Teamster may
get on union ballot

Whether Teamster Anson "Slim" Ilae will be on the ballot to challenge union President Mel Kahele hinges on whether he was working in October.

Local 996 of the Teamsters Union filed papers in U.S. District Court yesterday indicating it was prepared to rescind its decision declaring Ilae ineligible to run in union elections if they can verify he worked until Nov. 1 before changing to workers' compensation status.

"If he went on workers' comp in November, then he is eligible and if we need to print up new ballots, we will," said Sean Kim, attorney for the Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996.

Ilae said he is confident his employer, Budget Rent-A-Car, can produce his original time card showing he worked eight hours on Nov. 1 and that his name will appear on the ballot.

The union will postpone distribution of ballots, which were to be mailed today. If Ilae's employment cannot be verified by Monday, the two sides will return to court.

"I feel super just knowing I'm finally gonna get a chance," said Ilae. "I've waited six years and now members have a chance to choose who they want to be president for the next three years."

Ilae filed a complaint Monday against Local 996 asking the court to force the union to place his name on the ballot. He filed an amended complaint Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway ruled the union was not discriminating against him in declaring him ineligible.

She said the question of whether he was eligible should be decided by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, not the courts.

Local 996 repeatedly told Ilae he was eligible. But over the weekend, he was notified that he was no longer qualified because he was late in paying his October union dues.

Ilae said his union dues were deducted from his Oct. 18 paycheck and that he did not know his employer failed to remit his dues to the union until Nov. 22, when he went in personally to pay his November dues and also wound up paying his October dues.

But Kim said that because Ilae said he went on workers' comp in October, the union believed that the dues weren't paid on time because the company can't deduct the dues for an employee on workers' comp.

This means that if Ilae was working in October, he paid his dues and therefore is eligible to run, Kim said.

The union's international constitution says members who have automatic payroll deduction do not lose good standing if an employer fails to deduct monthly dues. If that happens, the union is required to notify the employee and the member must make payment within 30 days to remain in good standing.

"It was never our intent to have an election that was invalid," Kim said. "If he was out on workers' comp leave in October and we placed him on the ballot, that would have been an invalid election because we permitted an invalid candidate to run."


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