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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

December 17, 1998




Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

Page 1


Tom Leedham Slate

c/o Tom Leedham Campaign Office

P.O. Box 15877

Washington, DC 20003


Jack Cipriani, President

Teamsters Local Union 391

3100 Sandy Ridge Road

Colfax, NC 27235


John F. Murphy, Sec.-Treas.

Teamsters Local Union 122

765 E. Third Street

Boston, MA 02127


Hoffa Slate

c/o Patrick J. Szymanski, Esq.

Baptiste & Wilder

1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Suite 500

Washington, DC 20036                                                       

Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq.

Kennedy, Schwartz & Cure

113 University Place

New York, NY 10003


Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI 48334


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI 48098

Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

Page 1


Re:              Election Office Case No. PR-271-LU206-EOH




Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

Page 1


Tom Leedham, 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”).  The protester alleges that on August 31, 1998, the Hoffa Unity Slate (“Hoffa Slate”) held a campaign rally outside the IBT Headquarters in Washington, at the same time that the IBT General Executive Board (“GEB”) was having a meeting.  The protester contends that the rally was campaign-related since the attendees allegedly chanted slogans in support of Hoffa, wore Hoffa paraphernalia and affixed Hoffa stickers to the IBT building.  The protester contends that attendees of the rally were on union time and that union funds were also used to cover attendees’ associated travel expenses. 


The protester claims that of 125 to 150 people who attended the rally most were members of Local Union 391, including Jack Cipriani, president of Local Union 391 and a candidate for Eastern Region vice-president on the Hoffa Slate, and Chip Roth, an employee of the local union, and that they traveled by bus and stayed at the Washington Court Hotel at the union’s expense, in violation of the Rules.  The protester alleges that the members of Local Union 391 were paid or reimbursed for “lost time” by Local Union 391 to encourage them to attend the rally.  The protester claims that John Murphy, President of Local Union 122, was transported and housed at the expense of Local Union 122.  The protester also alleges that the permit for the rally was obtained with union resources by Local Union 639.  The protester has requested that the Election Officer conduct a thorough investigation, specifically focusing on the use of union resources to transport and to accommodate the members who attended the rally. 


Mr. Cipriani, on behalf of Local Union 391, maintains that approximately 25 to 30 members of Local Union 391 attended the rally.  Mr. Cipriani states that all of the attendees from the local union drove cars to Washington, D.C. and were not transported by bus.  Mr. Cipriani denies that any of the members of Local Union 391 stayed at the Washington Court Hotel,

but states that some members stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn in Springfield, Virginia, while others drove straight through from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. without an overnight stay.  Mr. Cipriani denies that union funds were used for the transportation or lodging of any  Local Union 391 member who attended the rally, including Messrs. Cipriani and Roth. 

Mr. Cipriani maintains that all expenditures related to attending the rally were covered by members using personal funds and were not reimbursed by Local Union 391.  Mr. Cipriani states that all the employees of Local Union 391 who attended the rally used vacation time to do so and that the local union did not pay any members for “lost time.” 


Mr. Murphy denies that any funds of Local Union 122 were used in relation to his attendance at the rally.  Mr. Murphy states that he initially used personal funds to cover all of his expenses and later was reimbursed by his campaign for a portion of these expenses.  Mr. Steger, vice-president of Local Union 639 and a candidate for International trustee on the Hoffa Unity Slate, admitted that Local Union 639 obtained the permit for the rally but was not involved in the permit application process.


Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

Page 1


Messrs. Cipriani and Murphy maintain that the rally was organized to demonstrate to the GEB support among the rank-and-file membership and local union leadership for IBT funding of the International Officer Rerun Election.  They contend that the rally addressed a legitimate concern for local unions and their members and accordingly, if local union funds had been expended in relation to the rally, such expenditures would have been appropriate.  Both Messrs. Cipriani and Murphy argue that this view is consistent with the Election Officer’s decisions which have found that the funding of the rerun election and the continued enforcement of the overall Consent Decree were issues of legitimate concern to IBT members.  Notwithstanding this position, Messrs. Cipriani and Murphy, claim that local union funds were not utilized out of an abundance of caution. 


The protest was investigated by Protest Chief Mary Leary and Election Office Staff Attorney Kathryn A. Naylor.


On August 31, 1998, the GEB met to decide whether the IBT should authorize funding for the International Officer Rerun Election.  Pictures provided during the investigation show that all signs carried by rally attendees were related to the GEB’s meeting and  read, “Election Now,” “We Pay Dues Let Us Vote,” “VOTE,” or “Give Us Our Election.”  Most of the attendees wore campaign paraphernalia, T-shirts, vests and the like, in support of Mr. Cipriani and the Hoffa Unity Slate.  The pictures also show that small red circular Hoffa stickers were placed on the some of the attendees’ clothing, signs and the IBT building.


