Michael Nelson's blog

Cherkasky's Other Job Going Well

Cherkasky doesn't only work for the government monitoring the Teamsters. He has remained the President & Chief Operating Officer of Kroll Associates which is part of the Kroll-O'Gara Company (NASDAQ: KROG), a worldwide private investigator & security firm based in N.Y. On Jun. 18, Cherkasky spent the day in Toronto closing a $16 million deal on Kroll's latest acquisition of a Canadian forensic accounting firm. "It's hard to beat them so we had to buy them... We can expand very rapidly across the world," Cherkasky boasted to the Toronto media. The merger builds Kroll's presence to 40 cities in 16 counties. Apparently, Cherkasky doesn't have his hands full because he said he is looking to further expand his Moscow office's work against burgeoning crime syndicates in Russia. [Toronto Star 06/18/98]
 
UP SHOT: How does Cherkasky have time to run his multi-million dollar business and still ensure the upcoming Teamsters election is not marred by corruption again?

The GM Strikes: An Eye-Opening Perspective

From Investor's Business Daily's editorial [06/22/98]: "It takes a lot of effort to put on a strike. Bodies are needed for the picket lines from dawn 'til after dusk. Somebody has to work the telephones. And the media message must be honed. That's almost as much coordinated work as it takes to build cars. So we want to know: Why don't members of the United Auto Workers direct their energy to making a superior product, instead of striking General Motors. There are many reasons, but one big one is that the union bosses wouldn't like it. Workers would learn that they don't need the union. They could earn high wages by simply turning out a car that buyers prefer...

The Flint stamping facility is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to productivity. It has about half the output per hour worked of similar GM facilities. And the plant has a history of militant union activism that the carmaker estimates cost it $50 million a year...

Violence Ravages Puerto Rico

Protesters planted bombs, smashed bank machines and severed and burned phone cables on Jun. 25, reacting with fury to the privatization of Puerto Rico's phone company. One bomb exploded in a policeman's hands. The bomb, concealed in a flashlight, was planted at a branch of Banco Popular, part of a consortium buying the Puerto Rico Telephone Co. It tore a finger off the officer's right hand and wounded his left hand and leg.

Connecticut Union Bosses Settle Case

State AFL-CIO President John Olsen and 13 other fund trustees agreed on Jun. 10 to pay more than $2 million in restitution and another $416,000 in civil penalties. The Labor Department sued Olsen and other trustees of the CT Plumbers & Pipefitters pension fund over investments the department said were risky and led to losses of $2-3 million.

Olsen will be able to continue serving as a financial guardian of union pension funds under the terms of a settlement. The money will be paid by an insurance policy, not the trustees themselves.
 
In the original lawsuit, the department had asked that Olsen and the other trustees be permanently barred from serving as financial guardians to employee benefit plans. The settlement includes no such prohibition, although it does require the trustees to carefully evaluate potential risks. [Hartford Courant 06/11/98]

Teamsters Congressional Hearings Continue

  • On Jun. 11, the court-appointed Teamsters Independent Review Board said it would "consider" investigating acting Teamsters President Tom Sever for refusing to conduct an internal probe of possible wrongdoing by top officials during Ron Carey's administration who are still working at Teamsters HQ. IRB was responding to Rep. Hoekstra's request for a probe into Sever. "If Mr. Sever is willfully ignoring the corruption and misuse of [Teamsters] assets and personnel, he should be held accountable," said Hoekstra. [Detroit News 06/12/98]
  • On Jun. 15, Hoekstra subpoenaed Sever in an effort to obtain documents critical to the probe. He said the subpoena of makes Sever "personally accountable" to Congress for the release of documents that have been sought by the subcommittee since Feb. In May, Sever declined to tell the subcommittee why the union paid $250,000 to White House Counsel Charles F.C. Ruff when Ruff was a Teamsters attorney. He also refused to say why Ruff relayed $152,883 of that money to private investigator Jack Palladino, best known for containing President Clinton's "bimbo eruptions" in the 1992 campaign. [Wash. Times 06/16/98]
  • On Jun.

LIUNA Radicals Loose in California

Despite a LIUNA nurse and hospital technicians strike that threaten patient health and radical leaflet propaganda, the Tenet Corporation which owns San Francisco's Redding Medical Center was able to keep the center an "open shop." LIUNA went on strike Jun. 4, but a federal mediator got them back to the table the next day. On Jun. 23, the union relented and although the hospital made concessions, it remains an open shop which means union membership will not be a condition of employment. [BNA Daily Labor Report 06/25/98 & Providence Journal-Bulletin 06/05/98]

CWA Tries to Stop WorldCom-MCI Merger

On Jun. 19, Communications Workers of America opened new battle to block merger of WorldCom & MCI, saying in detailed analysis that deal would deprive the companies of access to capital and cut, rather than expand, local competition. CWA filed a statement with the FCC complaining the merger is anti-competitive, and in its latest disclosure its "union economist" claims the merger fails tests set by FCC. CWA's action came the same day that European antitrust authorities moved close to approving the transaction. Analysts strongly believe, despite the best attempts of union radicals, the merger will go through. [Communications Daily 06/22/98]

Militancy Pays in Madison

Billboards urging customers to shun Walgreens drug stores are up around Madison, WI, as part of a continuing battle between local union electrical workers and the pharmacy firm. The battle began when Walgreens hired a non-union electrical contractor as part of an expansion of a distribution center. But although the job is nearly complete, bitterness remains and could spill over into other states. The union is upset because a portion of the $50 million project went to a non-union contractor. The move so angered International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159 that it set up a picket line for 132 days calling it off only after Walgreens hired a union electrical contractor to do inside wiring as part of the renovation. [Madison Capital Times 06/09/98]

Union Disrupts Delaware River Bridge Board Meeting

The Delaware River Port Authority ejected union members from its meeting Jun.17 following a rowdy protest on behalf of 12 workers terminated for blocking traffic during a demonstration in May. Unionists turned out to support the toll collectors, and maintenance and construction workers fired last week by the Port Authority. The workers were fired for shutting down the Benjamin Franklin Bridge during a protest May 16. The agency said they created an unsafe condition on the span.
 
Shortly after the meeting began, Bill Kane, president of the NJ State Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO, sought permission to address the commissioners. Union members, who lined the perimeter of the room, stood and began

From Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorial [06/23/98]: "Unreasonable concessions lead to more demands":

"It is good that a prolonged bus strike has been averted in Worcester. But the question is: at what price?
[The] one-day strike, staged by the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, was described as an "illegal" job action by Robert E. Ojala, administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. That may have been an understatement. The specter of labor action by this union has been lingering for some time. It threatened to picket the Worcester Centrum Centre during the Democratic State Convention, but a last-minute compromise negotiated by the city manager and the mayor saved the city from embarrassment.
 

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