The “Reform Slate” of Local 2038 of the International Longshoremen’s
Association (ILA) won a commanding victory in the new election of officers
ordered and supervised by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Running for president on the Reform Slate was Kensey Alsman, one of the
Local 2038 members who successfully challenged the election held March 12.
He beat Andre Joseph 141 votes to 33.
Running for secretary/treasurer was Mike Battista, who beat Zivco Despotoski
and incumbent Ron Gross by 141 votes to 33 and 31 respectively.
Running for business agent was Jeff Kleefisch, who beat Ed Monette and
incumbent Rusty White by 141 votes to 10 and 55 respectively.
Alsman, Battista, and Kleefisch will be installed on Dec. 11.
Local 2038 represents around 600 members in 17 divisions, the largest in the
Beta Steel division with around 300 members. Total voter turnout ran at 40
percent of the membership, Kensey told the Chesterton Tribune today,
with 60 percent of the Beta Steel division’s members voting.
In September Local 2038—its feet held to the fire by DOL—agreed to conduct
new nominations of officers and hold a new election after DOL opened an
investigation into the March 12 election. In that election President Mike
DaVaney, Gross, and White were all re-elected, with a total of 42 votes cast
for all candidates from a membership of 600.
Calling that election a “self-coronation,” Alsman and eight Local 2038
members made three general allegations in their complaint to DOL:
•Members in good standing were not permitted to vote because they did not
meet the “Executive Board’s qualification standard that required voters to
be local or division officers.”
•The nomination process was flawed because steps were not taken to notify
sick, laid-off, or other working members.
•And the hours of voting—7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.—violated DOL regulations
requiring members to have a reasonable opportunity to vote.
DOL’s investigation subsequently prompted DaVaney to agree to hold new
nominations and a new election overseen by DOL. DaVaney himself did not
stand for re-election.
“The Department of Labor watched the election from stem to stern,” Alsman
said. “It turned out to be sort of low key. We only put out one flyer. We
were loaded for bear but our opponents didn’t put up that big a fight.”
“We thank the membership for its overwhelming support,” Alsman added. “It
was heart-warming. We’ve been working as a local for 10 or 12 years and this
was the first time that we’ve ever had a chance to elect our own local
Alsman expressed his gratitude in particular to the membership of the Beta
Steel division, where he, Battista, and Kleefisch work in the
maintenance/melt shop. “They were our main source of support.”