On March 3, Jeffrey Jones, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one year of probation for embezzling $7,649 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va. union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. Jones had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
For a first-hand lesson in the timidity of corporate America, look no further than Intel Corp. This January, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker announced it would set aside $300 million by 2020 for hiring, training and promoting “underrepresented” racial minorities and women. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich revealed the plan at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas only weeks after he and other top company officials had met privately with Jesse Jackson. The announcement was a triumph for Jackson’s Silicon Valley shakedown campaign. “It’s a huge first step,” he declared, urging other tech firms to follow suit. Given the acquiescence of eBay, Google and Facebook to Jackson at shareholder meetings last May, it is no surprise those companies are doing just that.
Nothing underscores the Obama adminstration's failure on race relations more than its reaction to the wounding by gunfire in the wee hours last Thursday of two St. Louis-area cops at a Ferguson demonstration. Police Saturday night arrested Jeffrey Williams, a 20-year-old black who admitted to firing the shots but claimed he was aiming at someone else. Civil rights activists, predictably, are condemning Williams and denouncing “racist” police. The Department of Justice, which helped create this situation, is responding similarly. The outcome could be a nationwide law enforcement disaster.
On February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.
Managing the finances of a teachers union can be lucrative, especially if it means extra, and illegal, income. Rae Dawn Grillo has discovered that thefts usually are found out. On February 18, Grillo, former treasurer of the Charleroi Area Educational Association, was arrested and charged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Washington County (Pittsburgh area) Court, with three felony counts related to her embezzlement of more than $65,000 in funds from the Charleroi-based union over a five-year period. And yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek an indictment following her agreement to plead guilty to local charges.
Given the roiling conflict in Wisconsin these past four years over the limits of public-sector unionism, it only was a matter of time before the scene would shift to the private sector. This Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed Right to Work legislation. The law, which took effect immediately, bars unions from forcing private-sector employers to fire workers who don’t pay dues. Two dozen other states have similar laws. Yet what really is getting under the skin of organized labor is the triumph of their nemesis, Gov. Walker. More than ever, he looks like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Union leaders are preparing accordingly. And they’re getting help from President Obama.
David Hart was an accomplice, not a mastermind. But that didn't make his acts any less illegal. On February 24, Hart, formerly financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to concealing acts of extortion by his boss. He had been charged eleven days earlier in an information count following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration. The union represents more than 18,000 operators of cranes and other heavy construction equipment across Michigan.
On February 18, Dennis Fuston, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 545, was charged in the Buchanan County, Missouri Judicial Court with theft of funds from the St. Joseph-based union in an amount of more than $500 but less than $25,000. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Expanding union monopoly privileges and the welfare state is a full-time job, especially when it comes to electing political candidates committed to advancing these causes. The AFL-CIO, never late to rise, is getting an early jump for 2016. For the last few months, federation President Richard Trumka has touted freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a Left-populist, as presidential material. The federation has yet to issue a formal endorsement. And the senator has denied plans to run. Yet she could be persuaded to change her plans. The push for Warren is part of a larger effort to identify “pro-worker” candidates who support dramatic hikes in the minimum wage. “That’s the stick we’ll use to measure every candidate,” Trumka said at an AFL-CIO executive board meeting in Atlanta in late February.
Eric Holder is on his way out as U.S. attorney general, but he wants to leave a reminder of his legacy. Unfortunately, it is a legacy of racial polarization heavily driven by his ally, Al Sharpton. The Department of Justice (DOJ) today released a report concluding that police in Ferguson, Mo., the St. Louis suburb where a fatal shooting last August by a white officer, Darren Wilson, of a violent black youth triggered repeated rioting, has exhibited patterns of bias. Released in summary form earlier this week, the study accuses Ferguson police of systematic targeting of blacks. Yet the accusation is flimsy, a vindictive response to a state grand jury’s sensible refusal last November to indict Wilson for murder. Its motive is even more obvious in light of DOJ's decision today to clear Wilson of civil rights violations.