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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

September 18, 1998




Chris Schweitzer

September 18, 1998

Page 1


Chris Schweitzer

10843 Lurline Avenue

Chatsworth, CA 91311


Steve Puls

Human Resources Manager

Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

15800 Roscoe Boulevard


Tom Leedham Campaign Office

P.O. Box 15877

Washington, DC 20003


Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq.

Kennedy, Schwartz & Cure

113 University Place

New York, NY 10003

Chris Schweitzer

September 18, 1998

Page 1


Re: Election Office Case No. PR-213-LU896-PNW




Chris Schweitzer, a member of Local Union 896, 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 Anheuser-Busch Company, Inc (“Company”).  The protester alleged that the Company’s removal of two general purpose bulletin boards from the Van Nuys facility improperly modified a pre-existing right to campaign.  The Company admits the allegation and additionally states that another general purpose bulletin board has been removed from the Van Nuys plant.  The Company contends, however, that all three bulletin boards were removed due to their “unsightly appearance” and not to deprive employees of their right to engage in campaign-related activities.


The protest was investigated by Regional Coordinator Christine M. Mrak.


The protester has been employed by the Company at the Van Nuys facility for 20 years.  She states that during this period, the Company has consistently maintained general purpose bulletin boards on the plant walls at the breakrooms on Lines 8 and 9.  According to Ms. Schweitzer, employees were permitted to post campaign literature on these bulletin boards both in the 1990-1991 election cycle and during the current campaign period.  Additionally, two business agents corroborate the protester’s statements concerning the prior use of the general purpose bulletin boards in these breakrooms.


On or about August 7, 1998, Plant Manager Gary Lee removed these bulletin boards from the premises.  According to the protester, Mr. Lee stated that the boards were removed because they contained “inappropriate things.”  The Company and Local Union 896 are currently involved in contentious and protracted collective bargaining negotiations.  Tensions are high.

Chris Schweitzer

September 18, 1998

Page 1


The Company has not provided any evidence to dispute that the employees have previously been allowed to post campaign material on the general purpose bulletin board which were removed by Mr. Lee.  Further, neither Mr. Lee nor any other Company representative has made any statement specifying which items were considered “inappropriate.”  The protester states that she has always been willing to remove inappropriate material.


The protester also contends that, in addition to campaign literature supporting various candidates, the protested bulletin boards contained several items related to the current collective bargaining negotiations at the time they were removed.  As of that date, according to Ms. Schweitzer, a copy of a controversial grievance and several notices objecting to the Company’s alleged refusal to continue checking off union dues were also posted. 


The Rules at Article VIII, Section 11(d) provide that:


[N]o restrictions shall be placed upon candidates’ or members’ preexisting rights to solicit support, distribute leaflets or literature, conduct campaign rallies, hold fund-raising events or engage in similar activities on employer . . .premises.  Such facilities and opportunities shall be made available to all candidates and members on a nondiscriminatory basis. 


An established past practice is “one source of preexisting rights.”  Stephenson, P-1204-LU763-PNW (December 2, 1996);  In re Hall, 90 - Elec. App. - 1 (KC) (October 4, 1990); Brinkman, P-151-LU305-PNW (September 18, 1995), aff’d, 95 - Elec. App. - 21 (KC) October 10, 1995).  Where a pre-existing right is determined to exist, it is specifically protected by the Rules at Article VIII, Section 11(d), which prohibits any change or cutback during the election process.  Jesses, P-183-LU612-SEC (February 5, 1991) (an employer cannot change its practice with respect to parking lot access).  See also, Furst, PR-168-LU1145-NCE (August 25, 1998).


The evidence establishes that the employees at the Van Nuys facility have a pre-existing right to post campaign literature on the bulletin boards located at the breakrooms on Lines 8 and 9.  The removal of the boards by the Company effectively terminates these practices during the election period and therefore constitutes a modification of pre-existing rights in violation of the Rules at Article VIII, Section 11(d).


Accordingly, the protest is GRANTED.


When the Election Officer determines that the Rules have been violated, he “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.


Chris Schweitzer

September 18, 1998

Page 1


The Election Officer therefore orders the Anheuser-Busch Company to:


(1)  Cease and desist from establishing or enforcing any policies at the Van Nuys facility which restrict the free exercise of campaign rights, including the right to post campaign literature on all general purpose bulletin boards which have previously been used by employees for campaign purposes;  


(2)  Reinstall the general purpose bulletin boards that were removed from breakrooms at Lines 8 and 9 and the additional bulletin board not later than September 25, 1998;


(3)  Post the attached notice on all company, union and general purpose bulletin boards at the Van Nuys facility for the period beginning September 25, 1998 and ending November, 2, 1998.


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 (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.


Chris Schweitzer

September 18, 1998

Page 1







Michael G. Cherkasky

Election Officer




cc:              Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master

Christine Mrak, Regional Coordinator







All IBT members have the right to support candidates of their own choosing for International Office in the IBT elections.  On or about August 7, 1998, the Anheuser Busch Company at the Van Nuys facility violated this right by removing from the premises two general purpose bulletin boards which had previously been used by IBT employees to post materials supporting various International candidates.  The Anheuser-Busch Company has been ordered to restore these bulletin boards to their original location by the IBT Election Officer and has further been ordered not to prohibit the reasonable posting of campaign materials on these bulletin boards.








Michael G. Cherkasky

Election Officer
















Approved by Michael G. Cherkasky, IBT Election Officer.