Bill Clinton appointed C. Richard Barnes, an ex-Laborer’s Int’l Union of No. Am. business manager, as director of the Fed. Mediation & Conciliation Service on Jan. 14. FMCS assists unions in resolving contract disputes and doles out federal training grants to unions. In addition to being a top boss from one of America’s most corrupt unions, Barnes has a tainted past of his own. In 1982, a Ga. jury returned a verdict against Barnes and two other LIUNA bosses for illegal strike activity, including violence and vandalism against property. The jury awarded the employer $263,166, but Barnes got off on a technicality. Georgia Kraft Co. v. LIUNA Local Union 246, 317 S.E.2d 602 (Ga. Ct. App. 1984). As FMCS deputy director, Barnes was a key player in the Teamsters’ controversial victory over UPS in 1997.
Spy, Union Radical Sentenced
Int’l union activist and his ex-Pentagon-attorney wife were sentenced Jan. 22 for spying for the former East Germany. U.S. Dist. Judge Claude M. Hilton sentenced Kurt Alan Stand to 210 months in federal prison and Theresa Maria Squillacote to 262 months. Stand was a regional representative of the Int’l Union of Food & Allied Workers’ Ass’n based in Switzerland. Prosecutors described the couple as dedicated Communists who hated the U.S. and were willing to spy for any country. In Oct., a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va. found Stand and Squillacote guilty of a conspiracy to send classified information to East Germany and later sought to spy for Russia. Prosecutors said that East Germany had recruited the two radicals during their college days at the Univ. of Wis. They sought jobs in and around the federal gov’t, and stole and smuggled classified documents, at the behest of spymasters. [A.P. 1/22/99 & 10/23/98]
Local 376 Dissidents Sue AFSCME
Dissidents at DC37’s Local 376 filed suit Jan. 19 against AFSCME in Washington to force elections in their local. The dissidents were campaigning for office before AFSCME officials took over the local and canceled the elections. The local was shut down after ex-boss Joseph DeCanio admitted to several corruption charges including rigging an election. Authorities allege that DeCanio and other Local 376 bosses have mob ties. But the dissident slate is also tainted. It’s headed by Ed Bennett, son-in-law of Local 378’s tainted founder, the late Vincent Parisi. Parisi was an alleged associate of the Genovese crime family and was beaten in 1989 by rivals. AFSCME’s top boss, Gerald W. McEntee, is himself tainted by corruption for his alleged role in the Ron Carey campaign’s money-laundering scandal in the 1996 Teamsters election. [Daily News 1/21/99]
Local 2507 Says Bosses Embezzled
Two weeks after suspending three bosses, the executive board of DC37’s Local 2507 filed charges Jan. 21 with DC37 administrator against the same three claiming they embezzled union funds for personal expenses. The new charges allege that local’s secretary-treasurer Rudy Boyd had the union pay for his unauthorized trips to Chicago, Montreal and Greensboro, N.C. The board also claimed Boyd used the local’s credit card to buy $446.99 worth of clothes. President Kevin Lightsey is accused of using over $1,500 for his personal gasoline bills. The board also charged Lightsey and vice-president Kirk Delnick with giving Boyd union funds for his unapproved travel. [N.Y. Times 1/22/99]
New Mexico Boss Opposes Accountability
Santa Fe City Manager Mike Mier vowed Jan. 20 to reinstate regular employee evaluations for all of the city’s roughly 1,200 employees. According to AFSCME Local 3999 boss, Anthony Montoya, the employee evaluations were discontinued 4 years ago because of opposition from his union. Recent external audits, including a “liability audit” of the city Police Dep’t, have raised red flags about the city’s lack of employee analyses. The City Council was astonished that city wasn’t doing evaluations. Council Member Peso Chavez called the lapse of evaluations “totally unconscionable” and questioned how anyone could “possibly run an organization” without a means for assessing workers’ performance. But Montoya responded by saying that the evaluations weren’t a useful tool. [Santa Fe New Mexican 1/21/99]
“Amid probes of major unions such as the Teamsters and Laborers, plus recent accusations of financial wrongdoing by officials with [AFSCME], organized labor faces an unwanted explosion of publicity about corruption and a ricochet effect within its own ranks… The impression of worsening corruption has set off a great deal of hand-wringing within union ranks. Union officials say they know that such publicity plays into the hands of non-union companies, and they are desperate to bury their troubles.”
-Stephen Franklin, Staff Writer, Chicago Tribune Jan. 24, 1999.