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

Warren, 2021 ESD 138


for the



IN RE: PATRICIA WARREN,                  )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 138

                                                                      )           Issued: August 16, 2021

Protestor.                                          )           OES Case No. P-160-071921-FW



Patricia Warren, member of Local Union 174, 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 Tracey Thompson, general counsel of Local Union 117, violated the Rules by urging members attending a union meeting also to attend an ongoing campaign meeting when they left.


Election Supervisor representative Deborah Schaaf investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            The offices of Local Unions 117, 174, and 763 are located within the same office building in Tukwila WA.  The principal officer of Local Union 117, John Scearcy, is a candidate for IBT West region vice president on the Teamster Power slate.  Rick Hicks, principal officer of Local Union 174, is a candidate for the same office on the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate. 


            Protestor Warren, director of bargaining and organizing and a senior business agent for Local Union 174, is also a supporter of Hicks and the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.  Her protest alleged that Tracey Thompson, general counsel of Scearcy’s local union, announced a Teamster Power rally during a union meeting of Local Union 117 members employed at Darigold, held in the local union’s office building on Saturday, July 17, 2021.  Warren was not a witness to the alleged violation, and no witness was produced to substantiate it.  Thompson, who was present at the Darigold meeting, stated that the meeting was held to update members on contract negotiations.  She categorically denied mentioning any campaign event or candidacy during the meeting or directing anyone to attend such an event, stating further that she is careful not to permit the mixing of union business and union politics and instructs union business agents likewise.


            During the investigation, protestor Warren identified Rick Hicks as a witness who could substantiate the protest’s allegation.  Hicks, as principal officer of Local Union 174, has an office in the building.  He told our investigator he had no information about an alleged Rules violation occurring on Saturday, July 17, 2021, involving members of Local Union 117 employed at Darigold.  He stated, however, that he came to the building on Sunday, July 18, 2021, to attend a meeting.  He stopped in the building’s lobby for the required temperature check as part of the covid-19 protocol.  The first-floor auditorium is accessed from the lobby.  A meeting of Local Union 117 members employed by MV Transportation was taking place in the auditorium.  Thompson was present at that meeting.  Hicks told our investigator he heard Thompson tell members, “Guys, don’t forget to go to our meeting outside in the parking lot,” or words of similar import.  A Scearcy rally was occurring in a parking lot adjacent to the building.  Hicks stated he did not see Thompson make the statement but said he recognized her voice.  Although the conduct identified in the protest alleged campaign misconduct involving employees of a different employer occurring on a different day by a different protestor, we treated Hicks’ statement as an oral amendment of the protest and notified respondent of the new allegation. 


            Again, Thompson denied the amended allegation, on the same basis and for the same reasons as the original denial.  Local Union 117 business agent Laura Bolinger, who attended the meeting as the business agent with responsibility for MV Transportation, also categorically denied the amended allegation.  She stated further that she texted her stewards before the meeting to instruct them not to make any reference to campaigning or the International officers election during the meeting.  No witness who attended the meeting where Thompson spoke substantiated the allegation, and two witnesses present in the meeting – Thompson and Bolinger – denied it. 


            Further undermining the protest’s amended allegation is that Hicks did not immediately construe the statement he claimed was made as directing members to go outside to attend a campaign event.  Rather, he thought members were being encouraged to head outside to pose for a photo, a common device the unions use in social media posts that inform members of union actions on their behalf and update them on progress toward union goals.  When Hicks went to his office, upstairs in the building, and saw the campaign event through a window, he reconstrued the statement he claimed Thompson made as a campaign statement uttered during a union meeting, which the Rules generally prohibit.  Article VII, Section 5(a).


On this record, we conclude that Hicks’ “voice identification” of Thompson, which he made from outside the venue where the alleged utterance occurred, reporting words that were in his initial assessment benign, is insufficient proof that she violated the Rules.  We are also troubled by the fact that Warren, the filer of the protest, did so without a witness to substantiate the allegation the protest made and was wrong on the date and audience for the alleged impermissible statement.


A Scearcy campaign event occurred that day outside the building the unions occupy.  Hicks alleged that the event violated the Rules because a few members who were listening to campaigners did so while standing on the parking lot connected with the building.  He produced photos taken from an upper window in the unions’ building that showed 6 members standing in 2 marked parking spaces on the asphalt parking lot below, beneath the shade of a tree, facing away from the building, 6 feet or less from the concrete curb and a grassy area where other members stood.  The contention is that the members were listening to one or more campaigners who were out of view of the camera.  At bottom, Hicks’ contention was that, although members are permitted to park in the lot and walk through the lot, they may not permissibly stand in the lot if the reason for doing so is to listen to campaign speech.  No provision in the Rules prohibits such activity.  Indeed, Article VII, Section 12(a) expressly permits the activity Hicks argued was prohibited.  Thus:


All Union members retain the right to participate in campaign activities, including the right to run for office, to support or oppose any candidate, [and] to aid or campaign for any candidate.  This includes, but is not limited to, the right to distribute campaign literature (and otherwise to solicit support for a member’s candidacy) outside a meeting hall before, during and after a Union meeting, regardless of Union policy, rule or practice.


Where any candidate or other member of the Union exercises or attempts to exercise any right under the Rules to campaign for or against the candidacy of any person for the position of … International Officer, members of the Union shall have the reciprocal right to hear or otherwise receive such campaign advocacy.


The MV Transportation meeting constituted a union meeting under this rule, therefore campaigning in the union parking lot – and listening to such campaign speech – is permitted, not prohibited by the Rules.  O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021, 2021 ESD 130 (July 16, 2021).


            For the foregoing 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


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 138









Bradley T. Raymond, General Counsel

International Brotherhood of Teamsters


Edward Gleason


Patrick Szymanski


Will Bloom


Tom Geoghegan


Rob Colone


Barbara Harvey


Fred Zuckerman


Ken Paff

Teamsters for a Democratic Union


Scott Jenkins

Patricia Warren



John Scearcy

Teamsters Local Union 117


Tracey Thompson


Laura Bolinger


Rick Hicks


Deborah Schaaf


Jeffrey Ellison