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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

November 12, 1998





Miguel Gomez

November 12, 1998

Page 1


Miguel Gomez

P.O. Box 1237

Bothell, WA 98041


Michael Merlino

Operations Manager

Stoneway Concrete Dispatch

1915 SE Maple Valley Highway

Renton, WA 98109


John A. Williams, Sec.-Treas.

Teamsters Local Union 117

553 John Street

Seattle, WA 98109


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI 48098


Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

   Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI 48334


Jon Rabine, President

Teamsters Joint Council 28

553 John Street

Seattle, WA 98109

Miguel Gomez

November 12, 1998

Page 1


Re:  Election Office Case No. PR-282-LU117-PNW



Miguel Gomez, a member of Local Union 174, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”) against Local Union 117 and the Stoneway Concrete Company (“Stoneway”) of Renton, Washington.  Mr. Gomez alleges that Stoneway permitted the placing of campaign material supporting the candidacy of James P. Hoffa and Jon Rabine on “at least” one of its trucks and that other similar campaign material was on display in a window of the Local Union 117 union hall.  Mr. Hoffa is a candidate for general president and Mr. Rabine is a candidate for Western Region vice-president. 


Stoneway contended that the placing of campaign-related stickers on their vehicles violated company policy, but did not have sufficient knowledge to confirm or deny the allegation.  Mr. Rabine admits that a Hoffa/Rabine sticker was placed in a window of Local Union 117 headquarters but has since been removed.


Miguel Gomez

November 12, 1998

Page 1


The protest was investigated by Adjunct Regional Coordinator Paige Keys.


The protester claims that on August 27, 1998, “at 11:55 a.m. and again at 1:15 p.m.,” he observed a Stoneway vehicle displaying an adhesive sticker containing the names of Mr. Hoffa and Mr. Rabine.  The protester provided both the license plate and the company number of the truck.  Two other witnesses were alleged to have observed the campaign signs on this truck.  The  Election Officer’s representative visited Stoneway’s yard and observed several trucks with campaign signs in the window.


Stoneway checked the vehicle which was the subject of the protest as well as all of its other vehicles and removed all campaign material.  Additionally, Stoneway stated that its policy prohibits the display of campaign material on company trucks.  During the investigation, Stoneway agreed to post a copy of this policy and a notice instructing drivers to remove any campaign materials from company vehicles.  Stoneway further agreed to make every effort to see that campaign material was not posted on their vehicles.


Mr. Rabine admits that, for a period of days in August of 1998, a campaign sticker was displayed on a window of the Local Union 117 union hall.  The sticker was placed on the window by a recently hired business representative who was not familiar with the Rules.  The campaign sticker has been removed and the employee has been made aware of the restrictions on this type of activity.


As to the allegations made against Stoneway, Article VIII, Section 11(a) of the Rules provides that “All Union members retain the right to participate in campaign activities, including the right to . . . support or oppose any candidate, to aid or campaign for any candidate, and to make personal campaign contributions.” However, the Rules strictly prohibit IBT members from appropriating union or employer property in order to make personal campaign statements.  Specifically, nothing in Article VIII or any other article of the Rules authorizes members to affix campaign material to employer-owned vehicles.


Furthermore, affixing campaign material to employer-owned vehicles results in improper contributions by those employers to the Hoffa campaign, as well as supplying the false impression that the employers endorse one candidate, in violation of Article XII, Section 1(b)(1) of the Rules.  That Section specifically states the following:


[N]o employer may contribute, or shall be permitted to contribute, directly or indirectly, anything of value, where the purpose, object or foreseeable effect of the contribution is to influence, positively or negatively, the election of a candidate.  These prohibitions extend beyond strictly monetary contributions made by an employer and include contributions or use of employer stationery, equipment, facilities and personnel.


Miguel Gomez

November 12, 1998

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Employers are strictly liable for such a violation and can be directed to remove the campaign materials and post a notice.


In Meadows, PR-108-LU916-NYC (July 8, 1998), the Election Officer determined that

if an employer can show that it maintains and strictly enforces a policy prohibiting the placement of such materials on company vehicles (including the regular inspection of such vehicles for such materials and the removal of any material found) and if no employer agent was involved in the violation of the employer policy, the Election Officer will not find the employer liable for the violation.


In the instant case, Stoneway maintains an appropriate policy with regard to the display of campaign materials on its property and has made an effort to see that the material has been removed.  Further, Stoneway has agreed to reconfirm its policy with its employees and provide specific instructions on the display of campaign materials.


As to the allegations against Local Union 117, the Rules at Article VIII, Section 11(c), in pertinent part, provide:


Union funds, facilities, equipment, stationery, personnel, etc., may not be used to assist in campaigning unless the Union is reimbursed at fair market value for such assistance, and unless all candidates are provided equal access to such assistance and are notified in advance, in writing, of the availability of such assistance.


The display of the Hoffa/Rabine campaign sticker on a window of the Local Union 117 union hall violated the Rules.  However, the duration of the violation was not lengthy and the inappropriate material has been removed.


Accordingly, the protest is DENIED as to Stoneway and GRANTED as to Local

Union 117.


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.  The Election Officer orders the officers and employees of Local Union 117 to immediately cease and desist from any conduct which violates the Rules including the posting of campaign material on local union property.


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).

Miguel Gomez

November 12, 1998

Page 1


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.






Michael G. Cherkasky

Election Officer





cc:              Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master

Paige Keys, Adjunct Regional Coordinator