IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT C0URT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON

AT SEATTLE

 

VAL ALBERT and GALEN COOK,

Plaintiffs,

 

v.

 

LARRY JOHNSON,

Defendant.

 

No. C98-1180Z

 

Deposition Upon Oral Examination

Of

BARRY RIEDESEL

 

 

Taken by: Tracey L. Juran, CCR

CCR No. JURANTL364BC

 

January 29, 1999 

Seattle, Washington

 

 

 

 

Sandra Baker& Associates

Court Reporters and Legal Video Service

870 10th Lane,

Fox Island, Washington 98333

Tacoma 253.272.9288, Seattle 206.622.9919, Bremerton 360.373. 9032, Olympia 360.352.0099 Fax 253 549.2918

 

 

 

 

 

APPEARANCES

 

 

For the Plaintiffs:

 

Galen Cook, Pro Se

33408 First Lane South, Suite C

Federal Way, Washington 98003

 

Val Albert, Pro Se

400 228th Street SW

Bothell, Washington 98021

 

For the Defendant:

 

Russell J. Reid, Attorney at Law

Davies, Roberts & Reid

101 Elliott Avenue West, Suite 550

Seattle, Washington 98119

 

Also Present:

 

Jack Jakubiec

 

 


 

Be it remembered that the deposition upon oral examination of Barry Riedesel was taken on January 29, 1999, at the hour of 9:18 A.m. at 999 Third Avenue, Suite 1620, Seattle, Washington, before Tracey L. Juran, CCR, Notary Public in and for the State of Washington residing at Seattle, Washington.

 

Whereupon the following proceedings were had, to wit:

 

* * * * *

 

MR. COOK: Let the record show that co-plaintiff Galen Cook asked union attorney Russ Reid for a stipulation to audiotape this conference, and Mr. Reid objected to that.

 

* * * * *

 

BARRY RIEDESEL, having been first duly sworn on

oath by the Notary Public to

tell the truth, the whole truth,

and nothing but the truth, was

deposed and testified as follows:

 

 

EXAMINATION

BY MR. COOK:

 

Q. Mr. Riedesel, for the record, would you state your full name and spell your last name, please.

 

A. My name's Barry Riedesel. The spelling of my last name is R-I-E-D-E-S-E-L.

 

Q. And where is your place of employment right now?

 

Page 4

 

 

A. I'm employed by the International Union of Operating

Engineers, Local 302.

 

Q. And how long have you been employed with 302?

 

A. Since July 1 of '97.

 

Q. That's the first date you started work with Local 302?

 

A. On staff, yes.

 

Q. And how long have you been a member of the union?

 

A. Since August of 1980.

 

Q. 1980.

And what position did you hold as a member? What

did -- what kind of work did you do as a member?

 

A. I'm a dirt hand. I'd work site work.

 

Q. So you ran heavy equipment?

 

A. Ran heavy equipment, checked grade oil --

 

Q. And when was the last time you ran a piece of heavy

equipment with Local 302?

 

A. The month before I came to work here -- or the week

before I came to work here.

 

Q. Well, would you give me a month and a year, please.

 

A. It would have been June of 1997.

 

Q. And that was the last time.

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. And how many hours of service do you have with

Local 302? Now, I'm talking about your dirt-hand

experience.

 

Page 5

 

A. As far as -- this is through the course of service?

I'm not sure. It's -- I don’t really pay attention to

the record. It’s probably 26,000 hours or something.

 

Q. So you've been -- you're a journeyman, then.

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. Vested?

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. How many years vested?

 

A. Nineteen years vested.

 

Q. Nineteen years, okay.

 

A. Or 18 -- well, 18 and a half, since it's -- it'll be 19

years in August, so --

 

Q. So, now, you became a staff member which month again?

 

A. July 1.

 

Q. July 1, '97.

 

A. Correct.

 

Q. And what was your position as a staff member?

 

A. Field representative.

 

Q. ~ And who hired you?,

 

A. Clyde Wilson and Mike Jonas.

 

Q. But Larry Johnson did not?

 

A. That's correct. Larry Johnson was not on staff at the

time I was hired.

 

Q. July '97, okay.

 

Now, I understand that your current position is an

 

Page 6

 

Q. So you received more than one check, then.

 

A. Yeah, I think they paid us twice.

 

Q. Do you remember what the amount was -

 

A. No, I don't.

 

Q. -- each check?

 

Can you give me a ballpark figure what the checks were?

