Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

On one level, 2017 was a very good year. President Trump, a man who works with unions rather than for them, took office. He named Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel (each approved by the Senate) to fill National Labor Relations Board vacancies, and Peter Robb, another ally of worker liberty, to serve as NLRB general counsel. This contrasted with former President Obama’s picks, which gave unions a natural 3-2 edge in almost every aspect of workplace relations. The new board is making a difference. Last month, in PCC Structurals Inc., the board raised the bar for “micro-union” organizing, overturning its misguided Specialty Healthcare decision of 2011. At the state level, meanwhile, Kentucky and Missouri early in the year passed Right to Work legislation to protect private-sector nonunion workers from having to pay union dues to keep their jobs.

Crucial as such countervailing forces to union power were, unions proved … Read More ➡

Unions Support DACA; Sell Out Working People

Since its creation by executive fiat nearly six years ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of people from abroad brought here as children by their illegal immigrant parents. As DACA undermines U.S. sovereignty, security and rule of law, and very likely is unconstitutional, its elimination would seem a no-brainer. Yet President Donald Trump and Congress, under extreme pressure to “do something” about immigration, may be on the verge of retaining it. Unions, predictably, are among interest groups applying the pressure.

DACA owes its existence to a misguided assumption that coming to, and remaining in, America is a moral right. If a person is “undocumented,” that should not be any basis for deportation. The program was a by-product of stalled immigration legislation pushed during the second term of President George W. Bush. Part of that legislation would have allowed persons … Read More ➡

Boilermakers Employee of Corrupt Pittsburgh Local Pleads Guilty

On December 21, Russell Gloeckl, former maintenance employee with International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, to one count of receiving stolen property. He then was sentenced to one year of probation. Local 154 is the Boilermakers affiliate whose former business manager, Ray Ventrone, pleaded guilty this past September to ripping off his union of about $1.5 million. The actions in the latest case follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Illinois Postal Workers President Sentenced for Embezzlement

On December 18, Lonzell Moore, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1730, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service for embezzling $18,857 in funds from the Des Plaines-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Moore had pleaded guilty in July several days after being charged that month. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Transportation Communications Secretary-Treasurer in Illinois Pleads Guilty

On December 14, Wendy Buch, former financial secretary-treasurer of Transportation Communications Union (TCU) Local T-574, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to one count of embezzling $11,957 in funds from the Shiloh-based union and one count of concealing the thefts in annual financial reports. TCU merged with the International Association of Machinists several years ago. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local Secretary in Washington State Pleads Guilty

Jason Richard stole union funds for only nine months, but he made the most of that time. Now he’s likely to do some prison time. On December 14, Richard, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 12-990, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to one count of embezzling more than $40,000 in funds from the Wallula (Walla Walla County), Wash.-based union, which represents workers at the Wallula plant of The Packaging Corporation of America. The plea came two months after the filing of the charge, but before an indictment could be returned by a grand jury, and follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Jason Richard used his position to embezzle $40,049 in union funds during January-October 2015, converting the money to his own personal use. A local audit subsequently discovered a financial shortfall and requested that … Read More ➡

‘Safe Spaces’: Workplace Radicalism with a Corporate Logo

U.S. Bank isn’t just about banking. And Greg Cunningham wants everyone to know that. Cunningham, vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Minneapolis-based institution, is busy traversing the nation, coaxing bank employees to confront their inner racism, sexism and other attitudes that get in the way of a harmonious workplace. “Transforming a culture of 67,000 people is never easy,” he says. “You have to make sure that everyone knows that there is something in this for them.”

Reprogramming of this sort is a trend. Corporations are creating on-premises ‘safe spaces’ for employees presumably at risk of harassment by managers and peers. Advocates tout the practice as fostering teamwork and ultimately profits. Don’t believe them. Under the guise of addressing a workplace morale crisis, such ‘spaces’ actually create rather than resolve employee divisiveness. It’s a variation on that national behavior modification program known as “diversity,” which has nothing to … Read More ➡

North Carolina SEIU Affiliate Has New Leader; Memories of $500K+ Theft Linger

The legacy of Dana Cope, former executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, no doubt still lingers, but it is fading into memory. For rank and file, that’s a good thing. On December 18, the 55,000-member state employee union, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), announced that Robert Broome, a veteran lobbyist, would be its next executive director, effective January 1. Broome takes over the post from Mitch Leonard, who had held the position since February 2015 to succeed Cope, who had diverted more than $500,000 from association coffers to his own use. Cope would plead guilty in State Superior Court that November, seven months after the release of an SEIU-directed audit. He then was sentenced to up to 82 months in prison.

The saga of Dana Cope is familiar in the world of organized labor: A union leader behaves as though he … Read More ➡

Pittsburgh-Area Steelworkers Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On December 15, Marianne Rodacy, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 10-53-G, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $13,109 in funds from the Charleroi union. She had been indicted in September. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

President, Treasurer of Pennsylvania AFGE Local Sentenced

On December 12, Michael Evans, ex-president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1699, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service for conspiracy to commit bank fraud against the Wilkes-Barre union. He also was ordered to pay $65,775 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Evans had pleaded guilty in September after being charged in July. One day later, on December 13, former union treasurer William Uggiano was sentenced to two years of probation plus 50 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $7,350 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, for the same offense. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

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