On October 14, Christopher Headlee, former treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to one count of falsifying records of the Colorado Springs-based union. The plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On October 13, Robin Pirrello, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1637, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on one count of embezzling $22,184 in funds from the Erie-based union. Prosecutors allege that Ms. Pirrello during October 2010-August 2011 wrote and cashed union checks to herself; obtained unauthorized salary advances after she had left office; obtained unauthorized per diem travel reimbursements; and made unauthorized payments to a business entity. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On October 8, Michelle Misso, former bookkeeper for Ironworkers Local 63, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of making false entries in the records of the Broadview (suburban Chicago), Ill.-based union to conceal her acts of embezzlement totaling $47,161. She had been charged in August. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On October 26, Heather Banhidy, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 120, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzlement $13,906 in funds from the Cleveland union. She had been indicted on August 12 following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Stalking is ugly behavior. By intent, it inflicts fear of violence upon another person or persons. And frequently it is a prelude to actual violence. Yet in a number of states, such behavior is protected under law if it can be justified as promoting one's interests in a labor dispute. Pennsylvania, to its credit, is no longer on that list. Last Thursday, November 5, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law repealing a loophole that had given unions the right to stalk, harass and even use a “weapon of mass destruction” as an organizing tool. The new law, in the works for more than two years, applies to employers and unions alike. Yet on a practical level, its main intent is to discourage union terror at nonunion worksites. Predictably, the Pennsylvania chapter of the AFL-CIO opposes the measure.
On October 8, Dawn Colley, former employee of United Steelworkers Local 8-719, was charged in a three-count indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky for embezzling $7,201 in funds from the Ashland, Ky. union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On October 7, David Deitrick, former financial secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 10-1338, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $8,993 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the Shamokin (Northumberland County), Pa.-based union. Deitrick had pleaded guilty in April following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 24, Thomas Flaherty, a former member of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 82 (taken over in 2011 by Teamsters Local 25), was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to two years of probation for fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development. He also was ordered to pay $21,011 in restitution and a $1,000 fine. He had pleaded guilty in June. Flaherty previously had been accused, along with three other Local 82 members, of running an intimidation racket against participants at Boston trade shows. He was acquitted in that case, but couldn’t walk in this one. The plea and sentencing follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department and the Boston Police Department.
On October 6, James Coffey Jr., former president of United Steelworkers Local 5-887, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on two counts of embezzling $7,098 in funds from the Newell, W.Va.-based union. Coffey, 54, a resident of Bergholz, Ohio, allegedly used a union debit card to pay for personal expenses and wrote unauthorized checks to himself from a union bank account. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 30, Alton Alexander, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 2-479, was charged in the 8th District Court of Kalamazoo County, Michigan, with one count of misdemeanor embezzlement of between $200 and $1,000 from the Plainwell, Mich.-based local. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.