Louisiana Union Sued for Harassment

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has filed state and federal suits against HERE saying the union has engaged in a pattern of intimidation intended to coerce the Center into providing space where food service employees can eat. Center officials alleged HERE had crossed the line into unlawful behavior by threatening the Center’s customers and members of the board that governs the Center. Among other actions, Center officials assert HERE has encouraged convention organizers not to hold conventions in New Orleans and in some cases has threatened violence against convention organizers. Center officials have affidavits signed by witnesses attesting to the threats.

The Center asked the courts to order the union to quit contacting convention organizers and Center officials and employees. “We’d just like them to stop, that’s all,” said Ralph Brennan, a New Orleans restaurateur who is also president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans … Read More ➡

McManus on New York’s Corrupt DC37

Excerpts from Bob McManus column in Jun. 21 N.Y. Post:

“Once upon a time, and not all that long ago, New York was proudly and unambiguously union country. No more. As recently as 1983, more than 31% of the statewide private-sector workforce was organized – and all that it took to stir panic among New York City pols was a baleful glance from a municipal union boss. Last year, a scant 15.4 percent of New York’s private-sector workers carried union cards – and fewer than that if publicly supported health-care unions are factored out of the equation.

And as for the public-sector unions – well, the less said the better. Scarcely a week goes by without another bunch of New York City labor bigs being hauled off in handcuffs. And the investigation continues.
 Last week, Manhattan DA Bob Morgenthau indicted Al Diop and Marty Lubin of District Council 37 for … Read More ➡

Buffalo Pension Fund in Trouble

The pension fund of United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 9 in Cheektowaga, N.Y., faces a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall and is predicted to go broke in nine years. Local 9 boss and head of the Buffalo Carpenters Pension Fund, Thomas W. Burke alleged there was no wrongdoing, but the fund hired the law firm Levy, Ratner & Behroozi to investigate the debacle. The fund has $25.7 million in assets and owes $58 million to retirees. The fund expenses outpaced its income by $1.7 million a year. [Buffalo News 6/21/99]… Read More ➡

Kentucky Bosses, Politicos’ Indictments Dismissed

The campaign-finance indictments of Ky. Democratic Gov. Paul Patton’s two top aides and two Teamsters bosses were controversially dismissed Jun. 3 by Ky. Circuit Judge William Trude, Jr. The four are: Skipper Martin, Patton’s chief of staff and 1995 campaign manager; Danny Ross, Patton’s labor liaison who ran a pro-Patton campaign for the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO between stints on Patton’s state payroll; Lon Fields, ex-boss of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville, where Ross ran the campaign; and Robert Winstead, secretary-treasurer of Local 89 and recording secretary of the Teamsters’ state council, through which the national union paid for Ross’ campaign work. A special grand jury indicted the four for allegedly violating campaign finance laws by secretly arranging the Teamsters’ employment of Ross for pro-Patton efforts in the 1995 election, in which Patton beat Republican Larry Forgy by 21,560 votes, 2.2 percent of the total. Patton is up for reelection … Read More ➡

Maine Boss Fired for Lying

Timothy Smith, a Cumberland County Jail correctional officer at the Cumberland County Jail and a high-ranking official of an unidentified union, was accused of vandalizing property and then lying about it in an attempted cover-up and was fired Jun. 4 by Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. Smith also faces misdemeanor charges for criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy to file false public reports. Smith’s union was reportedly upset when told about the firing, especially since Smith was the jail’s union steward.

According to jail officials, an investigation began last fall after a feud among members of a fantasy baseball league exploded into alleged criminal behavior. Smith’s league broke down in acrimony because of, among other things, a disputed trade between teams within the league, as well as a controversial ruling by the league’s “commissioner.” Smith allegedly vandalized the car of Johnny Booker, a league member, and allegedly sprayed graffiti and damaged … Read More ➡

Firing of Miners for Wrongful Protest Upheld

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that Island Creek Coal Co. was within its rights to fire two United Mine Workers from Local 7555 for picketing. The ruling was based on the collective bargaining agreement and was not based on the arbitrator’s own sense of justice. In Mar. 1997, a group of miners gathered near company property to protest. Some of the protesters told supervisors that they were going to stop work at the plant if they did not get answers about disputed pay issues. The five-day protest caused Island Creek employees and other contract employees to stop working resulting in the plant losing two full days and three partial days of production. The company identified protesting miners and discharged them.

