Pilot Union Forced to Return nearly $700K in Illegal Dues

In response to legal action brought by attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) union is returning $672,000.00 in dues and interest to 330 non-union airline employees.

The settlement brings to close a long-running case that reached the United States Supreme Court.  In addition to returning the dues money, the ALPA officials are required to change the accounting procedures they use to determine how much non-union employees pay in agency fees. These changes may reduce the difficulties faced by airline employees in reclaiming forced dues used to pay for union politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

Although many of the airline workers represented by Foundation attorneys live in states with Right to Work laws, they are not protected from compulsory unionism. The airline industry is regulated by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which imposes compulsory unionism despite state Right to …

Passengers Seek Damages from Tattered Union

U.S. Dist. Judge Patti B. Saris (D. Mass., Clinton) ruled Sept. 28 that  Am. Airlines passengers whose flights were canceled as the result of a union “sickout” in Feb. 1999 can proceed with claims against the Allied Pilots Ass’n. Saris denied APA’s motion for summary judgment. The court, however, granted summary judgment to the APA’s president finding he was immune from personal liability in connection with the sickout.

APA Pilots represented engaged in a sickout between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9, 1999, that resulted in cancellation of more than 1,600 flights. Am. Airlines obtained a temporary restraining order on Feb. 10. However, the day after the TRO was issued, the number of flight cancellations increased. U.S. Dist. Judge E. Joseph Kendall (N.D. Tex., H.W. Bush) on Feb. 12 found APA, its president, Richard Lavoy, and another union boss in contempt for violating the TRO. Kendall levied a $45.5 million fine …

New York Local Puts $2.6 Million in Escrow for Discrimination Suit

Sheet Metal Workers Int’l Ass’n Local 28 in N.Y.C. must set aside $2.6 million to compensate minority workers subjected to discriminatory practices since 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Apr. 16. The court found no abuse of discretion by the district court and affirmed the escrow order.

Under the terms of the district court decision, Local 28 must place $1 million in an escrow fund immediately and an additional $1.6 million in the fund within six months. In addition, Local 28 must place $900,000 per year in the escrow fund, starting Dec. 31, 2001, for a period to be determined by the court following individual back-pay hearings. Although the total amount of the back-pay award has not been determined, “It is likely that this amount will be in excess of what the union is able to pay at present and could even exceed $12 million,” …

Supreme Court Upholds $45.5 Million Fine Against Union

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Feb. 25 to overturn one of the largest fines against a labor union, a $45.5 million penalty against the Allied Pilots Ass’n at American Airlines for civil contempt for failing to quickly end a 1999 sickout that forced the airline to cancel thousands of flights.The APA has already put $20 million in escrow against the possibility it would have to pay the fine. But the union estimates the total fine would exceed its assets by approximately $10 million.

APA made it clear that if the company tried to collect the fine the union would consider it a very unfriendly act. “The next step is going to be a management decision,” said APA spokesman James Philpot. Philpot noted that American was “in the middle of lots of important discussions” with the pilots on a number of issues, including the proposed acquisition of Trans World Airlines Inc. …

Court May Allow Delta to Terminate Unionists

The Jan. 18 decision by an U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit could force the Air Line Pilots Ass’n to end a no-overtime campaign by Delta Air Lines pilots.The opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald B. Tjoflat, affirmed that Delta’s pilots “were engaged in an unlawful no-overtime campaign,” in violation of a contract that expired in 1999 but remains in collective bargaining.” While ALPA attorneys insist the union has directed the pilots to cease their no-overtime campaign, Tjoflat’s opinion noted the judges “seriously doubt” that ALPA has done all it can to stop it. ALPA’s constitution permits the union “to discipline, fire or expel any member for a number of reasons, including ‘acting in any manner to circumvent, defeat or interfere with collective bargaining,'” the opinion states. Tjoflat’s opinion suggests that if ALPA “has lost control of its members,” Delta may return to court and seek permission …

Florida Firm Helps in Probe of Boss

U.S. Dist. Judge William Dimitrouleas fined a Port Everglades, Fla.-based marine firm $60,000 on Sept. 22 for making illegal payments to union boss Walter “Buster” Browne in 1995. The fine, recommended by prosecutors as part of a plea agreement in June, was equal to the amount the company, Hvide Marine Corp, admitted to paying Brown. Dimitrouleas handed down the sentence after investigators completed a background check of the firm’s records.

