State governments are becoming effective union organizers. Several employees in Illinois, unhappy over the prospect of being forced to subsidize such an arrangement, are pushing back. And they've got themselves an audience at the highest level. On October 1, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by a group of home care providers objecting to an executive order issued in 2009 by Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn that reclassified their status as "state employee," so as to bring them under union representation. The class-action case, known as Harris v. Quinn, will test the High Court's willingness to build on its Knox v. SEIU ruling of last year, which held that a California Service Employees union could not force covered nonunion employees to pay fees to support its political activism.
On October 1, Ronald Martin, former bookkeeper for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 9, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado with embezzling funds of an unspecified amount from the Denver union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 30, Roberto Macias Jr., former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2759, was sentenced in the 4th Judicial District Court, County of Rusk, Texas, to three years of probation for theft from the El Paso-based union. He also was ordered to pay $2,775 in restitution. Macias had been charged with felony theft in the amount of $2,800 last November following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor Department Standards.
North Carolina Democratic Congressman Melvin Watt has a dream job: running a federal agency that controls around $5 trillion in financial assets. For now, he'll have to keep dreaming about it. On October 31, the Senate, by a 57-41 margin, fell three votes shy of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture (i.e., end debate) over President Obama's nomination of Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which for over five years has been conservator for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans, with two exceptions, voted to filibuster, believing he wasn't qualified to run the agency. Yet the main problem with Watt is less his qualifications than his view that FHFA should be a permanent agency, and one with favoritism toward nonwhites.
On September 25, Linda Weed, former office secretary for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 534, accepted a finding a sufficient facts, and a continuance without a finding, in Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Suffolk County Court, of one count of larceny of property in an amount of over $250. She then was sentenced to one month of probation and was ordered to make $7,294 in restitution. The union is based in Dorchester, Mass. The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor management Standards.
On September 24, Carl Green, former treasurer of Security, Police and Fire Professionals (SPFPA) of America Local 126, was charged in the State of Texas, 118th District Court, Howard County, with unlawfully appropriating property from the Big Spring, Tex.-based union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Organized labor doesn't waste too many opportunities when it comes to promoting illegal immigration. For over a dozen years, in fact, the AFL-CIO has made it official policy to support the granting of amnesty to persons living illegally here. But with the House of Representatives unlikely to follow the Senate's lead in passing immigration amnesty/surge legislation, unions are drawing ever closer to "day laborer" radical nonprofit groups in hopes of persuading legislators to come around. The best-known of these is the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, or NDLON.
On September 18, Johnny Torres Jr., former secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union Local 259, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to three years of probation for embezzling funds from the Waco union. He also was ordered to pay $9,947 in restitution, plus a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Torres had pleaded guilty in July after being indicted in May. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 19, William Mochrie, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 28, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to two years of probation for making false entries in union financial records to cover up embezzlement of funds from the Castleton-on-Hudson, N.Y. (near Albany) union. He also was ordered to pay the remaining restitution of $14,569 plus a $25 assessment. Mochrie had been charged on May 8 and pleaded guilty two weeks later. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 16, Bonnie Heraty, former treasurer of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Greater Chicago Area Port Council, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to two years of probation, including six months of home detention, and ordered to pay $12,974 in restitution and a $25 special assessment for making a false entry in the financial records of the Joliet, Ill.-based labor organization. Heraty had pled guilty in May. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.