BLET Secretary in Chicago Charged with Records Fraud; Pleads Guilty

blet-logoOn November 3, Kimberly Hesla, former secretary-treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 474, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to falsifying financial records of the Chicago union. She had been charged a week earlier on October 27. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Maintenance of Way Secretary in Kansas City, Mo. Pleads Guilty

maintenance of way employees _bmwe_ logoBrotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Lodge 800 is almost depleted of its funds.  And that has a lot to do with the employee who not too long ago handled them. On October 29, Jeremy Bolte, formerly lodge secretary-treasurer, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri with embezzling more than $12,000 from the Kansas City, Mo. union. He then pleaded guilty to 10 counts of embezzlement. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. The union represents Kansas City-area employees of BNSF Railway.

Federal prosecutors had alleged that Bolte, who served in his union position during March 2011-April 2013, had sole control of union finances. Over much of this time, he wrote 18 unauthorized checks and made seven unauthorized credit card charges for the purpose of paying personal expenses. As a result of these actions, Lodge 800 lost $12,009, … Read More ➡

New Jersey ILA Building Contractor Sentenced for Fraud

Longshoremen at workRaymond Norville was a home renovation contractor. Somehow he took that to mean a right to take client money without necessarily doing renovations. On November 18, Norville, owner of an Essex County, N.J.-based construction firm, RRL Unique Homes Inc., was sentenced in Trenton federal court to 14 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release and full payment of restitution, for defrauding a customer in New York City of nearly $100,000 in connection with a residential remodeling project. As part of a plea agreement in June, prosecutors dismissed charges that Norville defrauded the Newark-based International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1233 of at least $100,000. Norville was lucky. Evidence strongly suggests his union thefts totaled around $370,000.

Union Corruption Update first reported on this story nearly three years ago. Back in February 2012, Norville, now 45, a resident of Orange, N.J., was arrested and charged with embezzling at least $100,000 … Read More ➡

AFGE Local President in Tennessee Charged with Fraud

On October 15, Shiryll Durham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1687, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee with two counts of mail fraud totaling $2,651 against the Mountain Home (a section of Johnson City), Tenn. union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Denver-Area AFGE Local Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

afge logo_0On October 14, Aide Spade, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 709, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to one count of entering false statements in financial records of the Littleton union to conceal her thefts. The union represents employees of the Colorado state prison system. Spade had been indicted on four separate counts in June following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Ramp Up Oil Industry Bargaining; Prepare for a Strike

oil workersWith gasoline prices falling by at least 40 percent since June, consumers are feeling fairly chipper lately. For a different reason, so is the United Steelworkers. The Pittsburgh-based union, with 860,000 active members, is preparing for oil industry contract talks next month in light. And one of the topics sure to come up is the rise of cost-saving drilling technologies and the desire by the USW to share in some of the profit. Members earlier this month voted on whether to ratify proposals developed at the USW National Oil Bargaining conference in late October, though no word has been available as to the outcome. Vice President Tom Conway notes: “The oil industry continues to earn billions of dollars in profits and can well afford these proposals.” The current contract expires January 31. In an apparently ominous note, the union has created a supplemental strike fund.

The United Steelworkers, despite … Read More ➡

Kansas City, Mo. AFSCME President Pleads Guilty to Fraud

afscme-logoOn October 7, Jesse Morgan, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1707, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to one count of wire fraud against the Kansas City, Mo. union. He had been indicted in February on 29 counts of fraud in connection with his embezzlement of at least $185,000 in union funds during his four years at the helm. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Bakery Workers Office Assistant in Denver Sentenced for Embezzlement

bakery-tobacco-workers-logoOn October 9, Mary Grace Gossett, former office assistant for Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Local 24, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to five years of probation, and ordered to pay $41,622 in restitution and a $300 assessment, for embezzling funds from the Denver-based union. She had pleaded guilty in July after being charged in May. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

NLRB Ruling Gives Unions Advantage in E-Mail Organizing

The National Labor Relations Board has changed in size and composition several times during the Obama administration, but one thing has remained constant: its pro-union majority. Labor officials lately are feeling pretty glad about that. On December 11, the NLRB ruled 3-2 that employees with access to an employer e-mail system can use that system for union organizing during “nonworking time.” The ruling, Purple Communications Inc., overturns a 2007 NLRB decision, Register Guard, which held that a company has the discretion to ban non-business-related e-mail interactions among workers, including union-related ones. The board insists the impact of its newest ruling is “limited.” Yet unions, especially the Communications Workers of America, see a clear victory along with an expansion of organizing opportunities. And they’re probably right.

Union Corruption Update discussed this case at length several months ago. Back on April 30, the NLRB had posted a notice soliciting amicus … Read More ➡

United Transportation Union Political Director in Nebraska Declines Plea Deal

utu-logoRay Lineweber has decided to take his chances. On December 2, Lineweber, formerly political director of the United Transportation Union, Nebraska Legislative Board 30, told a federal judge in Lincoln that he would not take a deal offered by prosecutors. His statement was in response to his indictment last November for embezzling $102,907 in funds from the Omaha-based labor organization and then concealing the thefts through false-record keeping. This sets the stage for a trial in February. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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