 

A. No, because I -- I mean, I don’t remember. I'm sure that there's got to be a record at the hall.

 

Q. But before you volunteered for the position, you had no idea that you were going to get paid for this.

 

A. That's correct. In fact, it was brought to my attention by one of the committee members; I'm not -- I don't remember which one. But he said in the past, we've been compensated for our time. And so I checked into it and, in fact, you know, we were to be compensated for it.

 

Q. Had you ever served in an election committee before?

 

A. No.

 

Q. So you had no experience at all.

 

A. Not on the election committees, no.

 

Q. But in this particular election committee that was assembled in 1996, had anybody else in that committee been -- or had served at a prior time?

 

A. I think John Chromey did, but Itm not positive of that.

 

Page 12

A. No.

 

Q. Were you aware of any communication between John Chromey and Mr. Albert on nominations night?

 

A. No.

 

Q. None at all.

 

A. No.

 

Q. You never heard of any communication between those two?

 

A. Not until it was cited in the -- your lawsuit.

 

Q. And what do you know about what was cited in the lawsuit?

 

MR. REID: Well, I'm going to object to that question; hets testified he didn't know except what was in the lawsuit. The lawsuit stands for itself. That's when he discovered it. That's all he knows. [Off the record - discussion]

 

Q. (by Mr. Cook) When was the first time the election committee met, either formally or informally?

 

A. I believe it was July 2nd.

 

Q. You never had a meeting anywhere within a 30-day period or almost a 30-day period from nominations night until July 2nd?

 

A. No, I don't believe so. I think July 2nd was the first night that we met.

 

Q. Did you ever have any communication with any of the election-committee members?

 

Page 14

 

A. No, because I didn't know any of those members prior to being on that committee.

 

Q. When were you selected as the chairman of that committee?

 

A. It would have been the first meeting.

 

Q. So July 2nd.

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. And where was the meeting at?

 

A. It was held at the local's office at Bothell.

 

Q. Who was present in the room besides yourself? First of all, were all the election-committee members there?

 

A. I believe so, but I'm not positive of that.

 

And then in addition to the folks on the committee was Russ Reid and Dave Clements of the accounting firm.

 

Q. So probably five committee members, Mr. Reid, and Dave Clements.

 

A. Yeah. There was one of the meetings -- Michael Graham missed one of the meetings due to work, and I don't recall if it was the first one or the second one.

 

Q. Michael Graham is --

 

A. Or he was --

 

Q. -- a committee member?

 

A. He was a committee member, and he was late. And I don't recall if that was the first one or, you know, at what point in that time line that that happened.

 

Page 15

 

 

printing.

 

Q. But it wasn’t a duty of the election committee to secure a post-office box.

 

A. No. It was our duty to designate the accounting firm to do that on our behalf.

 

Q. What other primary duties were involved of an election-committee chairman that you remember?

 

A. As the chairman? Obviously, chair the meetings; maintain, you know, that the minutes of those meetings were proper and correct and that all the proceedings in the constitution and the bylaws were followed.

 

Q. And were they?

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. Do you believe the election-committee chairman had a duty to be absolutely fair with all candidates that were nominated -

 

A. Sure.

 

Q. -- and-actively running?

 

A. Absolutely. -

 

Q. And do you believe that there was fairness across the board in---

 

A. Absolutely.

 

Q. Did you ever discuss in an election committee, either formal setting or informal setting, with any of the members in the committee about Mr. Albert's candidacy?

 

Page 26

 

 

 

again with Chromey; you told me there was a problem

there.

 

Q. But you don’t really know what the problem is; correct?

 

A. That’s correct.

 

Q. Now, when you brought these charges on September 6th, these were, I'm sure, thought out well before September 6th. Tell me approximately when you contemplated the charges.

 

A. At some point in time after election day, after August 23rd, one of the reasons being that, as you know, in the constitution, when we take membership in the Operators, there are several things that we agree to do as a part of that membership.

 

Q. So within a two-week period from after the election day, August 23rd, but prior to September 6th, which is a rough time frame of two weeks, you -- it just occurred to you that Mr. Albert had violated three different areas of the bylaws of the constitution?

 

A. Well, I was pretty much aware that he was violating during the course of the election the constitution and the bylaws of the union.

 

Q. You already knew this.

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. And you came to this decision on your own?

 

A. Sure. As I stated, as one of the first things that

 

Page 55

 

 

happened at our first meeting is, we received the

constitution and the bylaws.

 

Q. First meeting meaning the election committee?

 

A. Correct.

 

Q. But there was never any discussion about violations during the election-committee meeting.

 

A. That's correct.

 

Q. And how did you prepare this document? Did you personally type the charges up? What was the method you used to convey your charges to the proper person in the union?

