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

Scearcy, 2021 ESD 173


for the



IN RE: JOHN SCEARCY,                          )           Protest Decision 2021 ESD 173

                                                                        )           Issued: November 4, 2021

Protestor.                                           )           OES Case No. P-151-060921-FW



John Scearcy, member and principal officer of Local Union 117 and candidate for IBT vice president – West region on the Teamster Power slate, 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 Rick Hicks, John Lamb, and the Teamsters Building Association violated the Rules by canceling a union meeting Scearcy’s local union scheduled in order to hold a rally for the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate.


Election Supervisor representative Christine Mrak investigated this protest.


Findings of Fact and Analysis


            Local Unions 117, 174, and 763 share a single multi-story building in Tukwila WA.  The building is operated by the board of the Teamster Building Association (TBA), comprised of the principal officer and 1 business agent of each of the 3 local unions.  Scheduling of common space such as auditoriums and conference rooms is handled by the board president, with the assistance of an office clerical employee of the board president’s local union.  The presidency rotates among officers or agents of the 3 local unions, and with it the clerical employee who performs the scheduling function also changes from time to time. 


At the time this protest arose, Peter Lamb, business agent for Local Union 174, was the TBA president; Janet Alvarez, a clerical employed by Local Union 174, served as his assistant for the purpose of handling building space reservations.  They assumed TBA responsibility in January 2021.  With reduced building use because of the pandemic, they had limited experience handling reservations.


            The TBA uses a digital calendar to facilitate scheduling.  The calendar shows the rooms booked and those available on a given day.  The TBA also employs a “Meeting Room Requested” form users are to complete when requesting to reserve space.  The form requests the necessary information associated with the use – date, time, length of use, number of attendees, set-up configuration, and the like.  Use of the form is not mandatory, however.  Despite the form’s existence, space has frequently been reserved orally by phone or in person, or by email.  If the requested space is available, the clerical assigned to the TBA reservation function inputs the event into the digital calendar and confirms the reservation by email with the requesting party.


            Parking for the building consists of a large asphalt lot that flanks the building on its south and west sides.  The lot is marked for 240 spaces but functionally has space for approximately 225 vehicles, less when an event is planned to take place in the parking lot.  The TBA’s Meeting Room Requested form asks for information about the room sought; it does not ask the number of parking spaces the attendees can be expected to use.  Nor does it offer the option of reserving the parking lot as a separate meeting or event space. 


            On or about May 20, 2021, Rick Hicks, principal officer of Local Union 174 and candidate for IBT vice president – West region on the O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 slate, orally asked Alvarez to secure the large and small auditoriums on the first floor of the building for the entire day of Saturday, June 26, 2021.  Hicks did not document his request on the Meeting Room Requested form.  Alvarez complied with Hicks’s request, reserving those spaces in the TBA digital calendar as a “174 Event.” 


The event was not a Local Union 174 event, however, nor is there any evidence Hicks stated as much.  He told our investigator the event always was planned to be an O'Brien-Zuckerman 2021 campaign event, and he referred to it in that way when speaking with Alvarez.  Alvarez confirmed to our investigator that she knew the event she was reserving space for was a campaign event.  She explained that she noted it as a “174 Event” in the digital calendar solely because Hicks was from that local union. 


When making the reservation, Hick did not explicitly reserve the parking lot, a fact that would subsequently contribute to the incident giving rise to this protest.  Hicks’s event was a large campaign rally that would occur in the building’s parking lot, weather permitting, commencing at 4 p.m.  He sought to hold the rally, to be attended by hundreds of people on foot, in the west lot of the building, where some 110 parking spaces would be taken out of use because the space would be occupied by rallygoers.  He sought to have those attendees park in the south lot, with approximately 94 spaces.  Given this plan, he made his reservation to accomplish two things.  First, the reservation directly secured the auditoriums for use if weather forced the rally indoors.  More importantly, Hicks believed he was securing exclusive use of the parking lot by reserving the two first-floor event spaces, concluding that no one else would schedule – or be permitted to schedule – a sizeable gathering in the building at or near the time of the rally because there would be insufficient parking space to accommodate it.


 Investigation showed uneven history with respect to parking lot rental.  On occasion, the parking lot – and only that space – has been rented, with the consequent effect of foreclosing use of the building’s meeting rooms for other sizeable gatherings.  On other occasions, the renter seeking exclusive use of the parking lot rented all meeting spaces in the building, effectively shutting out other potential users by denying them meeting space.  Hicks took neither of these options.  Instead, he rented the two first-floor auditoriums and, by implication signaled by the capacity of the spaces he reserved, sought to foreclose any competing claim on the parking lot.  The TBA digital calendar, however, did not spell this out.  Instead, it stated merely “Local 174 Event” in the slots for the large and small auditoriums, indicating that their use would be for the entire day.  No information referenced the parking lot.


