On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 3:07 PM, Joseph Campbell wrote:
Good afternoon, Barbara.I am authorized to appeal and protest for Ms. Elizabeth Rodriguez. In a letter and email sent today, May 24th, 2017, (see attached) Ms. Rodriguez was informed that she is disqualified from running for the vacated MaBSTOA Division 2 Executive Board position. The reason given for the disqualification stems from an interpretation of the bylaws that we wholeheartedly disagree with.Article XI Section (c)“A member who runs for the office of President, Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Administrative Vice President, or Vice President of the Local, in a General Election, shall not be permitted to run for a Division or Section Office in that General Election or within`18 months of the conclusion of the General Election.”The reasoning behind the disqualification of Ms. Rodriguez, as is stated in the attached ineligibility letter, is to prevent “a place holder” from stepping down and to prevent the “expense of running a vacancy election”. The person who stepped down did so to accept a promotion to management and was not a placeholder for Ms. Rodriguez. The Election Committee and Counsel acknowledge this fact in the attached letter. Therefore, there is no reason to disqualify Ms. Rodriguez from exercising her right as a member in good standing to run for Union office.We also disagree with the Election Committee’s inference that the office of Executive Board is strictly a Division position. Stated in the attached letter,
“The Executive Board members are elected by division and for purposes of this rule were always viewed as Division offices”. The Executive Board is not a Division office but an executive office. The duties of the Executive Board extend beyond the duties of the Division. The general duties of the Executive Board are outlined in Article VIII Section (a) (b) (c). The Executive Board position has a different qualifying procedure than Division office. Executive Board members are elected by Division members “….so as to provide reasonably proportionate representation” per division on the Executive Board. (Section (a) ). Vice Presidents are also elected by their respective divisions only in general elections, but are not elected in mid-term vacancies. They are appointed. Are they Division Officers, as well? That being said, to loosely compare Executive Board members to Division Officers for the purpose of justifying a candidates disqualification seems partisan to put it mildly. Furthermore, the Department of Labor considers the Executive Board, the Vice Presidents, and the top four Local officers to be within the DOL’s purview and not the offices of the Division and Section. The reason being is that they are the governing body of the Union. They are responsible for the Union’s financial transactions among other fiduciary responsibilities, further removing them from being deemed as Division Officers, who’s responsibilities are more administrative and representational.Conclusion:The denial of Ms. Rodriguez to exercise her right to run for office based on “placeholder” status is not an argument. Both parties agree that the intention to hold place is not there. To deny her the right to run for Executive Board because it is similar to Division Office is not accurate. The Executive Board has different qualifications and duties. The Executive Board is not mentioned in the bylaws, specifically, as one you would be denied under the placeholder statute. The Union is making loose and inaccurate comparisons to Division office to justify this decision. It had ample time to amend the bylaws to be more specific, if it had so chose. So what is the reason behind this decision? The purpose of the bylaw amendment was to enact a corrective change. In this instance, whether true or not, just in appearance it looks to serve a political and punitive end.Resolution:For the purposes of a fair election and to not deny members in good standing their right to enjoy the benefits of their membership, allow Ms. Rodriguez the opportunity to run for the vacated OA2 Executive Board position and be given the proper time allotted to gather the signatures necessary to qualify.