Hvide executives also agreed to cooperate with federal investigators who are targeting Browne, the politically connected president of the Nat’l Fed’n of Public & Private Employees. Browne was a paid consultant for Hvide on government issues from 1993-98. Prosecutors tried and failed to convict him for tax-evasion and mail-fraud charges in the 1990s, but he did plead guilty in 1996 to charges stemming from a rigged union election. On previous occasions Browne has said publicly that he expects a federal …

Union Bosses’ Salaries and Benefits/Allowences for 1998

AFSCME, Gerald McEntee: $352,404, $16,800
LIUNA, Arthur A. Coia: $335,674, $86,120
ALPA, Randolph Babbitt: $314,995, $34,000
HERE, John Wilhelm: $280,793, $30,700
UFCW, Douglas H. Dority: $264,152, $58,167
AFT, Sandra Feldman: $246,563, $94,932
IUOE, Frank Hanley: $231,237, $15,600
SEIU, Andrew Stern: $215,218, $7,800
AFL-CIO, John J. Sweeney: $199,750, $7,250
IBEW, J.J.  Barry: $198,533, ??
UNITE, Jay Mazur: $196,462, $54,796
NEA, Robert F. Chase: $196,427, $94,049
BSOIW, Jake West: $196,390, $184,750
UBC,  Douglas J. McCarron: $194,250, $28,700
CWA, Morton Bahr: $152,762, $9,556
IAM,  R.T. Buffenbarger: $142,801, $57,871
UWSA, George F. Becker: $131,499, $22,432
AFGE, Bobby L. Harnage: $122,746, $15,109
UAW, Stephen P. Yokich: $112,608, $6,900
UMW,  Ronald E. Cecil: $96,224, $3,960
IBT, Ronald Carey: $0, $0…

Texas Judge Allows Class Action against Union to Continue

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan in Dallas ruled Nov. 15 that passengers who were impacted last Feb. when American Airlines’ union pilots defied a court order to end a sickout may proceed with their claims in state court. “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a claim against the Allied Pilots Ass’n for tortious interference with contract and civil conspiracy based on violations of the [temporary restraining order],” wrote Kaplan.

Kaplan’s ruling was on a pilots’ motion to dismiss a class action suit filed by passengers after a pilots’ sickout virtually shut down American. The suit seeks to recover economic damages for a class consisting of more than 300,000 ticketed passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled as a result of the sickout. The sickout continued for some days after a U.S. District Judge ordered it stopped. The union is appealing a $ 45 million fine to compensate the company for losses

Passenger …

Las Vegas Boss under Attack

Unidentified dissident members of the Clark County Education Ass’n in Nevada have recently circulated bulletins under the name the Committee to Impeach Sue Strand. Strand is the top boss of CCEA. They accuse Strand of greed and utter incompetence.

One bulletin focused on Strand’s apparent indifference to union corruption. It quotes some of her published statements from recent years when she was asked about the embezzlement charges against ex-CCEA director Steve Confer in Indiana, Strand dismissed it as “just a silly issue.”  Confer pled guilty to union embezzlement on July 26.

Another bulletin went after the boss’ salary. “Members got a 1 percent raise and no increase in their benefits, but their president got an 11.6 percent increase,” states one bulletin. That raise would hike Strand’s compensation package from $100,566 to $112,238. By contrast, a beginning teacher makes $26,060. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 10/28/99]

Workers Loose Libel Case against Union
The …

Ex-Bosses Sue Union for Defamation, Win Appeal in Illinois

Frederick Dubinsky and Roger Hall, ex-union bosses, won an appeal in their suit against the Air Line Pilots Ass’n and several other union bosses for defamation and invasion of privacy. The two charged that a letter by boss Richard Hurst falsely accused them of criminal conduct related to two attempts to buy United Airlines stock under an employee stock ownership plan. ALPA moved to dismiss the suit, alleging that the two failed to state a viable claim for relief.

The Aug. 1994 letter accused the two of wrongdoing in connection with the buyout plan and related payments to ALPA’s staff attorney Charles Goldstein. Goldstein collected a fee that more than doubled his salary in 1984, with the first buyout attempt, and again in 1994, when employees successfully took control of United. Hurst wrote, “I believe that federal laws have been broken;” comparing the matter to Watergate and suggesting that the …

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