U.S. Dist. Judge Rudolph T. Randa sentenced Pamela L. Schultz, ex-financial secretary of the Racine, Wis.-based United Auto Workers Local 553, Mar. 5 to five months in a halfway house for embezzling $28,088 from the local. Randa also ordered her to serve five months on home detention after her release and three years of supervised release. He also fined her $3,000. Schultz previously pled guilty and has paid Local 553 $36,000 in restitution. She allegedly wrote union checks to herself and others for her own benefit from 1996-99. [Milwaukee J.-Sent. 3/6/01]
Michigan Members’ Suit Advances to Discovery
U.S. Dist. Paul V. Gadola ruled Mar. 7 that more than 140 UAW members may proceed with their suit against UAW and Gen. Motors. The $550 million suit claims UAW bosses demanded jobs for relatives and improper overtime payments in return for ending a 1997 strike at GM’s Pontiac truck plants, thereby needlessly prolonging the 87-day strike. It also accuses GM of going along with the alleged scheme, which the suit alleges cost the average member $10,000-$20,000. Separately, federal investigators continue their probe into the strike.
Gadola denied the requests of GM, UAW, and UAW Local 594 to dismiss the suit. Now, the members’ attorney, Harold Dunne, can proceed with discovery. “It’s a very important victory for us because we are now able to get to all of the documents to prove our case,” Dunne told the Detroit Free Press. Dunne will also ask Gadola to give the suit class-action status for some 6,000 workers.
Gadola dropped individual defendants Gordon Campbell and Todd Fante from the suit, ruling that as individuals they were not liable. Allegedly, Campbell, son of Local 594’s bargaining committee chairman, and Fante, the son of a close friend of a UAW rep., were not qualified and got jobs after the strike because of their connections.
The suit claims fraud, collusion and extortion. It alleges that UAW and GM breached their contract and duty to members and that Local 594 did not fairly represent its members. [A.P. 3/8/01]
HQ Staffer Resigns over $3,400 Discrepancy
Richard Lyter, an Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters staffer resigned after $3,414 unauthorized meal expenses were discovered, IBT said Mar. 14. He had been the assistant to secretary-treasurer C. Thomas Keegel since 1999. Lyter was asked to resign after an internal audit at IBT headquarters in Washington. It reportedly found discrepancies in an expense account. Lyter allegedly submitted personal expenses that were reported as union expenses over a ten-month period. In his resignation letter, Lyter acknowledged reporting errors and has reportedly reimbursed IBT. IBT said law enforcement has been notified. [A.P. 3/14/01]