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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamster Power, 2021 ESD 129


for the



IN RE: TEAMSTER POWER,                    )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 129

                                                                         )           Issued: June 21, 2021

Protestor.                                            )           OES Case No. P-148-060221-NA



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 the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate violated the Rules by “bundling” campaign contributions.


Election Supervisor representative Bruce Boyens  investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            The protest cited a Facebook post made by Kristina Hicks, member and elected delegate of Local Union 651 and supporter of the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate, that showed she collected “pocket change” to be contributed to that slate.  The post, made on or about May 29, 2021, read: “So proud of my UPS part time local sort co-workers[;] they’ve saved pocket change for the last month to donate to OZ Slate!”  The post included a photo of a red, Folgers, 2 lb. coffee container filled with quarters, dimes, and nickels.  The post also showed a receipt from the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate for the sum of $150.00, issued May 28, 2021.


            In a comment beneath the post, Fred Zuckerman, candidate for IBT General Secretary-Treasurer, wrote, “Awesome.  Thank them all from us.  OZ 2021.”  In a separate comment, Sean O’Brien, candidate for IBT General President, added, “Thank you Kristina very much appreciated.”  Hicks replied to Zuckerman’s comment, writing, “We are going to continue doing the drive for change … hopefully collect even more.”


            Article XI of the Rules regulates campaign contributions.  Among other requirements, the Rules specify that only IBT members may contribute to the campaigns of candidates for International office.  Each such member is subject to a monetary cap on contributions.  To enforce these provisions, candidates for International office and their supporters are required to obtain the name, local union number, other identifying information, and the amount of each contribution.  They are then obligated to enter that information into the CCERS system, which verifies membership status and indicates whether the contributor has exceeded the individual cap on contributions.  Only upon verifying this information may contributions be used for campaign purposes.   


            The protest asserted that the collection of contributions from individuals, without verifying their membership status or relationship to the contribution cap, violated the Rules.  The protest further asserted that the endorsements by Zuckerman and O’Brien of the impermissible practice exacerbated the violation.


            Investigation showed that Hicks had no previous experience with campaign fundraising in Teamster elections, conceived of the “pocket change” idea herself, and did not consult with any representative of the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 before executing her plan.  She further stated that she did not maintain any record of the identity of contributors or the amounts they contributed, but she asserted that they were all members of Local Union 651.  She stated that she contributed $150 to the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate, of which $120 was from her own funds, with the balance coming from the change she collected.


            After the protest was filed, the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate refunded $150 to Hicks, and she has made no further contribution to any candidate’s campaign for International office. 


            Hicks’ conduct violated the Rules only because she did not collect contributors’ names, local union numbers, other identifying information, and contribution amounts from the individuals whose contributions she accepted.  This basic reporting requirement is long-understood as part of the Rules.  See Certain Campaign Contributions by Officers and Employees of Local Union 853, 2006 ESD 341(August 23, 2006) (“[c]ontributions must be reported in the name of the eligible contributing member and are subject to audit to ensure that funds are not contributed from an improper source and that contribution limits are obeyed”) (emphasis added).[1]  Had Hicks remitted the sum of the contributions to the campaign together with the contributors’ information, she would have satisfied the Rules’ requirements because the campaign would then have had the means of entering the data into CCERS and in so doing verify membership and contribution status.  By remitting the aggregated contributions of multiple contributors as she did, Hicks sent the campaign funds it could not verify.  She further risked that at least a portion of the remittance was contributed by a person who either was not a member or was a member who had exceeded his/her contribution limit; in either of these circumstances, unverified or unverifiable contributions could have been introduced into the campaign.  The sum involved in the example this case presents is small, but it usefully illustrates the danger involved in remitting aggregated contributions without documenting their sources.


            As of the date Hicks remitted the $150 contribution to the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 campaign, the campaign had no notice that the contribution was an aggregation of smaller individual contributions; it therefore lacked a reason to question the contribution.  However, once Hicks made her Facebook post and Zuckerman and O’Brien responded to it, the campaign was on notice that it could not accept the contribution without the contributor data outlined above, and the contribution should have been refunded without the need for a protest to spur that action.  We caution the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 going forward to take steps to insure each contribution it receives is solely from the person identified with the contribution.  We order no further remedy.[2]


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

            2021 ESD 129     


Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Edward Gleason

Patrick Szymanski

Will Bloom

Tom Geoghegan

Rob Colone 

Barbara Harvey

Kevin Moore

Fred Zuckerman

 Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

Kristina Hicks

Mike Watson

Bruce Boyens

Joe Childers

Bill Broberg

Jeffrey Ellison

[1] OES has engaged an accounting firm to review CCER compliance.  Part of that process involves sending notices to a random selection of contributors and asking for verification that identified contributions were in fact made by that contributor. 

[2] Candidates may require contributors to affirm that each contribution is made from the contributor’s funds, and that funds are not being provided to the contributor by another person or entity for the purpose of making the contribution.  If a contributor has “bundled” funds from others, each person contributing to the aggregate should provide the sourcing statement.