 

A. As I recall, I think I pretty much wrote them out longhand on a yellow tablet, similar to what you have there, and then typed them and sent them to the recording secretary -- or actually, I think I delivered the charges in person.

 

Q. Did you discuss these charges with anybody before you brought them in to the recording secretary?

 

A. No.

 

Q. Now, the recording secretary meaning Jack Jakubiec.

 

A. Right.

 

Q. You don't remember which day you did that, do you?

 

A. That I -

 

Q. That you submitted the charges on a piece of yellow paper to the union, to Mr. Jakubiec.

 

Page 56

 

the P-I. That came based on -- as if any other piece

of business. He had to respond to those charges.

 

Q. But he did talk to the P-I reporter, Mr. Riedesel.

 

A. About things that had already been brought up in the article previously.

 

Q. So he did talk to the P-I reporter. we both agree on that; is that correct?

 

A. Sure. You have quotes in here.

 

Q. But you don't think it rose to the level of charges.

 

A. No.

 

Q. Because he violated or may have violated a bylaw.

 

A. No, I don't.

 

Q. You say no, okay.

 

Had you talked to Larry Johnson about any of these charges after you filed them or before you filed them?

 

MR. REID: What’s your question?

 

Q. (by Mr. Cook) Did you talk to Larry Johnson about any of the charges before you filed them?

 

A. No.

 

Q. How about after you filed them?

 

A. I don’t believe I discussed them with him then, either.

 

Q. Never.

 

A. Not as I recall.

 

Q. Never discussed any charges or any aspect of the upcoming trial against Val Albert with Larry Johnson

 

Page 60

 

prior to -

 

A. Not that I recall.

 

Q. -- trial night.

 

Now, do you remember which night the trial took place?

 

A. I believe it was the first Friday in November.

 

Q. So that would put it just about two months after the charges were filed; correct?

 

A. Mm-hm.

 

Q. Approximately seven, eight weeks, something like that.

 

Now, Mr. Riedesel, do you know anywhere in the constitution or the bylaws where it discusses when a trial will take place, when the time parameters are proper for a trial?

 

A. I believe it talks about them in the constitution.

 

Q. Do you happen to know basically what it says?

 

A. I'm sure I looked at it at the point in time when I was putting this together. I don't have recall of what that says at this point in time.

 

Q. Does it say anything about a semiannual meeting that may take place in December?

 

A. I'd have to read the constitution to see what -

 

Q. So you don’t know, then.

 

A. That's correct.

 

Q. And the trial date being early November, do you happen

 

Page 61

 

 

member?

 

A. No, not that I recall.

 

Q. No, never.

 

So you never discussed the charges with anybody, then.

 

A. That's correct.

 

Q. So you just kept them quiet and that was it? You just

 

showed up on trial night and -

 

A. No, actually, I showed up and presented the charges at the union hall.

 

Q. Which night was that?

 

A. It’s, as I've already stated, somewhere close to this date that I signed, which was the 5th. So I don't recall if it was actually the 5th or, you know, the day after or -

 

Q. Well, hold it now. You said you never discussed the charges with anybody prior to the trial night; correct?

 

A. That's correct. And that's what I'm telling you; I didn’t discuss it. I took these in without discussion, filed the charges. Jack, I believe, sent me a letter saying -- or giving the date of the trial night in November.

 

Q. So there was no discussion anytime from the day that you signed this document until the trial night, November 1st.

 

Page 64

 

A. Correct.

 

Q. Now, on the night of trial, you were obviously there; correct?

 

A. Yes.

 

Q. And what time did you arrive at the union hall for the trial?

 

A. I don't recall. Meetings, you know, typically start at 8:00, so, you know, somewhere in there -

 

Q. Do you remember which entrance -

 

A. -- or prior to.

 

Q. Do you remember which entrance you used to gain access to the building?

 

A. No. No.

 

Q. You don't?

 

A. I'm -- walking through doorways is not something that

 

Q. Well, did you go in the front door or go in one of the side doors or -

 

A. I don’t recall.

 

Q. Well, you were still a dirt hand during this period between September 6th and November lst; correct?

 

A. Correct.

 

Q. So what door would you normally go in through as an ordinary member?

 

A. Through the doors on the south side. I -

 

Page 65

 

with that first charge. It was, you know, dealing

with, you know, one of the other two charges.

