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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Villa, 2017 ESD 370

OFFICE OF THE ELECTION SUPERVISOR

for the

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS

 

IN RE: FRANK VILLA,                             )           Protest Decision 2017 ESD 370

                                                                        )           Issued: January 15, 2017

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-301-061316-FW     

____________________________________)                      

 

Frank Villa, member and elected delegate of Local Union 630, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2015-2016 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protest alleged that Kevin Herran, member and business agent of Local Union 986, violated the Rules by attempting to disrupt a Teamsters United organizing meeting.

 

            Election Supervisor representative Deborah Schaaf investigated this protest.

 

Findings of Fact and Analysis

 

Teamsters United hosted what it called a “Southern California Organizing Meeting” on Sunday, June 11, 2016 at the American Legion hall in Pomona CA.  The flyer advertising the event read as follows:

 

Teamsters United is on the move! Fred Zuckerman has won the delegates needed to get nominated. Here in So Cal, we are building a strong campaign, after challenging in more delegate elections than ever before.

 

Join IBT Organizer and Teamsters United Candidate John Palmer, and Teamsters United Candidate Richard Galvan along with elected delegates and concerned Teamsters for updates on the campaign and the upcoming IBT Convention. Talk about how we can build support, reach members and make Teamster history this fall.

 

The flyer also stated: “Event open to Teamsters who support change in our International Union leadership. We reserve the right to determine attendance.”  This statement was consistent with longstanding Election Office precedent that grants members the right to bar from a meeting individuals they viewed as supporters of their opposition. Thus, Election Officer Holland in Konowe, P-008-LU632-NYC (October 29, 1990), aff’d, 90 Elec.App. 8 (November 7, 1990), held that individuals required to leave a TDU meeting had no claim to a Rules violation:

 

It is not a violation of the Election Rules for a campaign organization or member caucus to limit attendance or participation in their meetings to individuals who share their beliefs or objectives. The fact that the leaflet advertising the TDU meeting in question stated that the meeting was open to all Local 732 members, and that the Konowe protestors were members of Local 732, does not restrict the right of TDU to ask the Konowe protestors and other Local 732 officials to leave.

 

That holding has been followed in all ensuing supervised International Officer Elections.  In 1996, the Election Officer concluded that “members gathered for [a] TDU meeting had a right under the Rules to limit their meeting to individuals who shared their electoral beliefs or objectives.  ‘If a member or candidate does not wish to associate with another member or candidate…, various sections of the Rules protect that wish.’ Baudo, P-680-LU344-SCE (April 3, 1996), aff’d, 96 Elec.App. 165 (KC) (April 12, 1996).  Freedom of association is a fundamental political right included in Article VIII, Section 11(a)’s basic guarantee: ‘All union members retain the right to participate in campaign activities…’[1]  Thus, with respect to the International officer election, members have the right to associate with like-minded members and to exclude others if they choose.”  Rudolph, P-861-TDU-PNW (August 29, 1996); see also Richards, 2000 EAD 27 (September 27, 2000), aff’d, 00 EAM 8 (October 23, 2000).  We have affirmed this right in the current election cycle.  Zuckerman, 2015 ESD 7 (July 15, 2015).

 

            Kevin Herran, a business agent for Local Union 986, received the email and link to the flyer that announced the meeting.  He was elected as an alternate delegate to the IBT convention on a slate supporting Hoffa-Hall 2016; when a delegate relinquished his seat, Herran succeeded to the position of delegate.  He told our representative he previously had been a member of TDU for some ten years and, in the 2011 election cycle, attended a rally for Sandy Pope in her candidacy for IBT General President.  He decided to attend the June 11 event, telling our representative that even though he was elected on a slate that supported Hoffa-Hall 2016 he was unsure which candidates he would support at the convention.

 

            Herran entered the American Legion hall and descended to the basement where the meeting was to be held.  He was signing in when he was approached by Frank Halstead.  Halstead was a candidate for IBT vice president – West region on the Teamsters United slate.  He and Herran have known each other for many years.  Halstead knew that Herran was supporting Hoffa-Hall 2016 and, as such, was not welcome at this event, which was a strategy session for the upcoming convention and for the fall campaign.  Halstead asked Herran to step outside to discuss his attendance.  Herran did so. 

