Like clockwork, Al Sharpton, race-hustler extraordinaire, is positioning himself as an “adviser” to the family of Walter Scott, the black man fatally shot from behind on April 4 by a white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., after Scott resisted arrest. The shooting was captured on cell phone video by a nearby pedestrian. On Sunday, Rev. Sharpton spoke at a local church, praising officials for firing and prosecuting the cop, Michael Slager, for first-degree murder. He stated: “This is not about black and white. It’s about right and wrong.” He added: "I didn't come to start trouble. I come to help stop trouble." Given his history of demagoguery, North Charleston officials should ignore him. For this case, like all his others, is about black and white. And Sharpton is trouble.
On March 2, Kimberly Hesla, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 474, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Illinois to one year of probation, and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 and a special assessment of $25, for falsifying financial records of the Chicago-based union. She had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 3, Nathan McCallister, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 101, a Teamsters affiliate, was charged in the Summers County Court of West Virginia with one count of embezzlement in an amount of more than $1,000. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Sheron Gibson won the trust of his union – too much, in fact. On March 5, Gibson, a former firefighter for the City of Suffolk, Va. fire department, pleaded guilty in a state court to one count each of embezzlement and forgery in connection with his theft of about $109,000 from International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2801, where he was secretary-treasurer for a half-decade. He had been indicted last June on 12 counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery following a police investigation. Gibson has made full restitution.
On March 25, Choi Hawks, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to six months of home detention and five years of supervised probation for embezzling $10,744 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va.-based union. He also was ordered to attend counseling sessions. Hawks, who pleaded guilty last December after being charged in November, has paid full restitution in the sum of $11,196. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 18, Elmer Ray Booker, former financial secretary for International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1530, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with embezzling over $42,000 in funds from the Houston union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Unions, even those representing government employees, are private organizations. Yet a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reveals that taxpayers in one state effectively are being forced to cover some of the costs of public-sector union official business. The study, authored by CEI labor policy analyst Trey Kovacs and titled, “A Remedy for Taxpayer Giveaway to Unions” (March 25, 2015), in the face of considerable resistance, dug up clear evidence that state and local government agencies in Missouri are subsidizing public-sector unions during working hours without loss of member pay. These “release time” clauses, built into collective bargaining agreements, are at odds with the public interest, deceptively costly, and almost certainly illegal.
On March 25, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary for Ironworkers Local 58, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to five years of probation, and was ordered to pay $3,600 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the New Orleans-based union. She previously had paid $14,039 in restitution. Hobgood had pleaded guilty last March after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 19, Thomas Wolfer, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84729, pleaded guilty in the State of Ohio, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, to one count of theft in an unspecified amount from the Fayetteville, Ohio union. The plea follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
On March 11, Jennifer Gent, former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to three years of probation, the first ten months of which must be served in home detention, for embezzling $30,297 in funds from the Pittsburgh union’s Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Gent pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.