 

Q. So just roughly guessing, how much time would you say Mr. Albert was given to respond to your charges?

 

A. I don't recall how long he was up there. He -- I mean, there was no time limit set.

 

Q. Well, if you had to guess, a rough guess in minutes -

 

A. I don't know.

 

Q. -- or seconds.

 

A. I don't know.

 

Q. Did he have a reasonable amount of time to answer the charges?

 

A. In my mind, he did. But there again, you know, I don't know how long he was up there in front of the membership.

 

Q. Well, Mr. Riedesel, you were election-committee chairman, and I would presume you're a man of fair mind and character and neutral, of course. In your opinion, you don~t know whether or not Mr. Albert was given a fair opportunity to respond to the charges at the union trial?

 

A. Yeah, I believe he was.

 

Q. You believe he was.

 

A. Like I say, there was no time limit put on either party at the trial. Basically, it was get up to the podium

 

Page 72

 

 

A F F I D A V I T

 

 

STATE OF WASHINGTON

 

COUNTY OF KING

 

I have read my within deposition and the same is true and accurate except for any changes and/or corrections, if any, as noted by me on the correction sheet hereof.

 

S/Barry Riedesel

 

BARRY RIEDESEL

 

 

 

 

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me on this,

 

The 26th day of March, 1999.

 

S/Catherine Shoemake

 

NOTARY PUBLIC in and for the

State of Washington, residing

at King County, Washington.

Notary expires: 11-29-99

 

 


 

 

Exhibit for Deposition

Of Barry Riedesel

 

 

 

 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

 

Court’s Help Sought In Union Vote

 

Challenger says he can’t get a fair election

 

 

By Bruce Ramsey

July 25, 1996

 

 

A challenger has taken the Seattle and Alaska local of the International Union of Operating Engineers to federal court, asking for intervention in the election for business manager.

 

“I believe I can’t get a fair election with these people,” said the challenger, Val Albert.

 

Local 302 is contesting the unusual request under the Landrum-Griffin Act 1959. The matter is to be decided by federal Judge Carolyn Dimmick in Seattle.

 

At stake in the election is the job heading one of the Seattle area’s largest unions. Based in Bothell, the Operating Engineers have 9,900 members and hiring halls in Bothell, Wenatchee, Yakima, Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks; they represent workers who operate bulldozers and cranes at city and county engineering departments, road districts and scores of contracting companies.

 

The job, now held by Larry Johnson, also includes a seat on a 1.5 billion Taft-Hartley pension fund, and seats on other, smaller health, welfare and training funds. Albert had the job in 1988, the second time he ran for it, but lost it in 1990 to Johnson. They had a rematch in 1993, and Johnson won handily.

 

Albert’s vote total that year was 160, compared with 2,450 for Johnson. Albert didn’t believe it. He complained to the international union, got no support, and complained to the U.S. Department of Labor, citing an excessive number of ballots. The Labor Department replied that all the ballots were properly accounted for, and that there weren’t enough of them to overturn Johnson’s victory, anyway. It declined to prosecute.

 

Albert said the Labor Department investigator was going to sample the voters but didn’t. So Albert said he did it himself. Out of about 2,500 letters delivered, he got back 400 that said they had voted for him.

 

The Labor Department declined comment on the case.

 

In his complaint to the court, Albert is asking that Local 302 be ordered to hold the election at a neutral place; that an accounting firm other than the existing one, Lokitch, Clements & Rice, be retained; that it tabulate the ballots in some way other than by computer; that observers for all sides be present when ballots are counted; that counted ballots be immediately sealed; and that the court appoint an independent observer.

 

Albert, who has worked as a crane operator since losing his post as business manager, has been aided by his campaign manager, Galen Cook. Cook, who was a member of Local 302 during the Alaska pipeline years, said he is just finishing law school at Seattle University’s Tacoma campus. It was he who urged Albert to file a lawsuit.

 

Johnson said Albert “has not taken part in this local since he lost the election in 1990. He has only showed up in the meetings where we have held nominations for business manager” He added that Cook “has not been a participant in Local 302 for quite a while.”

 

At issue in the campaign is the union’s new headquarters building in Bothell. Albert said the hall cost $6 million has been 60 percent empty and was followed by a doubling in the basic rate of dues.

 

Johnson said the union had outgrown its old quarters at Western Avenue and Clay Street, and that the new building had been approved by the membership. For the first time, he said, the union has its own auditorium, space that is empty most of the time but is busy on weekends and is sometimes rented out.

 

Johnson said the dues went up because operating expenses had gone up, and the union had been subsidizing dues out of it Alaska pipeline wealth for 20 years. “It has nothing to do with the construction of the building, because we paid cash for the building,” he said. He put the total cost of land and buildings a $3.7 million.

 

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