On September 2, David Barr, former treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Local 99, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to two years of probation for embezzling $5,688 in funds from the Beaver County, Pa.-based union. He also was ordered to pay outstanding restitution of $3,745 and a $100 special assessment. He had pleaded guilty in April after being charged in August 2013. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Northern New Jersey's International Longshoremen's Association Local 1235 has remained a profit center for the Genovese crime family despite the reform process set in motion by various prosecutions and an ILA takeover. That reality was brought home on October 15 when Robert Ruiz, an ex-local delegate to the parent union, was sentenced in Newark federal court to 20 months in prison, plus two years of supervised release, for his role in a racket to extort payments from members during Christmas season. He had pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy. Ruiz is among more than a dozen defendants in the case.
On September 8, Cedric Hughes, former treasurer of the United Union of Professionals, also known as Service Employees International Union Local 721, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of embezzlement of funds from the Los Angeles union in the amount of $15,193. The union represents local health care workers. Hughes had been indicted last December on five counts of wire fraud and one count of embezzlement following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 12, James Jones, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 898, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to six months in prison and three months of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the San Angelo-based union in the amount of $11,164. Jones, indicted in January, had pleaded guilty in April. He already has paid full restitution. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On September 12, Robert Mays, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 561, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $24,833. He had been charged in July. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 15, Arthur Homa, former president of Steelworkers Local 2-47, was charged in Brown County, Wisconsin Circuit Court with one count of felony theft in an amount between $2,500 and $5,000 from the Green Bay union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 27, Robert Lewis, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3585, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to four months in prison and one year of supervised release, with the first eight months in home confinement, for embezzling $77,469 in funds from the Canton (near Peoria), Ill.-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment. Lewis had pleaded guilty in April. AFSCME Local 3585 represents employees at the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton. The actions follow the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On August 19, Richard Molczyk, former treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 493, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska for embezzlement of $13,196 in funds from the Omaha union. The indictment, which was unsealed on September 4, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Under federal law, workers have as much right to leave a union as they do to form one. Yet that principal may not necessarily apply in California. For at least the past year a de facto alliance between the United Farm Workers (UFW) and a state agency, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, has been making it very difficult for employees of a major grower, the Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, to decertify the UFW as their bargaining agent. And the workers are signaling their frustration. On August 26, hundreds of Gerawan workers marched on the board's Visalia regional office to demand a count of a decertification vote held last November. The board's justification for its inaction is that Gerawan broke the law in various ways. Yet there has been no investigation of the UFW-driven allegations.
For Al Sharpton, October 1 through 3 was a 60th birthday celebration to savor. But the most memorable part of that three-day occasion may have been something definitely not on the itinerary. Last Wednesday night, following a corporate-sponsored fundraising banquet for Sharpton's nonprofit National Action Network (NAN) at Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant, a close associate, attorney Sanford Rubenstein, allegedly raped an unnamed 42-year-old black woman who is a ranking NAN official. The two had gone to Rubenstein's nearby penthouse with another woman following the dinner.