Months after a federal judge voided the December 2015 officer elections of Metro’s largest union, the U.S. Department of labor has settled on a special election date for December.
The federally-supervised Dec. 6 election will have races for 22 top positions, including the top five officers and 17 executive board members, according to a union memo obtained by The Washington Post. Union President Jackie L. Jeter plans to run for reelection, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 officials said this week.
“President Jeter ran for a three-year term and has every intention of completing her three-year term,” Union spokesman David Stephen said.
Jeter’s official term will be cut short because of a July ruling that the union bent the rules in its Dec. 2, 2015 elections, possibly shaping its outcome.
U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel granted the Labor Department’s motion for new elections, noting that ATU Local 689 had failed to dispute the allegations against it.
The Labor Department had alleged the union approved a set of “alternate, secret” policies that determined election eligibility. Despite provisions requiring officer candidates to be in good standing for two consecutive years, the union allowed any member who was less than two late months on payments to remain eligible, while approving “secret” payment plans for some members who were excessively late.
In addition, the union mailed election notices a day later than the 15-day advance-notice deadline, violating its bylaws and a provision of the federal Labor-Management Report and Disclosure Act.
“The sum and substance is simply this: the Local did not play by the rules,” argued Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who was U.S. Attorney at the time, in a request for summary judgment. The suit was filed by former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who now chairs the Democratic National Committee.
In an email this week, a spokesman for Labor Department confirmed the date of the new election as Dec. 6. The elections will be supervised by the department. In the memo, the union seeks approval for “Electec” personnel to be on Metro property on election day. The company describes itself as an election services firm, managing election processes from “pre-nomination planning through final tabulation.”
According to the Labor Department, a supervised election requires the Office of Labor-Management Standards to “arrange, supervise, and control all aspects and phases of the election, including nominations if appropriate.”
The Labor Department declined to answer a question about whether officials had any concerns about Jeter seeking reelection after the flawed voting process in December 2015. Election nominations are expected to take place in November.
The July ruling did not remove any officers from their positions, nor did the Labor Department seek anyone’s removal from their post, the department said.
Stephen said it was up to union members to decide whether Jeter deserved another term as president.
“That’s for the membership to decide,” he said. “That’s what the democratic process is all about.”
Following the special election, the next regularly scheduled union election is in December 2018.