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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Spears, 2021 ESD 84


for the



IN RE: JACKIE SPEARS,                          )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 84

                                                                       )           Issued: March 16, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-098-030421-FW



Jackie Spears, member and delegate candidate in Local Union 2010, 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 opposing slate misappropriated her endorsement, in violation of the Rules.


Election Supervisor representative Deborah Schaaf investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Local Union 2010 will elect 14 delegates to the IBT convention.  Protestor Spears is one of three delegate candidates competing as part of the Fight the Good Fight slate.  Her partial slate is opposed by a full slate of 14 delegate candidates called the Team 2010 Unity slate.  Local union principal officer Jason Rabinowitz leads that slate. 


            A slate called the Team 2010 Unity slate has run in three previous elections in Local Union 2010.  In 2016, it competed in the local union officers and the local union delegates and alternate delegates elections.  In 2019, the slate competed again in the local union officers election.  In each of those elections, the slate won, with Rabinowitz as the lead candidate on the slate and Spears as a slate member.  Spears currently is an elected trustee of the local union; she was last elected to that position in the Fall 2019 officers election as a member of the Team 2010 Unity slate.


            For those elections and the current one, the Team 2010 Unity slate has maintained an Instagram account, #team2010_unityslate.  The slate has posted campaign material to the account during the campaign period leading to each election.  When doing so, it has not removed material from previous campaigns.


            At the time the protest here was filed, the campaign had made 7 posts to its Instagram account for the 2021 delegates and alternate delegates election, none of which is a subject of this protest.  A user scrolling the Team 2010 Unity slate Instagram account who reached the 8th post would find it was posted December 17, 2019 and advocated support for the slate in the 2019 officers election.  There is no obvious demarcation between campaign material for the current election and that related to previous elections.  The user must click a given post to reveal the date it was posted.  The date of posting is not revealed if the user merely scrolls without clicking.


            The 10th post also related to the 2019 officers election; it is the subject of this protest.  The post was a collection of more than 50 individual endorsements, arranged 3 abreast and continuing down the screen.  Each endorsement displayed a photo and the name of the endorser as well as a quote attributed to that person.  Spears, the protestor here, was one of the 50+ endorsers of the 2019 officers slate featured in the 10th post, endorsing the slate she was a member of.  The endorsement showed a smiling Spears and included information identifying her as Trustee, Teamsters Local 2010.  The quote attributed to her read: “My whole life I’ve been a dreamer, always reaching for the stars and striving to make this world a better place.  It has been my honor to serve as a Trustee for Local 2010.  I support our sisters and brothers and will always stand up for the rights of working people.  Please vote for Team Unity to continue leading our members.”  At the time the protest was filed, this post had been on the Team 2010 Unity Instagram account for some 16 months.


            The protest Spears filed March 4, 2021 alleged the following: “I learned this morning … that the Team 2010 Unity Slate posted a photo of me on its campaign Instagram account … endorsing the Team 2010 Unity Slate. … I learned this from the many angry phone calls I got from my supporters asking why I had done that.  I do not and have never endorsed the Team 2010 Unity Slate in the delegate election.”


            Article VII, Section 12(a) grants each member the right to support and campaign for any candidate or slate.  Each member also has the right to refrain from or withhold support from a candidate or slate.  Jackson & Trupiano, 2006 ESD 124 (April 17, 2006), aff’d, 06 EAM 36 (May 11, 2006).  An endorsement – and the decision whether to make one – is a personal right of each member and, when made, constitutes a campaign contribution to a candidate by that member.  Definition 5(f).  We held in Gegare, 2011 ESD 73 (January 20, 2011), aff’d in relevant part, 10 EAM 3 (February 16, 2011), that a campaign violates the Rules by misappropriating a member’s endorsement in its campaign material. 


            Rabinowitz, the leader of the Team 2010 Unity slate, denied that he or the slate misappropriated Spears’ endorsement.  The facts substantiate this denial.  In Gegare, supra, the campaign took the facsimile of a member’s signature that it had collected in a previous election cycle and applied it without authorization to campaign material it circulated in the current cycle.  In contrast, the Team 2010 Unity took no action with respect to Spears’ 2019 endorsement of the slate.  Thus, it did not adopt the previous endorsement in current campaign material or otherwise draw attention to the old endorsement.  Rather, the slate simply added current campaign material to an established Instagram account. 


When the protest was filed, the slate amended the 2019 collection of endorsements and removed the endorsement Spears had made in the 2019 officers election.  This action substantially mitigated the potential for any ongoing harm that may have resulted from the old endorsement.  To assess the harm, if any, that Spears’ campaign in the delegates and alternate delegates election may have suffered by Instagram users scrolling to the 10th post of the Team 2010 Unity account and finding the old endorsement, we asked Spears to identify and provide contact information for the supporters her protest said had contacted her about the endorsement.  She declined.


            We find no violation of the violation of the Rules.  We conclude that the Team 2010 Unity slate did not misappropriate Spears’ endorsement for use in the pending delegates and alternate delegates election.  Accordingly, we DENY the 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


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 84









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

Jackie Spears


Teamsters Local Union 2010

Jason Rabinowitz


Deborah Schaaf


Jeffrey Ellison