Ridesharing, that scourge of the taxi industry, is getting an upgrade, union-style. On December 14, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to authorize union organizing of independent drivers for Uber, Lyft and similar livery services. The ordinance, the result of pressure from a Teamster local and several rideshare drivers, would require such businesses to hand over lists of drivers to a union. Labor activists argue that drivers, though classified as contractors, are treated as employees and thus should be able to collectively bargain. Yet this view ignores the features of ridesharing that make it so attractive to customers and drivers alike. Uber and Lyft, meanwhile, say the measure violates federal labor and antitrust laws.
The rise of ridesharing as an alternative to taxicabs and other modes of urban transportation has been one of the remarkable trends of this young century. Ridesharing is based on the premise that booking a ride … Read More ➡
On December 2, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of stealing $9,650 in funds from the Menominee (Upper Peninsula) union. Casperson had been indicted in June for embezzlement and records fraud. The indictment and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On December 2, Estella Collier, former office secretary and bookkeeper for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 200, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one year of probation for embezzling $12,933 in funds from the Columbus-based union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and attend meetings of Gamblers Anonymous. Collier had been charged in an information count in July, after which she pleaded guilty in August. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
The politics of racial grievance took center stage in 2015. Leading the way was an ad hoc nationwide group known as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Menacing, confrontational and adept in social media, its activists are recruiting blacks, the younger the better, as foot soldiers for disruptive protests rivaling those organized by the master of the trade, Al Sharpton. Like Sharpton, the group claims to seek justice for blacks who have lost their lives at the hands of “racist” white police and vigilantes. And like Sharpton, their style involves character assassination, cause-and-effect distortion, and threats. In recent weeks, BLM activists – there are now nearly 30 chapters – have blocked urban thoroughfares, stormed college campus offices, and disrupted presidential candidate speeches. Woe unto those who fail to meet their demands.
The idea that black lives matter shouldn’t strike anyone as controversial. All lives matter. But that’s not the rock upon which … Read More ➡
On December 1, John Allen, former treasurer of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1982, was charged in the Lucas County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas with one count of theft in the sum of $1,940 from the Toledo union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 20, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union (SMART) Local 1892, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment for embezzling $40,118 in funds over a six-year period from the Houston-based union. He already had paid full restitution. Shuler had pleaded guilty in April following a one-count charge in February. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 20, Michael Low, former secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 2097, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to 18 days of incarceration, three years of probation and 104 hours of community service for making false statements in union financial records in connection with his embezzlement of $12,937 in funds from the Oklahoma City-based union. Low, who already had paid restitution, also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. He had pleaded guilty back on March 26 after being charged that day. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Tiffany Randle’s remorse probably kept her out of prison. On November 23, Randle, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 652, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one day of imprisonment (with credit for time served) and two years of probation for defrauding the Kalamazoo-based union. She also was ordered to pay $23,727 in restitution. Randle had pleaded guilty in August after being indicted in July. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Prosecutors alleged that Randle, 47, a resident of Kalamazoo, stole funds from a credit union account sponsored by AFSCME Local 652, which represents employees at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. She cashed union checks by forging the name of the local vice president and used the funds for her own benefit. At her sentencing hearing, … Read More ➡
On November 19, Daniel Correa, business agent for Laborers International Union of North American Local 16, was indicted in the Third Judicial District Court of Santa Ana County, N.M. on one count of embezzlement in an amount exceeding $20,000 from the Albuquerque-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On November 17, Joshua Lewis, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 212, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on one count of making false statements in financial records of the Gillespie, Ill. union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