Steelworkers Treasurer in Michigan Pleads Guilty to Records Fraud

On January 11, Kimberly Steinhoff, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 87, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to a superseding one-count information charging her with falsifying financial records of the Munising (Upper Peninsula)-based union. She originally had been charged last June with embezzling $12,751 in union funds. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Calls Upon Business to Save the World

With about $6 trillion of assets under management, BlackRock Inc. carries a lot of weight in the business world. And Laurence Fink, CEO and chairman of the New York-based investment firm, wants everyone to know that. In a letter dated January 12, Fink urged dozens of CEOs of publicly-traded companies to expand their horizons beyond the confines of profit. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Though such words sound reasonable, they epitomize a common error about the institutional role of the corporation.

For decades, corporations, prodded by government, nonprofit activists and their own shareholders, have been retooling themselves as social problem solvers. Under the doctrine of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies are behaving as policy-oriented philanthropies. … Read More ➡

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 in January. 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 individual worker liberty, as NLRB general counsel. This contrasted with former President Obama’s picks, which created a natural 3-2 pro-union board majority. The reconstituted board already has made a difference. Last month, in PCC Structurals Inc., the board raised the bar for “micro-union” organizing, overturning the misguided Specialty Healthcare decision of 2011. At the state level, Kentucky and Missouri early in the year passed Right to Work legislation (each signed by the respective governors) 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 … 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, pleaded guilty in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Municipal Court, to one count of receiving stolen property. He then was sentenced to one year of probation. Local 154 is the Pittsburgh-based 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 against Gloeckl 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 embezzling $11,957 in funds from the Shiloh-based union and 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 ➡