Around 9:00 a.m., Leedham supporters were present and observed the rally while participating in a counter demonstration for an hour.  These witnesses stated that when their contingency of ten or so Leedham supporters arrived at the IBT, most of the rally participants changed their focus to the Leedham supporters, and made derogatory remarks regarding Tom Leedham, TDU and the demonstrators’ pro-Leedham position.  Two of the witnesses stated that the rally attendees engaged in quite heated political arguments with some of the Leedham supporters regarding TDU, Ron Carey, the UPS strike, the reform movement and why Hoffa was the better choice for general president.  Some pro-Leedham witnesses claimed that a number of rally attendees tried to interfere with their counter demonstration by walking side by side or in a circle around some of the Leedham supporters.  The witnesses stated that the attendees were shaking and banging on the glass doors of the IBT building and shouting, while an individual with a bullhorn encouraged the attendees to shout, “We want to vote.”  The witnesses stated that the rally attendees spontaneously chanted, “Hoffa, Hoffa” a number of times although on one occasion Mr. Murphy attempted to stop the rally attendees from doing so.  One witness recalls that at one point during their counter demonstration, police officers informed the Leedham group that they would have to leave or move to the grassy area closer to the street since Local

Union 639 obtained the permit for the rally.


One witness stated that he spoke with a  rally attendee whom he knew from Greensboro, North Carolina, and this attendee said that she traveled by bus to Washington, D.C.  The witness could not identify this attendee but believed that she was an employee of Pittsburgh Plate Glass.  Other witnesses stated that they overheard conversations during which attendees discussed arriving by bus and staying at the Washington Court Hotel. 


Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

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In Hoffa, PR-19-JHC-EOH (November 5, 1997), aff’d, 97 - Elec. App. - 332 (KC) (December 8, 1997), the Election Officer found that issues directly relevant to Congressional funding of the rerun election and the continued enforcement of the overall Consent Decree were issues of legitimate concern to IBT members.  The Election Officer finds that the purpose of the rally was to demonstrate support for the GEB to approve IBT funding for the International Officer Rerun Election as evidenced by all the signs carried by attendees and the organized chanting of “We want to vote.”  Therefore, in accordance with Hoffa, the Election Officer finds that the rally’s purpose is a legitimate issue of concern to IBT members. 


Contrary to the protester’s allegations, Mr. Cipriani submitted evidence that the employees of Local Union 391 who attended the rally, including himself and Mr. Roth, used vacation time to do so and that employees paid for transportation and for lodging at the Comfort Inn with their personal funds.  The protester did not provide any evidence that resources of Local Union 122 were used to cover any of Mr. Murphy’s expenses related to attending the rally.  Since the investigation did not reveal any evidence that union funds were used to cover the transportation and lodging expenses for any of the employees of Local Union 391 or

Mr. Murphy, the campaign-related content of the rally, namely, the “Hoffa, Hoffa” chanting and the heated political discussions between the Leedham and Hoffa supporters, does not constitute a violation of the Rules.


Regarding the campaign related content, namely,  the spontaneous chanting of “Hoffa, Hoffa” that occurred on a sporadic basis and was not instigated or planned by rally organizers and the heated political confrontation between the Leedham supporters and the rally attendees, the Election Officer does not find that these incidents converted or changed the essential purpose of the rally to address the GEB’s decision to authorize funding for the International Officer Rerun Election.  In this regard, the Election Officer notes the spontaneity with which the chanting of “Hoffa, Hoffa” occurred.  Cf. Hoffa, P-984-LU748-CSF (October 17, 1998) (the Election Officer determined that event staff with bullhorns provided by IBT personnel led political chants at a union-financed rally, in violation of the Rules.)  Similarly, the Election Officer does not consider the heated discussions that erupted due to the presence of Leedham supporters in the same light as campaign speeches in support of a candidate at a rally which are  sanctioned by rally organizers.


Additionally, the Advisory on Wearing of Campaign Buttons and Other Emblems (September 20, 1995), clearly states that IBT members, including union officers and employees, retain the right to wear campaign emblems on buttons, t-shirts or hats unless they are “representing the Union in relations with unrelated third-parties.”  Powell, P-728-LU688-CHI (May 30, 1996).  The rally attendees’ right to wear campaign paraphernalia, including the stickers that were placed on their clothing and their signs, was not improper since the attendees were not representing their local unions vίs a vίs unrelated third parties. 


As the Election Officer finds that the purpose of the rally was legitimate and not campaign-related, the use of Local Union 639's name and funds to obtain the permit did not violate the Rules.


Tom Leedham Slate

December 17, 1998

Page 1



Based on the foregoing, the protest is DENIED.


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one 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 N. Capitol Street, 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