On 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.
When 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.
On 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.
On 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.
On 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.
Ridesharing, 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.
On December 2, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of stealing $9,650 in funds from the Menominee (Upper Peninsula) union. Casperson had been indicted in June for embezzlement and records fraud. The indictment and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On December 2, Estella Collier, former office secretary and bookkeeper for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 200, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one year of probation for embezzling $12,933 in funds from the Columbus-based union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and attend meetings of Gamblers Anonymous. Collier had been charged in an information count in July, after which she pleaded guilty in August. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
The politics of racial grievance took center stage in 2015. Leading the way was an ad hoc nationwide group known as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Menacing, confrontational and adept in social media, its activists are recruiting blacks, the younger the better, as foot soldiers for disruptive protests rivaling those organized by the master of the trade, Al Sharpton. Like Sharpton, the group claims to seek justice for blacks who have lost their lives at the hands of “racist” white police and vigilantes. And like Sharpton, their style involves character assassination, cause-and-effect distortion, and threats. In recent weeks, BLM activists – there are now nearly 30 chapters – have blocked urban thoroughfares, stormed college campus offices, and disrupted presidential candidate speeches. Woe unto those who fail to meet their demands.
On December 1, John Allen, former treasurer of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1982, was charged in the Lucas County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas with one count of theft in the sum of $1,940 from the Toledo union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.