President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last Tuesday night offered some sensible recommendations for immigration reform. Unfortunately, he omitted a few things – such as the need to fix the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5, authorized by the Immigration Act of 1990, allows persons from abroad who invest in a U.S. startup business to become lawful permanent residents. All too often, it is an invitation to fraud and self-dealing.
The EB-5 visa, intended to spur business development, offers a green card for immigrant small venture capitalists. The visa holder must invest at least $1 million in a “new commercial enterprise” or at least $500,000 if the enterprise is located in a designated Targeted Employment Area. Upon approval of a petition, the investor and dependent family members may obtain a green card. The investor must show that the investment has created or preserved at least 10 permanent domestic … Read More ➡
The Mafia might not control organized labor as it did decades ago, but don’t tell that to the feds. On January 10, five persons, each a member or an associate of the Genovese crime family, were indicted in Manhattan federal court for racketeering offenses dating back to 2000. Two of the defendants, Frank Cognetta and Vincent D’Acunto Jr., respectively, are secretary-treasurer of the Brooklyn-based Local 1D and Local 2D of the United Food and Commercial Workers. The charges follow a probe by the FBI, NYPD and Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General. Edwin Stier, a former federal prosecutor, noted: “Nobody should ever assume, given the history of the New York metropolitan area, that we’re going to be rid of organized crime influence completely, no matter what law enforcement does.”
The Genovese mob has a long tradition of milking New York City-area labor unions for … Read More ➡
The era of partial workplace organizing is now in remission. And that’s a good thing for those concerned about the right not to be corralled into joining a union. On December 15, the National Labor Relations Board, by a 3-2 vote, ruled in PCC Structurals, Inc. that a small, unionized group of an otherwise nonunion workplace does not have standing as a separate collective bargaining unit. The group, the board concluded, shared a “community of interest” with the majority and hence cannot negotiate separately. The decision overturns the board’s ruling in Specialty Healthcare (2011), which dramatically expanded the basis for forming these miniature or “micro” bargaining units. Its also underscores the pivotal role of President Trump’s NLRB appointees, Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel.
Labor unions in the private sector are hungry for members, and with good reason. According to data released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor … Read More ➡
It was a preliminary deal back in November. Now it’s a final one. Last Thursday, January 18, Richard D’Antuono, former business manager and financial secretary for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 40, pleaded guilty in Providence, R.I. federal court to a three-count information charging him with embezzling more than $300,000 in funds from the Cranston-based union and a related benefit plan, and with identity theft in connection with his forging of official signatures. The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
According to federal prosecutors, D’Antuono, 42, a resident of Cranston, beginning in 2015 embezzled funds from the Local 40 general account and a union-sponsored apprenticeship plan. He acquired this income in a variety of ways: making checks out to himself well in excess of his salary; authorizing signatories … Read More ➡
Brian Haney and Kevin Gray have learned the hidden cost of patient referrals. On December 1, Haney, part-owner of a pharmacy in the southeast Texas community of Vidor, and Gray, operator of a Houston-area pharmacy, were given identical sentences in Austin federal court of 28 months in prison for committing a combined more than $800,000 worth of bribery and tax evasion. This was part of a far larger drug prescription scheme that heavily involved union-sponsored health plans and fleeced taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars in needless or otherwise inflated reimbursements. In addition, the defendants each were ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $6,500 in court costs. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, IRS, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update has described this scheme more than once. Garry Craighead, a rock star among … Read More ➡
On January 4, Maria Nunez, former office secretary for International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1484, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of falsifying financial records of the Wilmington (Los Angeles, harbor area)-based union. The plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
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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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 ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