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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

              February 2, 1999




Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1


Sergio Lopez

121 South Drive

Freedom, CA 95019


Metz Slate

c/o Jim Smith

2833 Cottman Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19149


Ken Mee

42356 Greenbrier Park Drive

Fremont, CA 94538


Bob Blanchet

3853 Dryden Road

Fremont, CA 94555

George O. Suggs, Esq.

Wilburn & Suggs

1015 Locust, Suite 818

St. Louis, MO 63101


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

Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1


Re: Election Office Case No. PR-348-TLC-EOH




Sergio Lopez, secretary-treasurer of Local Union 912 and a candidate for vice-president on the John Metz Slate (“Metz Slate”), 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 the IBT Education and Communications Departments, the Tom Leedham “Rank and File Power” Slate (“Leedham Slate”), IBT vice-president Ken Mee and IBT representative Bob Blanchet.  Mr. Lopez alleges that Messrs. Mee and Blanchet distributed copies of La Voz, an IBT-produced Spanish language publication, at the same time they were distributing campaign material in support of the Leedham Slate.  Mr. Lopez also alleges that the IBT provided extra copies of La Voz to members who were known supporters of the Leedham Slate.  He additionally alleges that information contained on self-addressed reply cards enclosed within the IBT publications was provided to the Leedham Slate by the IBT Education and Communication Departments, in violation of the Rules.


Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1


Mr. Blanchet denies being present at the facility on the day in question.  Mr. Mee admits distributing Leedham Slate literature in front of the facility, but denies that he personally distributed copies of La Voz on that day.  The IBT denies mailing out copies of La Voz in a discriminatory manner.  They also deny that any of their departments improperly released any member information to the Leedham Slate.


The Election Officer deferred this protest for post-election review pursuant to his authority under Article XIV, Section 2(f)(2) of the Rules.


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


On September 24, 1998, Mr. Mee and George Saavedra, a member of Local Union 490, went to San Jose, California to campaign for the Leedham Slate.  Their plan was to distribute campaign and IBT educational literature outside of various employer facilities whose employees were represented by the IBT.  According to both Mr. Mee and a witness provided by the protester, Mr. Blanchet was not present in San Jose that day.  Both Mr. Mee and

Mr. Saavedra were on vacation at the time.


At each of the facilities visited, Mr. Mee stood on one side of the entrance gate and handed out Leedham Slate campaign literature while Mr. Saavedra stood on the other side of the entrance gate and distributed old and recent issues of La Voz.[1]  According to Mr. Mee, in order to avoid the appearance of an improper endorsement of the Leedham Slate by the IBT, he made a conscious decision to make sure that neither individual distributed both the campaign literature and La Voz at the same time.Mr. Mee stated that he provided Mr. Saavedra with the 35 to 40 copies of La Voz that were distributed that day.  He also stated that since the IBT began publishing La Voz, he has been provided with 50 to 75 copies of the newspaper for distribution.


The IBT publishes a new issue of La Voz once or twice a year.  According to the IBT, copies of La Voz are provided free of charge to any member that requests one.  The IBT has produced 100,000 copies for each of the last three editions.  Approximately 20,000 single copies of each new edition are mailed out to individual members.  Another group of approximately 100 people receive bulk mailings of between 2 and 200 copies for further distribution.  The remaining copies are distributed upon request.  To receive either individual or bulk mailings, all a member need do is contact the IBT Education or Communications Departments, who then add the member’s name to the permanent distribution list.


The Rules at Article XX, Section 1(b)(3) provide as follows:


Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1


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, stationary, 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, copies of La Voz are subject to the restrictions articulated in Article XII, Section 1.  The Election Officer notes that La Voz is distributed free of charge and that the issue in question does not contain any campaign content.  An investigation was conducted to determine whether the creation or distribution of this issue of La Voz was manipulated to influence the campaign and support the Leedham Slate.  No evidence supporting this theory was found.


Numerous individuals responsible for or involved with the production and distribution of that edition were interviewed by the Election Office investigator.  The pace and method of distribution of the August 1998 edition of La Voz was compared to earlier editions.  The lists of La Voz recipients and the IBT’s United Parcel Service shipping records for the months of August and September 1998 were also closely examined to determine whether there had been any deviation from established practice.


The Election Office’s investigation found that La Voz was not distributed in any way that showed a preference for any candidate or slate.  There is no evidence that any individual or department within the IBT expedited or facilitated delivery of copies of La Voz to any members based upon their avowed support for any of the candidates in the International Officer Rerun Election.  Furthermore, no evidence was discovered to support the protester’s allegation that information compiled from the return cards enclosed in earlier editions of La Voz was ever shared with the Leedham Slate or any other campaign by any member of any IBT department.


Even assuming that the distribution of La Voz amounted to an improper use of union resources by Mr. Saavedra and Mr. Mee, no remedy would be imposed.  The matter would be considered under the post-election standard and would warrant an remedy only if the violation  “may have affected the outcome of the election.”  As the Election Officer previously stated in Cheatem, Post-27-EOH (August 21, 1997):


[T]he Election Office concludes that this election is presumed to be fair and regular.  Therefore, in order to grant a post-election protest, the evidence must overcome this presumption by demonstrating a violation of the Rules that may have affected the outcome of the election.  This is consistent with DOL’s standard for certification of supervised elections.

Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1



Sergio Lopez

February 2, 1999

Page 1


The actions at issue in this protest were taken in support of the Leedham Slate, one of the two unsuccessful slates in the International Officer Rerun Election.  The protester is a member of the Metz Slate, the other unsuccessful slate.  The distribution by Leedham Slate supporters of 35 to 40 copies of La Voz to IBT members in San Jose, California had the potential to change the voting decisions of a very small number of members in the Rerun Election.  The Hoffa Slate won the Rerun Election by a number of votes which was substantially greater than 35.  Consequently, under the post-election standard, the Election Officer finds that the activities of Mr. Mee and Mr. Saavedra could not  be said to have had any measurable effect on the outcome of the election.


                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


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

[1] The Election Officer finds that Mr. Blanchet was not involved in the protested activity and was improperly identified by Mr. Lopez as being a party to the activity.