Election Office Case No. PR-162-LU639-EOH




Joe Adolph, a member of Local Union 246 and 19 members of various other local unions, 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 639.  The allegation is that the May/June edition of the Local Vocal, a regular union-financed publication of Local Union 639, contained material supporting the candidacy of James P. Hoffa for general president.  Ken Mee, a member of Local Union 287 and a candidate for International vice - president, filed a protest making the same allegation.  Local Union 639 denies that the newsletter contained any improper material.


Because the protests raised identical issues, the Election Officer consolidated them for resolution.  The protests were investigated by Election Office Counsel David S. Paull.


Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1


In support of their contention, the protesters supplied a copy of two articles appearing in the protested issue of the Local Vocal. The first begins with the headline, “Under Nose of Government Overseers/Congress Wonders What Carey Did with $156 Million.”  The subject of this article is the work of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Education and the Workforce (“Committee”), chaired by Representative Peter Hoekstra.  The article states that an accountant, in his testimony before the Committee, “detailed how Ron Carey and his associates on the IBT general executive board took over in 1991 with assets of $156 million and in 1997 ended up with a bankrupt union.”  Referring to what was termed as certain “findings” of the accountant, the article states that “Carey and his cronies” may have “funneled dues money into their campaigns” and prevented the IBT trustees “from reviewing books and records.”  The article also refers to the IBT’s previous statements that the majority of these union funds were “being spent on the members for strike benefits.”  The newsletter describes this explanation as “the Big Lie of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).”  In addition to the criticism of Mr. Carey, his supporters and the TDU, the article quotes a member of the Committee as stating that the Independent Review Board (“IRB”) “acted to protect Carey and actually was used to punish people [attempting to obtain information].”


The second article is entitled “Hoffa Cleared to Run for Union President.”  One-quarter of the eight column-inch article is comprised of Mr. Hoffa’s picture and a caption which identifies him by name and makes no further statement.  This article begins by stating that Mr. Hoffa has been “absolved of all campaign irregularities in the election set aside after Ron Carey was alleged to have converted more than $700,000 of union money to his campaign.”  The indictments of several of Mr. Carey’s campaign officials are referred to as the Election Officer’s investigation of Mr. Hoffa’s campaign.  Vague references are made to the mailing of the rerun ballots and to potential opponents of Mr. Hoffa.


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:


. . . 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.


Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1


Both the Election Officer and the Election Appeals Master have stated 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).  Reports which directly concern the Election Officer’s order for a rerun election are within the IBT’s institutional interests, as is the work of Mr. Hoekstra’s Committee.  Atha, PR-001-IBT-EOH (October 10, 1997); Hoffa, P-013-IBT-EOH et. seq. (November 5, 1997), aff’d, 97 - Elec. App. - 332 (KC) (December 8, 1997) (Committee activities which raise questions about the manner in which the IBT has conducted its affairs are legitimate and newsworthy). 


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).


Despite the controversy surrounding the facts and conclusions addressed in the protested articles, the articles are a proper exercise of Local Union 639's function of reporting to the membership.  There is no reference to the election, or to any candidates, except in the context of the Election Officer’s recent decision.  See United States v. IBT (In re Carey Slate), 88 Civ. 4485 (DNE) June 22, 1998; In re Carey Slate, PR-035-EOH (Post-47-EOH), aff’d, 98 - Elec. App. - 348 (KC) (May 15,1998).  No candidates were attacked in the newsletter.  The references to Mr. Carey and the TDU were harshly critical.  However, Mr. Carey is no longer a candidate and the criticism is directed at his record as general president.  References to “Carey and his cronies” or to TDU do not link the criticism of Mr. Carey’s tenure as general president to any current candidate.  The picture of candidate Hoffa it is not excessive and is sufficiently related to the text.  Atha, PR-127-IBT-EOH (July 8, 1998).


The Election Officer therefore concludes that the articles make no connection to the campaign or to the election beyond that which is permitted by the Rules.


Accordingly, the protests are 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

Susanne Gaon

July 20, 1998

Page 1



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