In the name of fairness, the Obama administration this May issued a final rule dramatically raising the maximum base pay under which salaried employees can qualify for overtime status. Unfortunately, this move could give fairness a bad name. Last Tuesday, September 20, officials in 21 states filed suit in Plano, Texas federal court to enjoin the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing the rule, which is set to take effect December 1. The suit, led by Attorneys General Ken Paxton (Texas) and Adam Laxalt (Nevada), is challenging the rule on grounds that it usurps congressional authority and invites job losses. “Once again, President Obama is trying to unilaterally rewrite the law,” said Paxton in a prepared statement. “And this time, it may lead to disastrous consequences for our economy.”
On August 11, Johnny Wilson, former financial secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1338, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to 18 months of confinement and two years of supervised release for embezzling $120,352 in funds from the Dallas-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Wilson had pleaded guilty in March immediately after being charged. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 25, Brian Cisek, former sergeant-at-arms for National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 56, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzling approximately $500 in funds from Grand Rapids union. He had been charged on August 10. Sentencing is scheduled for December 12. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Benefit plans have become a preferred road to riches for many corrupt union leaders. Sometimes that road ends with a conviction. Last month, two New York City union leaders – Louis Smith and Johnnie Miranti – pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for their roles in a decade-long scheme to skim two union health plans out of hundreds of thousands and likely over a million dollars. Smith, ex-president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810, pleaded guilty on August 5 to soliciting and receiving kickbacks totaling $151,481. Three days later, Miranti, an officer with Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, pleaded guilty to receiving $138,500. The pair, along with Miranti’s father, Rocco Miranti, had been indicted in July 2015 following a joint probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department and the NYPD.
On July 25, Roy Murray, former president of Transport Workers Union Local 2014, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of making a false statement in the records of the Chicago-based union. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On September 1, Roger Martinez, former vice president of Transport Workers Union Local 296, pleaded no contest in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida to grand theft in the amount of $5,500 from the Ft. Lauderdale union. He then was sentenced to 18 months of probation. Martinez, who had been charged on July 26, has paid full restitution. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 29, Donn Pendergrass, former president of United Steelworkers Local 1191, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to two years of probation for embezzling funds from the Mishawaka, Ind.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $33,435 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Pendergrass had pleaded guilty in May after being charged last December. The union represented workers at the now-closed Allegheny Technologies metal casting plant in LaPorte. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Graduate student collective bargaining with public universities is no longer a novelty. The National Labor Relations Board is determined to make it common at private institutions as well. On August 23, the NLRB ruled 3-1 that grad school teaching assistants and researchers at private nonprofit universities, as primarily employees, can unionize. The ruling, which originated with several Columbia University students, overturns a 2004 board decision against a group of graduate students at Brown University. Organized labor is delighted. “It’s an incredible opportunity the NLRB is giving to students, really giving them the ability to have a voice on important issues like their stipends and health care,” said Heather Conroy, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union. Campus officials fear higher education is being corrupted. And they are right.
University teaching and research assistants, at first glance, are about the last people one would expect to form or … Read More ➡
On August 4, Guy Gokey, former financial secretary for Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Local 59, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio with embezzling $14,074 in funds from the Toledo-area union and making a false statement in financial records. Gokey, now 65, a resident of Walbridge, Ohio, had served in his position during 1986-2014. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The situation for Brian Scott keeps getting more troublesome. On August 23, Scott, former president and business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 503, was hit with a superseding indictment in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on one count each of embezzlement, mail fraud and false reporting against the Monroe (Orange County), N.Y.-based union. He had been arrested in February following an earlier indictment last October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, Scott, now 46 and a resident of Miami Beach, Fla., during July 2008-February 2012 allegedly made unauthorized charges with his two union credit cards totaling $48,534 and collected another $18,420 in unauthorized union checks he had written out to himself. Grand total: $66,954. He used the stolen money mainly to purchase meals, travel and entertainment, and to cover bail bond … Read More ➡