On August 21, Dawn Carson, former office manager for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 247, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,509 for embezzling funds from the Portland union. She had been charged with stealing $6,900 in early March, and pleaded guilty later that month. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
For more than five years, Sheryl Daniels and Rhoshonda Herring stole from their union without detection. Now they're getting more than their share of unwanted attention. On August 2, the two women, respectively, former president and former treasurer of United Teachers of Suwannee County (UTSC), turned themselves in to the Sheriff's Office of Suwannee County, Florida for arrest in the face of evidence that they had embezzled UTSC funds in excess of $50,000. Last Monday, September 9, Herring and Daniels each pleaded not guilty to one count of grand theft. The union is a joint affiliate of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
Employees at International Brotherhood of Boilermakers headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas are lavishly compensated even by the standards of free-spending unions. Yet one of those employees, Angela Heninger, couldn't resist the compulsion to steal. On August 22, Heninger, sales and marketing director/office manager for a Boilermakers benefit fund called Mobilization, Optimization, Stabilization and Training Trust, or MOST, pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Kan. federal court to a superseding information count of embezzlement. She originally had been charged in April with one count of embezzlement, six counts of wire fraud, and five counts of bank fraud totaling about $50,000. Her true take was likely much higher.
On August 16, Melissa Gustafson, former bookkeeper for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 84110, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to embezzling $12,059 in union funds. She had been indicted in January for the thefts, which allegedly occurred during June 2008-June 2011. Local 84110 is based in Moline, Ill. and Davenport, Iowa. The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 14, Christopher Wheeler, former president of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local 43, was indicted on two counts of theft totaling $3,769 in Medina County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court. The charges follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Sandy Hawkes had a problem with her bills. She may have created a far bigger problem by stealing from her union to pay them. On July 5, Hawkes, secretary-treasurer for the Somers Classified Education Association, was charged in Flathead County, Montana District Court with embezzling about $9,000 in union funds. She already had resigned from her regular job as a secretary at Lakeside Elementary School a month earlier. The charge follows an investigation by the sheriff's office of fast-growing Flathead County, located in northwest Montana just south of the Canadian border. Hawkes pleaded not guilty on August 1. Given the evidence, one has to wonder why.
Those questioning the State of Michigan's decision in March 2012 to take control of 15 Detroit city schools should consider the people working for the union representing its teachers - people, at least, like Sherri Patrick. On August 7, Ms. Patrick, formerly business manager of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with defrauding the union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, over a four-year period. The charge follows, belatedly, a complaint filed by the union with the Detroit Police Department.
For some two decades, Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs, have enabled unions in various states to dictate hiring for large-scale, taxpayer-funded construction projects. In Michigan, at least, this labor monopoly has been thwarted. On September 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a Michigan law, Public Act 238, enacted last year to bar the use of government-mandated PLAs. The legislation was a response to a lower court ruling in favor of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, an AFL-CIO affiliate. The latest ruling marks a second major victory this year for the open shop; New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie in April vetoed a bill that would have mandated PLAs for coastal-area reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Derrick Alexander apparently thought his union was a personal bank account. Now he's finding out the difference the hard way. On September 11, Alexander, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1422-A, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina with embezzling nearly $55,000 from the Charleston union and concealing the thefts after the fact. A grand jury had concluded that Alexander made a "false statement and representation of material fact knowing it to be false." The four-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 12, Frank Juarez, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 6768, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to three years of probation, of which 180 days must be served in home detention, for embezzling funds from the Plano union. He also was ordered to pay $21,151 in restitution and a $100 assessment. Juarez had been charged in February. No information is available as to a guilty plea. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.