Michael Nelson's blog

CWA Accused of Inducing Fear About Disabled

In a June 2 letter, the Developmental Disabilities Council, a New Jersey watchdog group on state policy, accused the Communications Workers of America of threatening to expose the names of group home residents who have criminal records or a history of behavior problems in order to halt the closing of state institutions for the disabled. The group's director Ethan Ellis said, "This degrades the public images of people with developmental disabilities irreparably. It is going to take years to repair that damage." [Bergen Co. Record 06/03/98]

Clothing Union Corruption

According to Rep. Hoekstra's subcommittee, the bosses of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees are profiting from their members job losses due to a special industry proviso in federal labor law.
The May 27 report states UNITE receives "liquated damages" from companies for contract breaches which include relocating production overseas. UNITE treats the payments as its own since no explicit obligation exists to distribute the money to its members.

"So as contracts leave the country and UNITE's members lose their jobs, UNITE itself continues to receive 'a piece of the action'... Over the past few decades garment unions have lost more than half of their membership to overseas competition. Yet during that same time, UNITE and its predecessors became the richest of all unions, as measured on an assets per member basis. UNITE not only on owns the Amalgamated Bank of New York, but also owns much prime real estate in New York City. Despite its wealth, UNITE's fully vested pensions, we are told, are worth an average of only $85 per month," said the report.

Coia Warned Against Retaliating Against Witnesses

Rep. Harris W. Fawell (R-IL), chairman of a House subcommittee examining union abuses against members, sent letter to Laborers Int'l. Union of North America president Arthur A. Coia, warning him against acts of retaliation against individuals testifying before the committee.

Coia as long-been suspected of being under the influence of organized crime. In 1997, LIUNA's in-house prosecutor filed charges against Coia for knowingly associating with organized crime and permitting organized crime to influence LIUNA affairs.

N.Y. Teamsters Indicted

6 Teamsters were arrested in connection with a 14-man crime-ring that was stealing and reselling electronic equipment, clothing and jewelry in N.Y. Each faces up to 10 years in prison. Many of the stolen items were sold to an undercover FBI agent in 67 transactions according to U.S. District Court records. The 6 were UPS drivers. UPS notified the FBI that it had suspected criminal activity. [A.P. 06/11/98]

Teamsters Scandal Briefs

Business Week [06/15/98] reported that top DNC/Clinton-Gore fundraiser Terrence McAuliffe's conversations with 2 Democratic party staffers about a possible swap scheme with the Teamsters during the 1996 election are now "the focus of a federal grand jury in Manhattan that is investigating whether Democratic fundraisers conspired to find donors for Carey's campaign in hopes of getting back hefty union contributions."

Business Week also said sources "close to the investigation said the U.S. Attorney is interested in whether [an AFL-CIO] credit-card deal played a role in the swap schemes." McAuliffe and Carey campaign consultant Martin Davis, who plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements to the court-appointed Teamsters election officer, were both under contract to "lobby the AFL-CIO Executive Council to switch its union credit card program" to Household International bank.

Rerun Election Set for October

Due to the campaign money-laundering scandal which funneled at least $538,100 into the disgraced Carey reelection campaign, Teamsters will vote this fall for a new president. On Jun. 3, U.S. District Judge David Edelstein set Oct. 14 as the date for the mail-in ballots to be tallied. The Court has already disqualified Carey from the rerun. Likely candidates for president are James P. Hoffa, Carey's 1996 opponent, and Tom Leedham who has the support of the influential liberal-activist group, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, as well as many other Carey supporters.

Food Service Employees Ruin USC Graduation

L.A. Police arrested 37 members of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union, many disguised in caps and gowns, for unruly demonstrations during the University of Southern California's commencement. The demonstration was part of an on-going strike against USC. USC spokesman James Elmendorf said, "it's extremely tragic that this group would destroy, or attempt to destroy, one of the most significant days in the lives of the students and their families." [City News Service 05/08/98]


Herman's Independent Council Named
Announced May 26, Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman will be investigated by Independent Counsel Ralph I. Lancaster, Jr. for an alleged swap scheme that traded campaign contributions to the DNC for favors to a business in which she had a financial interest during her time on the White House staff. Herman is the 7th top Clinton administration official to be investigated by an independent counsel over suspected criminal activity. [Washington Times 05/27/98]

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