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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Division of Enforcement
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-0143 Fax: (202) 693-1343
May 11, 2011

Dear
:

This Statement of Reasons is in response to the complaint that you filed with the United
States Department of Labor on January 29, 2011, alleging that violations of Title IV of
the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. §§
481-484, occurred in connection with the election of officers for the National Division of
the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) completed on
December 15, 2010.

The Department conducted an investigation of your allegations. As a result of the
investigation, the Department has concluded that no violations affecting the outcome of
the election occurred.

You allege that ineligible members may have voted in the election because the union
mailed ballots to both eligible and ineligible members. Specifically, you name members

and as ineligible voters who received ballots. Section 401(e)
of the LMRDA provides that every member in good standing is entitled to one vote and
that those votes be counted. In addition, Section 401(c) of the LMRDA requires that
unions have adequate safeguards to insure a fair election.

The Department’s investigation found that the ballots of and were
properly deemed ineligible and not counted in the tally, and that was listed as
an active member, eligible to vote by his division. However, you challenged ’s
ballot and it was not included in the ballot tally. The investigation did not find
evidence that ineligible members were permitted to vote, but instead found that one
eligible ballot was deemed ineligible even though it was not included on the
ineligibility list and was improperly excluded from the tally. This failure constitutes a
violation of the Act. However, in order for the Department to seek to overturn an
election, there must be evidence that the violation may have affected the outcome of the
election. 29 U.S.C. § 482(c)(2). In this case, there is no such evidence due to the margins
of victory in all the races.


Page 2 of 2

You also allege several violations that were not properly protested under the union’s
internal protest procedure. Section 402 of the LMRDA requires that a member must
have “exhausted the remedies available under the constitution and bylaws” of their
union in order to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. The investigation
confirmed that you did not raise these issues with the union. Thus, they are not
properly within the scope of your complaint to the Department.

For the reasons set forth above, the Department has concluded that there was no
violation of Title IV of the LMRDA, and I have closed the file in this matter.

Sincerely,

Patricia Fox
Chief, Division of Enforcement

cc:
Dennis R. Pierce, National President
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)
1370 Ontario Street, Mezzanine
Cleveland, OH 44113-1702
Beverly Dankowitz, Acting Associate Solicitor
Civil Rights and Labor-Management Division


U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Division of Enforcement
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-0143 Fax: (202) 693-1343
May 12, 2011

Dear
:

This Statement of Reasons is in response to the complaint that you filed with the United
States Department of Labor on January 12, 2011, alleging that violations of Title IV of
the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. §§
481-484, occurred in connection with the election of officers for the National Division of
the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) completed on
December 15, 2010.

The Department conducted an investigation of your allegations. As a result of the
investigation, the Department has concluded that no violations occurred.

You allege that BLET National Division’s incumbent officers improperly used union
funds and resources, specifically the Mobilization Network, for a get-out-the-vote
campaign to benefit the incumbent slate and that incumbent BLET National Division
officers improperly campaigned while they were being compensated by the union for
travel to conduct Mobilization Network activities. The investigation did not
substantiate these allegations.

Section 401(g) of the LMRDA prohibits the use of union resources and funds to promote
the candidacy of any person in an election subject to the Act. Section 401(c) of the
LMRDA requires unions to refrain from discrimination in favor of or against any
candidate.

The investigation revealed that Section 7(h) of the 2006 BLET Bylaws provides for a
“Department of Internal Organizing, Mobilizing, and Strategic Planning,” i.e., the
Mobilization Network. Although the Mobilization Network had not been used for
prior officer elections, the 2010 switch from election by delegates to allowing all rank
and file members to vote for national officers caused the union to use the Mobilization
Network to increase voter turnout. The investigation further found that members
received consistently clear communications that the Mobilization Network’s purpose


Page 2 of 3

was to increase voter turnout and not to direct members to vote for specific candidates
or slates. In fact, you were asked to be part of its Get-Out-the-Vote-Drive for the
election.

The investigation found no evidence that the Mobilization Network was used to
promote the candidacy of the incumbent slate, or that the Mobilization Network
directed its efforts toward supporters of the incumbent slate. The investigation also
found no evidence that anyone working for the Mobilization Network campaigned for
the incumbent slate while being paid by the union or at times when activities were to be
devoted to Mobilization Network activities. There was no violation of the Act.

You also alleged that BLET National Secretary-Treasurer William C. Walpert
improperly served as Election Officer while also being a candidate in the election. The
investigation found that Section 49 of the 2006 Bylaws and Article I of the Rules for the
2010 BLET Officer election give the National Secretary-Treasurer the authority to
supervise the National Division officer election. The Rules allow the secretary-treasurer
to delegate his election duties and functions, but require that the secretary-treasurer
direct and supervise the selected Election Officer. In this case, Walpert designated

as Election Officer of the 2010 election. s primary
responsibility was to assist Walpert oversee the election. also assisted the
Election Protest Committee and Advisory Board with responding to protests.

As stated above, Section 401(c) of the LMRDA requires unions to refrain from
discrimination in favor of or against any candidate. The investigation found no
evidence that anything improper or irregular occurred during the election.

You also allege that the appearance of the ballots favored the incumbent slate because
they included members of the incumbent slate who had won by acclamation. The
investigation disclosed that Election Rules Advisory No. 14, issued on October 1, 2010,
before nominations took place, stipulated that all slates would be fully listed on the
ballots. Both slates were fully listed in the order specified in Article I of the election
rules. There was no violation of the Act

You also allege several violations that were not properly protested under the union’s
internal protest procedure. Section 402 of the LMRDA requires that a member must
have “exhausted the remedies available under the constitution and bylaws” of their
union in order to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. 29 U.S.C. § 482. The
investigation confirmed that you either did not timely raise these issues with the Union
or that you did not raise them at all. Thus, they are not properly within the scope of
your complaint to the Department.


Page 3 of 3

For the reasons set forth above, the Department has concluded that there was no
violation of Title IV of the LMRDA, and I have closed the file in this matter.

Sincerely,

Patricia Fox
Chief, Division of Enforcement

cc:
Dennis R. Pierce, National President
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)
1370 Ontario Street, Mezzanine
Cleveland, OH 44113-1702
Beverly Dankowitz, Acting Associate Solicitor
Civil Rights and Labor-Management Division