Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

As in 2014, union leaders last year directed much of their energies toward maximizing political and legal advantage.  And they scored tangible victories.  President Barack Obama, now in his last year in office, is without question the best White House friend of organized labor in decades.  Among other things, unions won major cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with its built-in 3-2 Democratic Party majority.  And the Teamsters achieved its long-sought goal of release from federal control established following a 1989 civil racketeering settlement.  Yet organized labor also experienced its share of setbacks, especially in the courts.  And they received lots of unwanted exposure for embezzlement and fraud.  As far as rank and file members are concerned, the most pressing problem is the growing possibility that their pension plans will be depleted.

The NLRB delivered two indisputably enormous victories for labor.  As discussed at length last January, the … Read More ➡

NYC Steelworkers Ex-Boss Sentenced for Hiding Thefts

Considering the nature of his offenses, Juan “Alex” Cedeno should consider himself fortunate. On December 10, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service for concealing his thefts from the Queens, N.Y. union, which since has moved to Edison, N.J. He also was ordered to pay $33,583 in restitution and a $25 special assessment. Cedeno had pled guilty last March after being arrested and charged in May 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Prosecutors had alleged that Cedeno, a resident of Queens, during April 2009-October 2011 used his union credit card for various unauthorized purposes, including clothing purchases and hotel-casino visits. The thefts added up to $58,303. To conceal this activity, he … Read More ➡

Security Officers Local President in Pennsylvania Sentenced

UGSOA logoHoward Royal stole from his state employees union.  Now he owes some time to his state.  On December 14, Royal, former president of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 304, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to six months of house arrest followed by six months of supervised probation for wire fraud in connection with thefts of $66,982.02 from the Harrisburg union.  He had pleaded guilty last July.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court documents, Royal, 50, a resident of Steelton, Pa., on more than a hundred occasions during December 15, 2009-November 16, 2010 made unauthorized electronic transfers and withdrawals from a union account for his own personal use.  His guilty plea came nine days after he was charged in an information count.  USGOA Local 304 represents security employees at Pennsylvania state … Read More ➡

Northern Indiana Steelworkers President Indicted for Theft

steelworkers-logoOn December 9, Donn Pendergrass, president of United Steelworkers Local 1191, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on one count of embezzling $33,435 in funds from the Mishawaka, Ind.-based union, which represented workers at the now-closed Allegheny Technologies metal casting plant in LaPorte. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Local President in West Virginia Pleads Guilty

steelworkers-logoOn December 11, James Coffey, former president of United Steelworkers Local 5-887, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $6,260 from the Newell, W.Va.-based union.  Coffey, a resident of Bergholz, Ohio, had been indicted last October for stealing $7,098 in union funds.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Senator Blunt, Election Rival Kowtow to Black Lives Matter

roy bluntWhen it comes to standing up to racial shakedowns, political leadership is in short supply in Missouri, as it is in other states. On January 9, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (in photo), facing re-election, squared off against his Democratic opponent, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. The event, sponsored by the state’s Martin Luther King Celebration Commission, revealed a disturbing acquiescence by the candidates to the radical Black Lives Matter. A co-emcee kicked things off by declaring: “Black lives matter. Period.” Once at the podium, Sen. Blunt, rather than offer a rebuke, responded: “Black lives matter – we do need to say that.” Kander proved even worse. And they aren’t the only politicians in the state to roll over.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a national movement that matters – in all the wrong ways. Two weeks ago National Legal and Policy Center Read More ➡

Teamsters President in Florida Indicted for Theft, Records Fraud

Teamsters logoOn December 8, Robert Tuttle, former president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 173, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on four counts of embezzlement totaling $4,857 from the Bradenton-based union and one count of false record-keeping. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Letter Carriers President in Texas Charged with Credit Card Fraud

letter carriers logoOn December 3, Stanley Buchanan, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 493, was charged in Smith County (Tex.) Court with unauthorized use of a credit card issued by the Tyler-based union in the amount of $7,776.  The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Upstate New York Elevator Constructors Business Agent Charged

Elevator Constructors logoOn December 1, Patrick Rommevaux, former business representative for International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 62, was charged in Onondaga County Court, N.Y. with one count of grand larceny in the amount of $16,545 from the Syracuse union.  He then pleaded guilty.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

City of Seattle Paves Way for Rideshare Driver Organizing

uberRidesharing, 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 ➡

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