Local 406 President Mike LaSpina will complete his term of office after defeating his challenger, reporter Ted Phillips. Ballots in the rerun-election were counted on Wednesday under the supervision of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). The vote was 61-28; 89 ballots were cast, a participation record.
After witnessing the vote counting in the offices of Honest Ballot in Floral Park, LaSpina said: “I am grateful for the support of the membership. We have work ahead of us, and I look forward to doing it with Local 406 members.”
The rerun of the election came after Phillips, who ran against LaSpina in the regular election of November 2022, filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department citing irregularities in the election. The union signed a voluntary compliance agreement that enabled the second round of balloting on March 27, 2023.
In the rerun election, ballots were mailed to 149 union members on June 26, 2023, and they were due back for counting by noon July 19, 2023. The president’s term ends in 2024.
Honest Ballot election coordinator Paula Waskover said the number of returned ballots was impressive. It is way above the average of about 30 percent, she said.
After ballots were counted, candidate Phillips conceded, saying: “A short while ago I congratulated Mike LaSpina for winning the rerun of our Local's election. I am pleased that turnout improved dramatically with the mail-in ballots — from 52 votes cast in November to 89 votes cast this time around, that's a nearly 60 percent participation rate.
“It shows that when rules and laws are followed, that members are engaged and want to participate in how their union is run. I hope that the mail-in ballot process and proper voter notification will become our standard practice going forward.
“I would like to thank the people who supported my agenda of bringing openness, transparency, and accountability to our Local. I hope that the leadership will listen to those voices going forward.
“LaSpina said during the campaign that he would create a budget for the Local and that members could receive union training. Let's keep him to those promises. I would especially like to thank Mark Harrington who worked hard on this election. I would also like to thank the U.S. Department of Labor for its investigation and oversight of this rerun election. Hopefully, they will have no need to return to us in the future.”
Reported and written by Local 406 Secretary-Treasurer Liisa M. May