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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

October 28, 1998




Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

Page 1


Mike Raabe, Operations Director

Roadway Express

201 Toland Street

San Francisco, CA 94124


Mark Sparacino

17 Laurel Court

Martinez, CA 94553             


Ken Mee

42356 Greenbrier Park Drive

Fremont, CA 94538                                         


Tom Leedham Campaign Office

Post Office Box 15877

Washington, DC  20003



Hoffa Unity Slate

c/o Patrick J. Szymanski

Baptiste & Wilder

1150 Connecticut Ave., Suite 500

Washington, DC 20036


John Metz Slate

c/o George O. Suggs

Wilburn & Suggs

1015 Locust, Suite 818

St. Louis, MO 63101


Ed J. Mireles

1208 S. Kings Court

Anaheim, CA 92801

Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

Page 1


Re: Election Office Case No. PR-306-LU287-PNW




Mark Sparacino, a member of Local Union 85, 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 Ken Mee, a member of Local Union 287 and candidate for Western Region vice-president on the Tom Leedham “Rank and File Power” Slate.  The protester alleges the following: (1) that on September 16, 1998, Mr. Mee and George Saavedra, a member of Local Union 490, distributed campaign literature inside a Roadway Express facility in San Francisco to employees on work time; (2) by permitting the protester to campaign, Roadway Express made an improper employer contribution to Mr. Mee’s campaign; (3) that while

Mr. Mee campaigned at Roadway, he distributed “Union Service” decals that were purchased with  IBT funds; and, (4) that in July or early August 1998, Mr. Mee received improper donations of food and equipment from an employer, Food Link, that were used in campaign activities when he delivered food to striking members from Local Union 315.

Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

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  Mr. Mee maintains that this protest is untimely and should be dismissed.  In response to the allegations, Mr. Mee denies that he actively campaigned in the yard at Roadway Express.  Mr. Mee admits that he gave flyers to two employees in the hall but maintains that he was merely being polite to employees he encountered on the way to the manager’s office.  Mr. Mee claims that the “Union Service” decals are not campaign paraphernalia and he is permitted to distribute them under the Rules.  Mr. Mee states that he did not engage in any campaigning when he distributed food to striking workers of Local Union 315. 


This protest was investigated by Adjunct Regional Coordinator Paige Keys and Election Office Staff Attorney Kathryn A. Naylor.


Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules requires protesters to file within two (2) working days of the day when the protestor becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware of the action protested.  The short time limits are important to ensuring that alleged violations of the Rules are quickly brought to the attention of the Election Officer in order to afford the greatest opportunity for applying an effective remedy if a violation is found.  Here, the protester filed the protest with the Election Office on September 25, 1998.  Mr. Mee argues that since the protester was present when he visited the Roadway facility on September 16, 1998, he should have made the allegations by September 18, 1998.  Mr. Mee further contends that the delivery of food to striking members from Local Union 315 occurred sometime in July or August, therefore that allegation is clearly untimely.  The Election Officer recognizes that the protestors arguments on the timeliness of the instant protest have merit. Nevertheless, the Election Officer has not treated time limits as an absolute jurisdictional requirement, but rather as a prudential restriction.  The Election Officer has determined that the allegations made by this protest must be resolved on the merits.


  1. Allegations Involving Roadway Express


There is no dispute that on September 16, 1998, Messrs. Mee and Saavedra went to Roadway Express to engage in campaign activity.  Mr. Mee states that on his first visit to any employer, he routinely introduces himself to the manager and states his intent to campaign at the facility.  There is no evidence to support the protester’s claim that Messrs. Mee and Saavedra campaigned while walking through the yard on the way to the manager’s office.  However, Messrs. Mee and Saavedra admit that they passed out flyers to two employees who were in the hall of the facility and that they placed campaign literature in the break room.  Mike Raabe, the Operations Director, states that he told Messrs. Mee and Saavedra that they could not campaign on company time and that Derek Brown, the shop steward, told them campaigning was only allowed in the parking lot.


The Rules generally do not give candidates or members the right to campaign inside an employer’s facility, unless there is a pre-existing right. While the Rules strictly prohibit campaign contributions from employers, the Election Officer has repeatedly held that it is inappropriate to analyze access to employer premises in these terms. However, Article VIII, Section 11(d) states:


Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

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


The Election Officer has repeatedly stated that “[i]f an employer chooses to allow campaigning on their premises, it may do so as long as equal access is provided to all candidates pursuant to Article VIII, Section 11(d).”  The investigation did not reveal any evidence of a pre-existing right to campaign inside the Roadway facility.


The Election Officer finds that Mr. Mee did not engage in campaign activity by walking through the yard to the manager’s office except when he handed out campaign flyers to two Roadway employees during work time inside the terminal and placed campaign literature in the break room.


