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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamster Power, 2020 ESD 32


for the



IN RE: TEAMSTER POWER,                   )           Protest Decision 2020 ESD 32

                                                                        )           Issued: November 20, 2020

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-040-110320-GP



Teamster Power, a slate of candidates for International office, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2020-2021 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protest alleged that BMWED-IBT Local 2403 and its president, Matt Mortensen, violated the Rules prohibiting union endorsement of candidates.


Election Supervisor representative Jim Devine investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact


            Mortensen chaired the membership meeting of BMWED-IBT Local 2403 on Monday, November 2, 2020.  Sixteen members attended.  Mortensen told our investigator that during New Business, he asked those assembled if they wished to endorse either of the two major slates in the coming IBT International officers election.  According to Mortensen, the membership unanimously voted for a resolution endorsing the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.  That evening, Mortensen posted the following to his personal Facebook page:


BMWED-IBT local 2403 in Kansas City voted today to endorse the OZ slate!!  It’s time for us railroaders to feel like teamsters for the first time in 16 years!!


Mortensen included an O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 logo in his post.  He also tagged Jumbros Teamsters, Jerry Wood, and Beth Breslaw.  Mortensen told our investigator he did not consult with anyone about the endorsement or the post and received no assistance or input before making the post.


            A screenshot of the post was captured 19 minutes after the post was made and attached to the protest.  The image showed that the post had been “liked” 12 times by that time.


            Mortensen tagged Beth Breslaw because he knew she was a TDU representative and supporter of the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.  She did not contact him before or after the post was made.  Mortensen tagged Jumbros Teamsters, a nom de plume for Jumbo Daniels, because he similarly knew Daniels to support the slate.[1]  Daniels did not contact Mortensen before or after the post was made.


Mortensen said he removed the post less than 24 hours after making it because he was contacted by Scott Jenkins and told a union was not permitted to endorse a candidate.  Jenkins is the campaign coordinator for the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.  Jenkins was alerted to the post by another slate supporter; Jenkins visited Mortensen’s Facebook page, saw the post, and contacted Mortensen promptly to advise him that the post should be removed immediately.  Mortensen removed the post promptly after hearing from Jenkins.   


            Mortensen tagged Jerry Wood, president of Local Union 955 in Kansas City, the city where BMWED-IBT Local 2403 is located.  Wood did not attend the November 2 meeting, but he saw the post and contacted Mortensen about it.  Wood asked Mortensen whether the endorsement had been discussed at the union meeting.  When Mortensen replied that it had, Wood told him he should not have done so.  Wood explained to Mortensen that he could make a personal endorsement of a slate but that the union could not do so under the Rules.  Mortensen told our investigator he was embarrassed that he had not known a union could not endorse a candidate or slate.


Vernon Van Ausdall is vice chair and secretary-treasurer of the AT-SFF System Federation.  He is not a member of BMWED-IBT Local 2403.  He attended the November 2 meeting as a representative of the system federation.  He told our investigator that Mortensen asked the assembled members whether they wished to endorse a slate, and the members agreed.  Van Ausdall did not know Martensen planned to ask the membership about the endorsement and did not know that doing so violated the Rules.  He also was unaware that Mortensen had made the Facebook post about the endorsement.


Mortensen told our investigator that, aside from posting the endorsement to his personal Facebook page, he did nothing else to publicize or distributed the endorsement.  We have found no evidence to contradict this statement.




Article VII, Section 12(b) states that “[t]he Union or a Local Union as such … may not endorse or otherwise advance a candidacy, even if all members agree on the endorsement or candidacy.”  To do otherwise constituted impermissible use of union resources in support of a candidate or slate.  Pope, 2000 EAD 3 (August 1, 2000) (formal resolution of endorsement adopted by union body violated Rules); Gebow, P963 (October 14, 1991), aff’d, 91 EAM 212 (October 28, 1991) (executive board improperly voted to support a particular slate).


BMWED-IBT Local 2403 violated the Rules by adopting the endorsement.  Mortensen violated the Rules by publicizing the union endorsement on his personal Facebook page.


Accordingly, we GRANT the protest.  In doing so, we find no violation on the part of the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate for accepting the endorsement, as the facts demonstrate that the endorsement was not solicited by the slate and was promptly rejected once the slate learned of it.




When the Election Supervisor determines that the Rules have been violated, he “may take whatever remedial action is deemed appropriate.”  Article XIII, Section 4.  In fashioning the appropriate remedy, the Election Supervisor views the nature and seriousness of the violation as well as its potential for interfering with the election process.  “The Election Supervisor’s discretion in fashioning an appropriate remedy is broad and is entitled to deference.”  Hailstone & Martinez, 10 EAM 7 (September 14, 2010).


            We order the following remedy:


  1. BMWED-IBT Local 2403 shall cease and desist from endorsing any candidate or slate under the Rules;
  2. The minutes of the November 2, 2020 meeting of BMWED-IBT Local 2403 shall reflect that the endorsement made at that meeting violated the Rules, and a copy of this decision shall be included with and made a part of the minutes;
  3. At the next meeting of the BMWED-IBT Local 2403, the following statement shall be read to those assembled at the time the minutes of the previous meeting are offered for approval:


BMWED-IBT Local 2403 is not endorsing or backing any candidate or slate in the IBT officers election and is prohibited by the Election Rules from endorsing any candidate or slate.  Every member has the right to decide for themselves whether to support any candidate or slate of candidates for Union office, or to refrain from supporting any candidate or slate.  Please disregard any previous statements that contained contrary information.


  1. Within three days after issuance of this decision, Mortensen shall post to his personal Facebook page the following statement and shall not remove that post from his page for 30 days thereafter:


BMWED-IBT Local 2403 is not endorsing or backing any candidate or slate in the IBT officers election and is prohibited by the Election Rules from endorsing any candidate or slate.  Every member has the right to decide for themselves whether to support any candidate or slate or to refrain from supporting any candidate or slate.  Please disregard any previous statements that contained contrary information.


  1. Within three days after making the Facebook post ordered in paragraph 4, above, Mortensen shall provide a screenshot of the post to our investigator.


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.  Any party requesting a hearing must comply with the requirements of Article XIII, Section 2(i).  All parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely in any such appeal upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Supervisor.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing, shall specify the basis for the appeal, and shall be served upon:


Barbara Jones

Election Appeals Master


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, all within the time prescribed above.  Service may be accomplished by email, using the “reply all” function on the email by which the party received this decision.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for hearing.


                                                                  Richard W. Mark

                                                                  Election Supervisor

cc:        Barbara Jones

            2020 ESD 32









Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Edward Gleason


Patrick Szymanski


Will Bloom


Tom Geoghegan


Rob Colone


Barbara Harvey


Kevin Moore


F.C. “Chris” Silvera


Fred Zuckerman


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

BMWED-IBT Local 2403


Vernon Van Ausdall


Jim Devine


Jeffrey Ellison




[1] In Teamster Power, 2020 ESD 5 (July 3, 2020), we found that Daniels violated the Rules by attributing a local union endorsement to the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.  We ordered that he cease and desist from making such statement and that he post on his personal Facebook page that the local union did not and could not endorse any candidate.