This website uses cookies.
Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Edens, 2021 ESD 111

OFFICE OF THE ELECTION SUPERVISOR

for the

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS

 

IN RE: GREG EDENS,                                )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 111

                                                                        )           Issued: April 30, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case Nos. P-125-032621-MW

____________________________________)                       & P-128-032921-MW

 

Greg Edens, member of Local Union 710, filed 2 pre-election protests pursuant to Article XIII, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 2020-2021 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”).  The protests questioned the number of ballots mailed out in the delegates and alternate delegates election.

 

Election Supervisor representative Joe Childers investigated these protests.  They were consolidated for decision.

 

Findings of Fact and Analysis

 

Local Union 710 will elect 17 delegates and 10 alternate delegates to the IBT convention.  Three full slates are competing in the election.  Ballots were mailed March 23, 2021 and will be counted April 30, 2021.

 

Ballots were mailed to 14,032 recipients.[1]  The protestor alleged that this number either was less than the true local union membership, in which case members were disenfranchised because they were not sent ballots, or was an overstatement of the true local union membership, with the impact being that ballots were sent to non-members.  He based these allegations on two separate pieces of information.  First, he stated that more than 16,000 ballots were mailed during the local union officers election held in October 2020.  The protestor reasoned that if this number represented the true local union membership at the time that election was held, a report should have been made at a membership meeting that the number of members had declined precipitously in the ensuing 6 months.  As no such report was made, he reasons that the true local union membership number is closer to the 16,000 figure used in the officers election balloting.  The other information the protestor provided was that principal officer Mike Cales reported total membership at a recent membership meeting at 13,253.  The protestor contended that this figure, if correct, meant that some 800 ballots were sent to non-members.  According to the protest, Cales justified this discrepancy by stating that he “would rather send out too many ballots, than not enough.”  Finally, the protestor questioned the delegate strength calculation showing that the local union is entitled to 17 delegates to the IBT convention.

 

Under the Rules, a “member” is a “person who has fulfilled the requirements of membership in any Local Union and who has neither voluntarily withdrawn from membership nor been expelled or suspended from membership.”   Definition 33.  Under this definition, a person has achieved the requirements of membership by becoming employed under the jurisdiction of the local union, submitting an application for membership, and being accepted into membership.  This definition does not include the “good standing” element discussed below. 

 

In the local union delegates and alternate delegates election, ballots are to be sent to “ballot-qualified members,” which the Rules define as those persons meeting the definition of “member,” as just discussed, and who fall into any of 11 discrete TITAN classifications.  Those classifications include cash-dues and check-off members (both established and new members), officers, stewards, and alternate stewards for whom a local union pays monthly dues, and a category of members “unlisted on checkoff.”  Rules, Definition 4.  Excluded from the “ballot-qualified members” definition are members who have transferred out, non-members (including agency shop, fair share, administrative fee, and so-called “financial core” and “Rand formula” persons), retirees, suspended and expelled members, and members on withdrawal, among others.  The “ballot-qualified member” definition is intended to be broad enough to include persons who are coded as employed in a bargaining unit the local union represents or by the local union directly and therefore may be eligible to vote on election day, even though some of that number may ultimately be ruled ineligible to vote because of circumstances particular to them (e.g., on medical leave, workers’ compensation or layoff without taking withdrawal status and without paying dues; in arrears on cash dues or check-off dues, etc.).  Eligibility to receive a ballot is determined by TITAN classification, whether or not the individual member is current in his/her dues obligation within that classification. 

 

Eligibility to vote is determined by membership in good standing on election day.  Article V, Section 1 provides that “a member must have his/her dues paid up through the month prior to the month in which the election is held.”  See also, Definition 34.  For Local Union 710, with election day on April 30, 2021, the month through which dues must be paid is March 2021. 

 

Reading these definitions together, the population of persons receiving ballots is, as a general rule, larger than the number who will be deemed eligible to vote on election day because the definition of the population that is entitled to receive ballots is categorically different than the population eligible to cast those ballots.

 

Investigation showed that the number of persons who received ballots in the October 2021 officers election was significantly higher than the local union’s membership at the time.  The reasons were related to the covid-19 pandemic.  First, staffing and work-from-home considerations at employers under contract with Local Union 710 led to delays in reporting bargaining unit turnover at a number of those employers.  Second, for the same reasons, the local union suffered in its ability to keep the TITAN database current.  As a result, new hires were reported to the local union but the individuals whose membership lapsed because they left employment were not promptly removed from the database.  The confluence of these two factors caused the number of persons who were sent ballots in the officers election to increase, although the true local union membership – as represented by per capita dues payments – remained fairly close to the current level.

 

The measure of local union membership used for allocating delegates to the IBT constitution is determined under the IBT constitution twice before each convention.  The initial calculation averages the per capita payments the IBT receives from each local union over a 24-month period ending in 18 months before convention month (here, November 2019).  The final calculation averages the per capita payments over a 24-month period ending 3 months before convention month (i.e., February 2021).  IBT constitution, Article VII, Sections 5(a) and (b).  Those numbers for Local Union 710 for the current cycle were 12,712 and 13,011, respectively.  Under Article III, Section 2 of the IBT constitution, the local union is entitled to 17 delegates.[2]  The corresponding calculations for the 2016 convention were 15,051 and 12,156, respectively.   As such, the current cycle’s final delegate strength calculation is roughly 850 members higher than it was in 2016.  Further, the average membership for the 24 months ending in February 2021 is fairly close to the 13,253 figure recently reported by principal officer Cales as the current membership.

 

On these facts, we find no Rules violation.  The evidence demonstrates that the local union complied with the Rules by mailing ballots to all ballot-qualified members, a number that is higher than the current number of members in good standing, as it is expected to be.  Ballot-qualified members are, by definition, members, even though some of them may not be in good standing on election day.  Those not in good standing are not “non-members,” as the protestor asserts. 

 

For these reasons, 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

            2021 ESD 111

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                     

     


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


Greg Edens

gsedens@yahoo.com

 

Bradley Showalter

la.famigliacanecorso@gmail.com

 

Tom Bulak

Taboo1968.tb@gmail.com

 

Doug Holler

Dougholler710@gmail.com

 

Brian Paulson

Brianpaulson18@gmail.com

 

Teamsters Local Union 710

election@teamsters710.org

mcales@teamsters710.org

 

Maralin Falik

maralin@voteges.com

 

Joe Childers

jchilders@ibtvote.org

 

William Broberg

wbroberg@ibtvote.org

 

Jeffrey Ellison

EllisonEsq@gmail.com




[1] This is the total number of ballot packages mailed.  USPS provides a per piece discount on first class postage for bulk mailings that are presorted by zip code.  The local union sent 14,016 ballot packages at $0.51 per piece and 16 additional ballot packages using a first class stamp at $0.55 per piece.  The 16 stamped pieces lacked sufficient addresses to qualify for the presort discount.

[2] That provision states as follows: “Each Local Union having one thousand (1000) members or less shall be entitled to one (1) delegate, and one (1) delegate for each additional seven hundred fifty (750) members or major fraction thereof.”  The parameters for 17 delegates range from 12,625 members to 13,375, and Local Union 710’s final average membership of 13,011 fell squarely within that range.