The Adjunct Regional Coordinator has discussed the equal access provisions with

Mr. Raabe.  Even though there is no pre-existing right to campaign, Mr. Raabe has agreed that order to provide similar access to the candidates for Western Region vice-president except those on the Leedham slate, Roadway will permit the Hoffa Unity Slate, the John Metz Slate and independent candidate Ed J. Mireles the opportunity to have 35 pieces of campaign literature placed in its breakroom by Mr. Raabe.[1]



  1. Allegation Regarding Improper Use of Union Service Decals


Mr. Mee admits that he distributed the “Union Service” decals to two or three members at Roadway.  Mr. Mee maintains that the decals are available free of charge to any IBT member and all candidates.  Mr. Mee claims that since he has made numerous donations to the IBT, he has “effectively purchased the decals in question.”  Mr. Mee also states he did not pass out the decals with the campaign literature but asked the shop steward at Roadway to pass them out.  He claims therefore that he did not mix the decals with campaign material. 


The investigator spoke with Jack Morisak of the IBT Affiliates Department regarding the IBT policy on distributing these Union Service decals.  Contrary to Mr. Mee’s assertions,

Mr. Morisak stated that these decals are not free to members and candidates.  Mr. Morisak indicated that the decals are available in four sizes and the 1 ½ x 2 inches size decal at issue here is sold for $6.75 for a set of 100 to any local union or member.  Mr. Morisak states that at-large officers would receive these decals free of charge upon request but regional officers such as

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October 28, 1998

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Mr. Mee, generally would not receive these decals free of charge.  Mr. Morisak stated that these decals have been provided to members free of charge on rare occasions when the general president or general secretary-treasurer has so directed. 


Article XII, Section 1 (b)(3) of the Rules provides:


No Union funds or other things of value shall be used, directly or indirectly, to promote the candidacy of any individual.  Union funds, facilities, equipment, stationery, personnel, etc., may not be used to assist in campaigns unless the Union is compensated at fair market value for such assistance, and unless all candidates are provided equal access to such assistance and are advised in advance, in writing of the availability of such assistance.


Like other IBT or union resources, the Union Service decals are subject to these restrictions articulated in Article XII, Section 1 (b)(3).  Even though the Union Service decals  have no campaign content, since the decals, whether given to the steward or handed out by

Mr. Mee, were given to members while Mr. Mee was campaigning at Roadway, the decals indirectly promoted his candidacy.  Therefore, the decals should have been purchased from the IBT by Mr. Mee’s campaign in accordance with the Rerun Plan and the Advisory on Campaign Contributions and Disclosure (Revised November 1997).  The Election Officer notes, however, that the value of the two or three decals distributed at Roadway by Mr. Mee was minimal.


If any incumbent international officer intends to distribute Union Service decals while campaigning or otherwise soliciting support for their candidacy in the rerun election, regardless of current IBT policy, the decals must be purchased from the IBT by the candidate or campaign at the rates established for sale to members and local unions, and the IBT must make them equally available to all candidates or campaigns. 


  1. Allegations of Improper Campaign Donations from Food Link


The investigation revealed no evidence that Mr. Mee was campaigning when he delivered food to striking members of Local Union 315 at Brownng Ferris Industries.


The protester made an additional allegation late in the investigation of this protest that Mr. Mee’s campaign trailer is improperly owned by Food Link, and that Vic Shada, the Secretary-Treasurer of Local Union 228, had evidence to substantiate this allegation.  Mr. Shada stated that approximately two years ago, Mr. Mee personally purchased the trailer in an unfinished condition and that he and Ward Allen assisted Mr. Mee in sanding, finishing and painting the trailer.  Mr. Shada stated that he knew of no connection between Food Link and

Mr. Mee’s trailer.


Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

Page 1


Based on the foregoing, the protest is RESOLVED in part; GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


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.


Therefore, the Election Officer orders:


1.  Mr. Mee will cease and desist from campaigning inside employer facilities where there is no pre-existing right, or absent prior approval of the employer.


2.  By November 2, 1998, any candidates for Western Region vice-president except those on the Leedham “Rank and File Power” Slate, who wish to have literature placed in the break room, shall provide 35 pieces of one page of campaign literature to Roadway Express, by mailing the same via overnight express courier to: Mike Raabe, Operations Director, Roadway Express, 201 Toland Street, San Francisco, CA 94124.  The candidates shall simultaneously serve a copy of the campaign material on the Election Officer.


3.  No later than November 2, 1998, Operations Director Mike Raabe shall have the above-referenced campaign materials placed in the breakroom at the Roadway Express San Francisco, CA facility.


4.  The Election Officer orders Mr. Mee to purchase from the IBT any Union Service decals that will be distributed to IBT members when he is campaigning or otherwise soliciting support for his candidacy. 


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:

Mike Raabe

October 28, 1998

Page 1




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



















[1]Of the 45 employees who work at this Roadway facility, 35 are IBT members.