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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Yarbrough, 2017 ESD 379

OFFICE OF THE ELECTION SUPERVISOR

for the

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS

 

IN RE: JERRY YARBROUGH,                 )           Protest Decision 2017 ESD 379

                                                                        )           Issued: February 12, 2017

            Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-378-100716-SO           

____________________________________)                      

 

Jerry Yarbrough, member of Local Union 667, 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 Warren Unilube denied him campaign access to its employee parking lot, in violation of the Rules.

 

            Election Supervisor representative Christine Mrak investigated this protest.

 

Findings of Fact and Analysis

 

Warren Unilube employs members of Local Union 667 at its West Memphis, AR facility.  Jerry Yarbrough, a local union member, sought campaign access to the employee parking lot at that facility three times during delegates and alternate delegates election period in April 2016.  The first time, he campaigned briefly and was then ordered from the premises.  The second time, after intervention of our representative with company management that included advance notice of campaigning, Yarbrough was held at the security gate until employees had reported to work, thus effectively denying his attempt to campaign among them.  The third time, after additional intervention by our representative, he was permitted access and actually campaigned, although a company security guard stood close by during his campaigning.

 

Yarbrough next sought to campaign for the Teamsters United slate at Warren Unilube during the International officers balloting period.  On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, he made a courtesy visit to Bill Singleton, the employer’s vice president and general counsel, to advise that he would return to campaign in the employee parking lot the next morning at 6:30 a.m.  According to Yarbrough, Singleton replied that this arrangement would be “fine.”

 

When Yarbrough appeared the next morning, however, security refused to allow him onto the property, demanding instead that he remain outside the gate.  According to Yarbrough, security told him that the instructions to bar him from the premises came from plant manager Steve Esoke, despite the arrangements Yarbrough had made with Singleton the previous day.

 

Yarbrough contacted OES to advise of the situation immediately, also filing a timely protest, alleging that the employer’s action barring him from the parking lot violated the Rules.

 

Article VII, Section 12(e) establish that “a candidate for International office and any Union member within the regional area(s) in which said candidate is seeking office may distribute literature and/or otherwise solicit support in connection with such candidacy in any parking lot used by Union members to park their vehicles in connection with their employment.”  The provision further establishes that “each member of the International Union who is employed within the regional area(s) in which said candidate is seeking office has the reciprocal right to receive such literature and/or solicitation of support from such candidate for International office or the candidate’s advocate.”

Our representative contacted Singleton on October 5, 2016, the same date Yarbrough was barred from the Warren Unilube parking lot.  In the many phone and email exchanges that followed over the next two weeks between our representative and Singleton, the employer stated that Yarbrough was barred from the premises not because plant manager Esoke issued a directive to that effect but because Yarbrough allegedly threatened the security guard at the parking lot entrance.  Yarbrough denied making any threats or threatening statements, further stating that he only desired to campaign to members who parked in the employer parking lot.  The employer repeatedly declined to make the guard available for phone interview, also failing to supply an affidavit from her detailing her evidence concerning the exchange with Yarbrough.

 

Per our authority under Article XIII, Section 2(f)(2), we deferred making a determination on this protest until after the election, thereby treating it as a post-election protest filed under Article XIII, Section 3.  Section 3(b) of Article XIII declares that post-election protests “shall only be considered and remedied if the alleged violation may have affected the outcome of the election.” 

 

Local Union 667 and Warren Unilube are situated in the IBT’s South region.  Two regional vice president positions were contested on the International officers ballot for the South region, and Teamsters United candidates won both positions.  The ballots cast for General President by members of Local Union 667 showed a total of 672 ballots counted, with 586 (87.2%) cast for Teamsters United’s Fred Zuckerman and 86 (12.8%) for James Hoffa on the Hoffa-Hall 2016 slate.  Records further show that 38 ballot packages were mailed to local union members employed at the West Memphis facility of Warren Unilube, with 2 voted ballots returned.

 

Union-wide, Hoffa polled 6,034 votes more than Zuckerman.  The closest margin between winning and losing candidates in an at-large contest for International office was among candidates for at-large vice president, where the winning candidate with the fewest votes, Hoffa-Hall 2016’s Steve Vairma, polled 4,157 votes more than the losing candidate with the most votes, Teamsters United’s Sandy Pope. 

 

We find that the employer’s conduct barring Yarbrough from its premises violated the Rules.  We further conclude, however, there is no likelihood that the conduct in question may have affected the outcome of the election for any contested International officer position.  The facts supporting our conclusion on this point are 1) that Teamsters United’s candidates for regional vice president won their contests, and 2) that the number of members employed at Warren Unilube was a tiny fraction of the margin between winning and losing candidates in any contested at-large contest.

 

Accordingly, we DENY this protest.

 

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 379

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

 


Jerry Yarbrough

jerryarbro@aol.com

 

Teamsters Local Union 667

796 East Brooks Ave.

Memphis, TN 38116

wpairmore@teamsters667.com

 

Chris Mrak

chrismrak@gmail.com

 

Dolores Hall

Hall1000@cox.net

 

Jeffrey Ellison

214 S. Main Street, Suite 212

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

EllisonEsq@aol.com