1803 Brackett v. Local Union 699

Case No: 1803


Brackett prevailed in the Local’s election to fill a vacant Trustee position.  Subsequently, the Local’s membership voted to rerun the election, finding that Brackett impermissibly campaigned at the polling place.  Local union elections carry a presumption of validity.  Therefore, to warrant overturning an election’s results and conducting a rerun, two requirements must be met: (1) an election rule violation must be firmly established; and (2) there must be clear and convincing evidence that the violation could have affected the outcome of the election.  Although the presumption of validity applies to all local elections, as the Board has recognized in the past, additional considerations are present when the membership of a local votes to conduct a rerun election.  When members of a local union with first-hand experience of the events reject the results of an election, that rejection itself constitutes evidence of a problem requiring further investigation.  On the other hand, steps must be taken to safeguard against a small group of members adopting a motion that is contrary to the will of the majority as expressed through the ballot box.  Accordingly, the International President’s office reviewed the Local’s decision to rerun the election as required under Article 38, §12 of the International Constitution.

In this case, the International President’s staff properly concluded that a rerun election should be conducted.  Hearing testimony established that a violation of election rules had occurred.  Given the slim margin between candidates in the election and the nature of the violation, staff reasonably concluded that the violation could have affected the outcome of the election.  Thus, the appropriate remedy was to rerun the election.