November 16, 2011: The vote count is still going on. What do the early results show?
What Can We Learn From the Results So Far?
The preliminary results show Hoffa will likely be reelected, but his support is down. In 2006, Hoffa won 175,000 votes. In 2011, his vote will certainly be lower.
Also, membership involvement is down. Only 249,000 members voted, about 18.6%.
The anti-Hoffa vote has been split between Fred Gegare and Sandy Pope.
What about the split anti-Hoffa vote?
Although Sandy Pope had the stronger national campaign, so far Gegare is running second. Why?
The ballot design and slate box is the biggest factor. In every International election since 1991, over 90 percent of members have voted straight slate. Sandy Pope doesn’t have a slate box on the ballot. That’s been a major disadvantage, as many anti-Hoffa voters gravitate toward the slate vote.
Sandy Pope has done best where she has Teamster campaign volunteers on the ground and she has been able to overcome the slate box disadvantage in many locals.
In locals where neither Sandy nor Fred Gegare has a strong campaign organization, the anti-Hoffa vote has drifted disproportionately toward Gegare because of the slate box advantage, and the attraction of having a slate.
This trend is especially strong in the rail and graphics communications units that recently joined the Teamsters. There, Hoffa effectively used officials to turn out his vote and the anti-Hoffa voters have heavily marked the Gegare slate box.
Where Is Each Candidate Doing Best?
Sandy Pope has done best in the areas where she has active Teamster campaigners on the ground.
In the South, Sandy’s campaign organization came through in key locals. Sandy won the state of Tennessee—carrying the key UPS and freight locals there.
The Central Region is Gegare’s strongest area because he was backed by local officials and running mates in several large locals, mainly in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky and Nebraska.
Hoffa has been able to carry a strong majority of the vote in most locals where members do not work under national contracts and other locals where Pope or Gegare don’t have the support from local officers or active campaign committees.
In freight and carhaul, the majority of Teamsters are voting against Hoffa. In Akron Local 24 (freight) Hoffa got 15%, and that same 15% in Memphis Local 667. In St. Louis Local 600 (freight) and in Local 604 (carhaul), Hoffa got a small minority of the vote.
Even in locals where his running mates head locals, such as Detroit Local 299 or Indianapolis Local 135, Hoffa has struggled to get a majority among freight Teamsters.
Hoffa took 52% in the Central Region and 57% in the South.