This website uses cookies.
Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters


September 15, 1998



Jim Smith

September 15, 1998

Page 1


Jim Smith

4446 Laurel Canyon Boulevard

North Hollywood, CA 91607


Paul Lopez, Sec.-Treas.

Teamsters Local Union 396

880 Oak Park Road

Suite 200

Covina, CA 91724


John Metz Slate

c/o Jim Smith

2833 Cottman Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19149


Tom Leedham Campaign Office

P.O. Box 15877

Washington, DC 20003


Arthur Schwartz, Esq.

Kennedy, Schwartz & Cure

113 University Place

New York, NY 10003


George O. Suggs, Esq.

Wilburn & Suggs

1015 Locust

Suite 818

St. Louis, MO 63101



Jim Smith

September 15, 1998

Page 1


Re: Election Officer Case No. PR-228-LU396-EOH




Jim Smith, a member of Local Union 396, 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 Raul Lopez, the secretary-treasurer of Local Union 396 and a candidate for vice-president on the John Metz Slate (“Metz Slate”), and the Metz Slate.  The protester alleges that Mr. Lopez handed out t-shirts supportive of his candidacy, purchased with union funds, while on union time, in violation of the Rules.  Mr. Lopez admits handing out the   t-shirts but denies that he was campaigning or that the t-shirts constitute campaign material.


The protest was investigated by Election Office Staff Attorney Peter F. Gimbrère.


Jim Smith

September 15, 1998

Page 1


On July 31, 1998, Local Union 396 held a rally to promote full-time jobs at United Parcel Service (“UPS”) and to memorialize the one year anniversary of the 1997 strike against UPS.  During the 1997 strike, Local Union 396 had purchased 3,000 t-shirts for members to wear on the picket lines.  On the front of the shirt are the words “Teamster Local Union 396," the name “Lopez” with the Teamster logo constituting the “o”, and the name “Raul” running vertically in small print next to the “L” of “Lopez.”  The back of the t-shirt has an illustration of a stork eating some frogs along with the slogan “UPS STRIKE Unfair to Teamsters . . . Don’t EVER give up!!”   Mr. Lopez presented documentation showing that the purchase of the t-shirts was authorized in August of 1997 by the Executive Board of Local Union 396 and paid with local union funds.  After the 1997 strike, approximately 120 t-shirts that were not distributed were placed in storage at the local union.


The July 31, 1998 rally was organized and promoted by members of Local Union 396 at the instruction of IBT headquarters.  The IBT provided printed material relating to ongoing issues between the IBT and UPS for distribution at the rally.  No campaign material relating to the International Officer Rerun Election was passed out by any representatives of Local Union 396 during the rally.  Mr. Lopez did distribute the remaining 120 t-shirts to individual members that helped organize the rally.  There is no dispute that the t-shirts were distributed to members without any regard to their political affiliation with a Rerun Election slate or candidate.


Article VIII, Section 11 of the Rules specifies that campaigning must not involve the expenditure of Union funds.  In the instant case, however, Mr. Lopez’s act of handing out surplus t-shirts in a non-discriminatory manner to individuals involved in organizing an official union rally is not campaigning.  While Mr. Lopez is a candidate for International office, he is also the secretary-treasurer of Local Union 396 and has a right to participate in activities of the local union.  The t-shirts were created specifically for a non-election related matter well before Mr. Lopez became a candidate in the Rerun Election.  The inclusion of Mr. Lopez’s name on the t-shirt does not in and of itself transform the t-shirt into campaign material.  There was no other evidence of campaign activity by Mr. Lopez or any other representatives of Local Union 396 at the rally.


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:


Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY  10022

Fax:  (212) 751-4864

Jim Smith

September 15, 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