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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Blair, 2020 ESD 37

OFFICE OF THE ELECTION SUPERVISOR

for the

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS

 

IN RE: ANTHONY BLAIR,                        )           Protest Decision 2020 ESD 37

                                                                        )           Issued: December 22, 2020

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-041-111020-MW

____________________________________)

 

Anthony Blair, member of Local Union 89, 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 Avral Thompson, secretary-treasurer (non-principal officer) of the local union, violated the Rules by failing to permit Blair and his slate reasonable opportunity to mail campaign literature to local union members.

 

Election Supervisor representative Joe Childers investigated this protest.

 

Findings of Fact and Analysis

 

Local Union 89 conducted its officers election in November and December, a hybrid mail-ballot/in-person election.  Ballots in the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election, if contested, will be mailed February 5 and counted March 2, 2021.

 

Protestor Blair was a candidate for trustee in the local union officers election.  He has stated he will stand for delegate in the local union’s delegates and alternate delegates election. 

 

On October 17, 2020, Blair made written request to Avral Thompson that the local union’s membership list be sent to United Mail, a mail house, so that Blair’s slate in the officers election could conduct a campaign mailing.  In the request, Blair identified himself as “a potential candidate for office at local 89 officer election this Dec. and as a candidate for the 2021 delegate election.”   Blair requested four lists: 1) the full membership list; 2) the list of members who live more than 15 miles from the local union hall; 3) the list of members who live within 15 miles of the hall[1]; and 4) the list of members serving as union stewards. 

 

The lists were not immediately produced, and Blair repeated the request in writing on November 2.  Thompson complied with the request on November 4, 2020, directing the local union’s TITAN operator to transmit the lists to United Mail as requested.  The TITAN operator and a representative of United Mail confirm that the lists were sent on November 4.

 

The lists were downloaded by the TITAN operator from the TITAN system on November 4 in .txt format, which the TITAN operator told our investigator is the only format in which the TITAN can produce the lists.  When engaging United Mail, Blair asked the mail house to produce a “record count” of the number of members on each list.  United Mail reviewed the lists and contacted the TITAN operator for assistance in obtaining the record counts Blair had requested.  The TITAN operator acknowledged that record counts could not be determined with the data in .txt format.  She suggested that United Mail convert the lists from .txt to Excel format, which would reveal the number of records in each list.  United Mail advised Blair of the problem, told him that it could do the conversion, and cautioned him it would charge for the service.  The lists were converted, revealing the number of records in each list, and United Mail billed Blair $52.00 for the service.

 

Blair asserted in this protest that secretary-treasurer Thompson violated the Rules by failing to produce the lists promptly and in a usable format.  We reject his claim.

 

Article VII, Section 7 details the procedures for campaign mailings in delegates and alternate delegates elections.  Among other things, the local union must “honor requests for distribution of literature to only a portion or segment of the membership, as determined by the candidate.”  Thompson did so, by segregating the lists on the lines Blair requested and doing so well in advance of the February 5 mailing of ballots in the delegates and alternate delegates election.

 

While Blair asserted that the lists the local union produced were not usable, investigation showed they indeed were delivered in a form and format suitable to their intended purpose.  The United Mail representative told our investigator that she could fulfill Blair’s order for mailing campaign literature using the .txt format.  However, she could not obtain the record count for each list with the data in that format.  This evidence is borne out by the email exchange between United Mail and the TITAN operator.  The United Mail representative noted the .txt formatting, “which is fine.”  However, she stated, “I would need to get our data team involved” in order to obtain the record count that Blair requested.  This evidence establishes that the data produced was indeed usable for a campaign mailing, contrary to Blair’s assertion.  As further substantiation of this point, Thompson told our investigator that the data produced to United Mail was in the same format as used by Thompson’s slate when contracting for a campaign mailing at his slate’s expense.

 

Although he did not assert this claim in the protest he filed, Blair claimed to our investigator that the inability to obtain record counts from .txt formatting was an independent basis for finding the lists the local union produced unusable.  The Rules place no obligation on a local union to specify the number of records in a list or produce lists in formatting that will most conveniently reveal that information to the requestor.  Accordingly, we reject this contention.

 

Finally, Blair argues that the reformatting that was necessary to obtain the record counts he requested injected delay that made it impossible for his slate to conduct mailings in the local union officers election.  This contention is beyond our jurisdiction because the Rules apply only to local union delegates and alternate delegates elections and the International officers election.  Jordan, 2001 EAD 76 (January 3, 2001); Collett, 2000 EAD 66 (December 19, 2000); Hale, 2000 EAD 61 (December 12, 2000); Weronke, P867 (August 19, 1996); Bishop, 2011 ESD 112 (February 14, 2011).  In any case, the lists were in a form that was “fine” for the mail house to perform a mailing; a record count was not a necessary predicate to mailing.

 

Because the mail house possesses the lists in a format that is suitable to campaign mailings in the upcoming delegates and alternate delegates election, 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.  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

IBTappealsmaster@bracewell.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, 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 37

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                     

     


DISTRIBUTION LIST (BY EMAIL UNLESS NOTED):

 


Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

braymond@teamster.org

 

Edward Gleason

egleason@gleasonlawdc.com

 

Patrick Szymanski

szymanskip@me.com

 

Will Bloom

wbloom@dsgchicago.com

 

Tom Geoghegan

tgeoghegan@dsgchicago.com

 

Rob Colone

rmcolone@hotmail.com

 

Barbara Harvey

blmharvey@sbcglobal.net

 

Kevin Moore

Mooregp2021@gmail.com

 

F.C. “Chris” Silvera

fitzverity@aol.com

 

Fred Zuckerman

fredzuckerman@aol.com

 

Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

ken@tdu.org


Anthony Blair

absb@twc.com

 

Avral Thompson

athompson@teamsters89.com

 

Teamsters Local Union 89

Teamsters89@aol.com

 

Joe Childers

jchilders@ibtvote.org

 

W.C. Broberg

wbroberg@ibtvote.org

 

Jeffrey Ellison

EllisonEsq@gmail.com


 

 

 



[1] Under election rules applicable only to the officers election, members who live outside the 15-mile perimeter are automatically sent mail ballots, and members inside the perimeter are sent mail ballots only upon request.