 

            According to Halstead, he told Herran he could not attend the meeting, explaining that he knew Harren supported Hoffa-Hall 2016 and that this meeting was to devise strategy for Teamsters United.  Halstead told our representative that Harren replied with “Fuck you.”  Halstead replied by asking, “Why are you being such a jerk?  I’m trying to be diplomatic.”  Harren replied:            How do you know I’m a Hoffa supporter?  I’m not sure who I’m voting for.  I attended a Sandy Pope meeting last time, and no one asked me to leave.”  Halstead replied that the Pope event was a public rally, not a strategy session, and he repeated that Harren could not attend the June 11 event.  At this word, Harren again stated, “Fuck you,” adding, “Do what you have to do.”  Halstead then asked: “What are you saying? You’re going to make me file a protest? Call the police?  You’re not coming in.”  Herran’s answer was, “Like I said, fuck you, do what you have to do.”  Halstead told our representative he then asked Gilbert Ramos to stand by the door to prevent Harren from coming in; Halstead then returned inside and attended the meeting.  Ramos, who was asked to stand by the door, is a retired member of Local Union 630.  He belongs to the American Legion and arranged the rental for the June 11 meeting.  Ramos stood by the door, watching Herran outside making phone calls.  He was concerned that Herran was calling Hoffa supporters to try to get them to show up and attempt to enter the meeting, so he asked the Legion to call the police to remove Harren, and they did so.  The police arrived, detained Herran for about twenty minutes, searched his vehicle, then released him.  Both Herran and the police left.

 

            Our representative interviewed Herran, who did not dispute any aspect of the circumstances recounted by Halstead and Ramos.

 

 

 

On the precedent cited above, Halstead had the right to exclude Herran from the Teamsters United organizing meeting because the event sponsors had the right to limit attendance to their event under the Rules for reasons relating to shared political beliefs and avoiding disruptions in the meeting.  Halstead exercised his right, Herran complied, albeit with some belligerence, and the meeting proceeded without disruption.

 

On this basis, we deem this protest RESOLVED.  Villa, the protestor, requested “an affirmation of the rights of any campaign to hold organizing meetings and determine attendance, without disruption.”  We gave this affirmation in Zuckerman, supra, at the beginning of this election cycle, and Halstead acted in accord with it here.

 

Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within two (2) working days of receipt of this decision.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Supervisor in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing, shall specify the basis for the appeal, and shall be served upon:

 

Kathleen A. Roberts

Election Appeals Master

JAMS

620 Eighth Avenue, 34th floor

New York, NY 10018

kroberts@jamsadr.com

 

Copies of the request for hearing must be served upon the parties, as well as upon the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1050 17th Street, N.W., Suite 375, Washington, D.C. 20036, all within the time prescribed above.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.

 

                                                                        Richard W. Mark

                                                                        Election Supervisor

cc:        Kathleen A. Roberts

            2017 ESD 370

DISTRIBUTION LIST (BY EMAIL UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED):

 


Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

25 Louisiana Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20001

braymond@teamster.org

 

David J. Hoffa

1701 K Street NW, Ste 350

Washington DC 20036

hoffadav@hotmail.com

 

Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

P.O. Box 10128

Detroit, MI 48210-0128

ken@tdu.org

 

Barbara Harvey

1394 E. Jefferson Avenue

Detroit, MI 48207

blmharvey@sbcglobal.net

 

Teamsters United

315 Flatbush Avenue, #501

Brooklyn, NY 11217

info@teamstersunited.org

 

Louie Nikolaidis

350 West 31st Street, Suite 40

New York, NY 10001

lnikolaidis@lcnlaw.com

 

Julian Gonzalez

350 West 31st Street, Suite 40

New York, NY 10001

jgonzalez@lcnlaw.com

 

David O’Brien Suetholz

515 Park Avenue

Louisville, KY 45202

dave@unionsidelawyers.com

 

Fred Zuckerman

P.O. Box 9493

Louisville, KY 40209

fredzuckerman@aol.com

 


Frank Villa

frank.dec17@gmail.com

 

Frank Halstead

fwhalstead@yahoo.com

 

Kevin Harren

teamster_kevin@yahoo.com

 

Teamsters Local Union 630

750 S. Stanford Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90021

cecilia@teamsters630.org

 

Teamsters Local Union 986

1198 Durfee Avenue

So. El Monte, CA 91733

info@teamsters986.org

 

Deborah Schaaf

1521 Grizzly Gulch

Helena, MT 59601

dschaaf@ibtvote.org

 

Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

EllisonEsq@aol.com



[1] Article VIII, Section 11(a) of the 1996 Rules is identical in relevant respects to Article VII, Section 12 (a) of the current Rules.