The UMW filed grievances protesting the discharge, which were referred to arbitration. Arbitrator Jerome H. Ross found that a significant portion of the dispute involved … Read More ➡

Indictment Total Reaches 27 in New York’s Corrupt DC37

On Jun. 15, Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau indicted nine more bosses of the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees Dist. Council 37 on union corruption charges, bringing to the number of bosses indicted in the recent scandal to a shocking 27.

Albert A. Diop, ex-Local 1549 president, was accused of directing an elaborate fraud resulting in the ratification of DC37’s 1996 contract with N.Y.C. Martin Lubin, DC37 ex-associate director, was also indicted in the voting scheme.  Diop also allegedly stole $1.6 million via various scams: He allegedly spent $270,000 in personal expenses on the union’s credit card. He allegedly had the union spend over $500,000 for his penthouse. He allegedly took $817,000 in wrongful “hospitality money.” He allegedly used $4,300 in unauthorized union funds for listening devices in DC37 offices after Morgenthau began his probe last year.

Robert Taylor, ex-Local 983 president was indicted on charges … Read More ➡

Nevada Boss Indicted, Allegedly $53,000 Embezzled in Indiana

An ex-teachers union boss pled innocent Jun. 2 to a 20-count grand jury indictment in U.S. Dist. Court in Fort Wayne, Ind. for union corruption. Steve Confer allegedly embezzled over $53,000 in 1994-96 while treasurer of the Professional Service Org. of the Ind. State Teachers Ass’n.  Confer moved to Las Vegas in 1996, becoming exec. director of the Clark County Edu. Ass’n — the second largest Nat. Edu. Ass’n chapter. He resigned from that post in 1998.

Confer allegedly wrote himself $45,300 in checks and charged $7,800 on the union’s credit card for personal purposes. PSO sought to recover the funds. Reportedly, Confer settled by repaying the disputed amount in a 1997 agreement. But a private settlement doesn’t shelter Confer from prosecution. He faces a life ban from union office as well as 5 years in prison or a $10,000 fine for each charge. [Las Vegas Review-Journal 6/3/99]

New York Read More ➡

Coia’s Rhode Island Friend Off on Technicality

A state Ethics Commission probe into Frank E. Corrente — senior aide to Providence, R.I., Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. — suspiciously came to an end just a few days before he announced his retirement Jun. 9. The probe was into Corrente’s business dealings with the Laborers’ Int’l Union of No. Am. Corrente had faced a $25,000 fine.

The three-year probe looked into whether a conflict-of-interest existed when a Corrente partnership sold an building to a subsidiary of LIUNA’s legal fund for $2.3 million in 1994. At the time of the sale, Corrente was the City’s chief negotiator with LIUNA Local 1033. He was actively working on a new contract that included the City’s payment into LIUNA’s legal fund.

One of Corrente’s partners in the real estate venture was his long-time friend —  LIUNA top boss Arthur A. Coia.  Additionally, Corrente’s son, Darren Corrente, is a member of Coia’s law … Read More ➡

Rhode Island Union Sues Ex-Boss for $36,000

The E. Providence, R.I., Fraternal Order of Police filed suit Jun. 3 against its ex-boss Alan A. Gouveia, alleging that he “misappropriated, embezzled, stole or converted” at least $36,000 of union funds for personal use in 1994-96. FOP is seeking to recover the full $36,000 plus: punitive damages, an accounting of improperly taken or received property and funds, audit expenses, return of all FOP records and attorneys’ fees.

The suit claims Gouveia “routinely skimmed a portion of the dues proceeds from the City” by cashing the checks at a credit union and pocketing some of the money for himself. The suit also alleges that on various dates in 1994-96, he withdrew cash, up to $1,500 at a time, from FOP accounts without supporting documentation. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 6/4/99]

New York Union Attorney Loses License
On Jun. 4, Bernard Cohen, the ex-gen. counsel of the N.Y. Dist. Council of Carpenters, was sentenced … Read More ➡

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