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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The U.S. Labor Department has filed a rare lawsuit seeking to overturn a Kansas City-area Teamsters election and force a new vote under federal supervision.

The lawsuit raises concerns over how ballots were collected from members of Teamsters Local 41 and a Facebook post that might have influenced the election, The Kansas City Star reported .

Local 41 President Ralph Stubbs and his slate of candidates won re-election in November over two rival slates, each of which protested the election.

Washington brought only four such lawsuits last year out of 87 election complaints that the Department of Labor investigated, according to the Association of Union Democracy in New York. The government reached an agreement with unions 20 times last year and the Department of Labor determined 63 times that a new election was not warranted.

The lawsuit noted that a union member supporting Stubbs posted a message to the group’s informational Facebook page that supported his candidacy. Another problem occurred when a company contracted by the union incorrectly printed the ballot return envelopes, which caused many ballots to be returned to members, according to the lawsuit. That caused 163 ballots to come in after the Nov. 16, 2017, election cutoff date.

The Teamsters trial board investigated after complaints about the ballots and the Facebook post and found no “inference of fraud” or evidence that it influenced the election. Stubbs won by 222 votes, and the 1,905 ballots received were similar to previous elections, the council said.

The Labor Department is seeking to void the last election and have the Teamsters conduct a new one at its own expense. The case was assigned to an outside mediator, according to a court filing.

A message left Tuesday seeking a response from Teamsters Local 41 was not immediately returned.


Information from: The Kansas City Star,