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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Battiste, 2021 ESD 85


for the



IN RE: MARIANNA BATTISTE,             )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 85

                                                                       )           Issued: March 16, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-108-031221-FW



Marianna Battiste, member of 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 Catherine Cobb, member of the Team 2010 Unity slate, campaigned at a local union chapter meeting, 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.  The Fight the Good Fight, a partial slate of three delegate candidates, is competing against the Team 2010 Unity slate, comprised of 14 delegate candidates. 


            Local Union 2010 conducted a chapter meeting of its University of California – Davis unit on February 26, 2021.  The meeting was conducted via Zoom and lasted approximately 30 minutes.  Sixteen members attended, including protestor Battiste.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Rocio Richards announced that ballots in the local union delegates and alternate delegates meeting would be mailed on March 1; Richards encouraged everyone to vote.  Richards is a candidate for delegate on the Team 2010 Unity slate but did not make any partisan comments or identify the candidates or slates competing in the election.  Catherine Cobb, local union vice president, was on the Zoom call.  Cobb is also a delegate candidate on the Team 2010 Unity slate.  When Richards finished speaking, Cobb spoke up and made partisan comments, urging members to vote for the Team 2010 Unity slate.  Cobb’s statements consumed substantially less than one minute.


            Cobb’s partisan comments violated the Rules.  Article VII, Section 5(a)(3) provides that local unions are not required to permit campaigning during membership meetings but if campaigning is to be permitted, the local union “shall notify all candidates … of the opportunity to speak at least five (5) days prior to the meeting and shall divide the time equally between those candidates (or candidates’ credentialed representatives) who request an opportunity to speak.”  This was not done.  No notice was given to other candidates that campaigning would be permitted.  The apparently spontaneous character of Cobb’s statements do not excuse the Rules violation.


            The local union recognized Cobb’s statements violated the Rules.  On March 2, 2021, Jason Rabinowitz, principal local union officer, emailed Jackie Spears, lead delegate candidate on the Fight the Good Fight slate, to inform her of the incident and offer her equal time at another UC-Davis chapter meeting of the same attendees, to be held via Zoom on Friday, March 5, one week after the meeting at which the violation had occurred.  Rabinowitz’s offer allotted Spears up to five minutes to campaign for herself and her slate.  The offer also included a recording of the Zoom call that would be sent electronically to any of the attendees of the February 26 meeting who did not attend the March 5 meeting.


            Spears did not respond to Rabinowitz’s email offer immediately, so he re-sent it the next day, March 3.  Spears accepted the offer on the morning of March 4, and the local union responded by sending Zoom invites to the 16 members who had attended the February 26 meeting.  However, at 6:19 p.m. on March 4, Spears emailed to state that she and her slate would not attend the virtual meeting set for the next day, citing an unspecified emergency.  Spears did not request that the meeting be rescheduled.  The next morning, a local union employee emailed Spears to ask whether she would like to reschedule the virtual meeting set for that day.  Spears did not reply, and the meeting was canceled.


            Spears told our investigator that she initially accepted the offer but then declined it, stating that her slate members believed no good could come from it.


            Two weeks later, protestor Battiste filed this protest.  Article XIII, Section 2(b) requires that protests be filed within two working days of the date “the protestor becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware of the action protested or such protests shall be waived.”  This limitation has been held a prudential rather than jurisdictional restriction.  Spears, 2021 EAM 12 (March 15, 2021). 


            We DENY this protest for two reasons.  First, without a protest being filed, the local union   recognized the Rules violation that Cobb’s comments represented and sought to remedy it in a manner that would have complied with the Rules and restored a level playing field.  Spears’ rejection of that offer extinguished any need for further remedy.  Second, Battiste’s protest, which came two weeks after the violation (which Batiste witnessed firsthand) and a week after the date the violation could have been cured, is untimely.  Given Spears’ rejection of the remedy we would have ordered had it not been offered by the local union, we decline to exercise our prudential authority to excuse Battiste’s untimely filing.


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

Marianna Battiste


Jackie Spears


Teamsters Local Union 2010

Jason Rabinowitz


Deborah Schaaf


Jeffrey Ellison