            On Thursday, June 3, 2021, two weeks after Hicks made his reservation but before the rally was extensively advertised and promoted, Local Union 117 business agent John Howell asked Haley Perry, clerical employee of his local union, whether the large auditorium on the first floor was available at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2021.  She reviewed the TBA digital calendar, saw it was booked all day for the “174 Event,” and reported that fact to Howell.  Howell then asked about the second-floor meeting room, which Perry replied was available.  At Howell’s instruction, Perry emailed Alvarez, the TBA scheduler, on the afternoon of June 3 to reserve the second-floor space for the Sysco meeting for June 26, for a meeting commencing at 2:30 p.m. to take 2 hours and involve 100 attendees.  Alvarez confirmed the reservation late the same day, and Perry reported that fact to Howell.


            Alvarez did not check with Lamb, Hicks, or Pat Harbright, the TBA maintenance staff member who did set-ups and teardowns for reservations and understood parking issues related to building use, before confirming Howell’s requested reservation.  Because the requested room was available on the digital calendar, she saw no reason why a meeting there could not occur while another larger one was occurring on the first floor.


            On Monday, June 7, 2021, Hicks reviewed the TBA digital calendar and saw Local Union 117’s Sysco meeting scheduled to host 100 persons the same afternoon as the O'Brien-Zuckerman rally.  Hicks immediately recognized that the parking lot would not accommodate both events.  He explained this problem to Lamb and asked him to contact Local Union 117 and change their reservation to June 26 in the morning or the next day, June 27.  Although Hicks had reserved the two auditoriums for all day, he did not anticipate rallygoers to arrive for the 4 p.m. campaign event until shortly before it started.  That being the case, if the Sysco meeting proceeded as scheduled and 100 attendees arrived before 2:30 p.m. for that 2-hour meeting, they would still be parked in the lot when rallygoers arrived.


            Lamb, in his role as TBA president, contacted Local Union 117 business agent Howell on June 7, the same date Hicks spoke to him about the conflict, to advise Howell that his reservation would have to be canceled because of the parking lot issue associated with the previously scheduled campaign event.  Lamb told our investigator he offered to accommodate Howell’s meeting earlier on June 26 or the next day, June 27.  Howell told Lamb he would check and get back to Lamb.  He did not.  Instead, later on June 7, protestor Scearcy, Howell’s boss and a candidate opposing Hicks for election to the same International office, published a social media post decrying the cancellation of the Sysco meeting “by Hicks” (not by the TBA) and citing the cancellation as proof that Hicks cared more about his campaign than about Sysco members who needed to meet in order to formulate bargaining demands for a successor contract.


            Scearcy followed that social media post with this protest.  In it, he contended that TBA president Lamb, who he noted is employed as a business agent by Hicks, “emailed us 4 days after confirming our reservation and unilaterally cancelled the [Sysco] reservations because an OZ-TU campaign event had subsequently been scheduled for the same day.  This constitutes the use of Union resources to support OZ-TU and retaliation against Local 117.”


            In assessing Scearcy’s protest, we start with the premise, accepted by all parties, that TBA space scheduling is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.  This is the case regardless of the status of the party reserving the space.  In the practice that has grown up under the TBA, a local union has no authority to override an earlier reservation made by an outside group, whether that group be a charity, a blood drive, a private birthday party, or a union political campaign.  Scearcy contends that Local Union 117’s reservation was first and thus had priority.  Investigation showed this not to be the case.  Hicks’s reservation was made some 2 weeks before the Sysco meeting was booked. 


            Investigation showed that the TBA scheduling practice historically has been more collaborative than it was in this instance, with consideration given to parking lot capacity before a reservation is confirmed.  Hicks can be faulted, when making the reservation, for failing to move to foreclose any other competing uses that would affect the parking availability for his event.  He should have explicitly reserved the parking lot in the first instance or, if TBA convention required it, all the meeting spaces in the building.  Rather, he left it to a new, scarcely experienced team managing TBA responsibilities, Lamb and Alvarez, to divine that his reservation meant they could accept no other reservations that would deprive Hicks’s group of the parking spaces they needed for the afternoon rally.  This failure on Hicks’s part led directly to the need to cancel the Sysco meeting, resulting in the uproar Scearcy raised as a result.  Had the Sysco meeting not been canceled, the rally, for which a reservation was made first in time, would have been denied the benefit of its reservation, for rallygoers would not have been able to park on site because the parking spaces would still be in use by the Sysco attendees.


            On these facts, we find that Lamb properly canceled the later-scheduled Sysco meeting because the reservation conflicted with the earlier-scheduled Hicks event.  Given the TBA’s practice of affording first-come, first-served status to any person or entity reserving space, we find no impermissible use of union resources to support a candidate.  To the contrary, we conclude that the TBA was obligated to protect the benefit of the reservation Hicks made against encroachment by the Sysco meeting, not because Hicks is a candidate but because he was the first to reserve.


            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


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 173









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

John Scearcy


Rick Hicks


Peter Lamb


John Howell


Janet Alvarez


Christine Mrak


Deborah Schaaf


Jeffrey Ellison