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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Gonzalez, 2021 ESD 168


for the



IN RE: RAUL GONZALEZ,                       )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 168

                                                                        )           Issued: October 29, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-188-101421-SO



Raul Gonzalez, member of Local Union 988, 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 ballot collection, in violation of the Rules.


Election Supervisor representative Dolores Hall investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


                Instructions on the ballot in the International officers election direct members casting ballots to do so by mailing the ballots themselves and not to give them to anyone else.  The Rules deem handing a ballot, voted or not, to another person, whether union member, union representative, or employer representative, as interference with voting that is prohibited by Article IV, Section 12.  We have held that “ballot collection is a serious offense because it ‘strikes at the heart of the democratic reforms instituted under the Consent Decree’ (Long, 2005 ESD 82 (February 13, 2006)), and has the potential to destroy the democratic ideal that elections must be decided by the electorate without improper interference. … [O]ur obligation to insure that elections under the Rules are ‘fair, honest [and] open’ requires that [ballot collection] conduct be met with severe consequences.”  Berg, 2006 ESD 278 (May 30, 2006), aff’d, 2006 EAM 46 (June 20, 2006).


The protestor here alleged systematic ballot collection at 3 UPS hubs under the jurisdiction of Local Union 988 in Houston TX.  Specifically, members employed at the UPS Sweetwater facility were said to have reported delivering their ballots to a box established for that purpose inside the building.  In addition, members employed at the UPS Willowbrook and Mykawa facilities were said to have reported giving their ballots either to a UPS supervisor employed there or to a business agent employed by the local union. 


            No direct evidence of ballot collection was provided.  The only evidence supporting the protest was hearsay, in the form of oral statements said to have been made by UPS employees at these facilities to campaigners, who then relayed them to our investigator.  Protestor Gonzalez himself had not heard any such statements.  He deferred to Melvin Charles, a local union member who previously had run for and lost election as local union president.  Charles told our investigator he had heard some of these statements.  He provided the names of 6 individuals at Sweetwater and 3 at Willowbrook he had heard state they had either deposited their ballots in a box inside the facility or had given them to a supervisor or business agent.  With respect to Mykawa, Charles and a second witness, Sean Brown, told our investigator they had heard 2 employees whose names they did not know state they had turned their ballots over to a supervisor or business agent.


            We investigated this protest using 2 approaches.  First, our investigator sought to contact the employees Charles identified.  Of the 6 said to be employed at Sweetwater, 4 were not listed in the TITAN membership database.  The database showed 2 persons with a name matching 1 Charles provided to our investigator; both work at UPS, neither could be reached by phone, and no ballot has been received at the OES ballot count site in Virginia from either.  Our investigator reached a person employed at Sweetwater bearing the final name Charles provided; this person appeared to speak little English, and no ballot from him has been received at the ballot count site.


            With respect to the 3 names provided for persons said to be employed at Willowbrook, 2 are not listed in TITAN.  The third could not be reached by phone, and no ballot has been received from him.


            For the Mykawa worksite where Charles and Brown could not name the persons they spoke with, Brown saw one a second time and told him he had to mail his ballot himself and could not give it to anyone to mail for him.  According to Brown, this person replied that he understood and would mail his ballot, suggesting he had not delivered it to any other person or deposited it in a box.


            Our investigator also questioned Robert Mele, principal officer of Local Union 988 and respondent in this protest, who categorically denied organizing or directing any ballot collection or having knowledge of such activity.  Business agents of the local union also categorically denied receiving ballots from anyone, having knowledge of members delivering their ballots to anyone, and having knowledge of any box or other receptacle for collection of ballots at any facility.


            Absent evidence of ballot collection, 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 168








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

Raul Gonzalez


Teamsters Local Union 988

Robert Mele


Dolores Hall


Jeffrey Ellison