UAW Settles Racial Harassment Suit for $75K

St. Louis United Auto Workers Local 25 agreed on Jul. 16 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $75,000. The suit contended that the UAW failed to stop “severe and pervasive” harassment of 3 black General Motors supervisors by now-former union boss Robert Wilson in the period 1992-94. The EEOC’s statement called it a “landmark case” and said it was “the first to hold that a federal employment discrimination statute prohibits unions from allowing their officers to racially or sexually harass company managers.” [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/21/98]

Election Fraud Case Stays Secret
A KY judge rejected prosecutors’ bid on Jul. 13 to release secret grand-jury testimony about Gov. Paul Patton’s (D) 1995 campaign, the AFL-CIO and other union groups’ alleged effort to circumvent the spending limit candidates adopt in return for taxpayer financing under an ill-designed law limiting campaign contributions and free speech. … Read More ➡

Funding the WorldCom-MCI Foes?

On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.

Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol … Read More ➡

Boss Gets 1 Year for Embezzlement

On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kellas’ scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]

Union Corruption Studies Available
The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: “Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys” & “The Case Against Public Sector … Read More ➡

Disgraced NHL Boss’ Restitution to go to Defrauded Players

Announced Jul. 16, the $1 million (Canadian) in restitution paid by the founder of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, R. Alan Eagleson, will be divided among 1,400 players harmed by his embezzlement schemes. On Jan. 6, the NHL union boss pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to 3 counts of fraud and theft thereby avoiding prosecution on 32 counts which included stealing from players’ pension funds and insurance premiums, as well as cheating players out of disability money. The next day, he pled guilty in a Canadian court to 3 counts of fraud for skimming advertising money for tournaments and other hockey entities. On top of the restitution, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Canada, but was released Jul. 6 after serving only 6 months. [Boston Globe 01/06/98 & Toronto Star 07/17/98]… Read More ➡

Kickback Scheme sends 4 to Prison

The former head of the NYC transit police union and top union lawyers were sentenced to prison on Jun. 30 for their roles in a kickback scheme involving millions of dollars in union funds. Ronald Reale, the former union boss, was sentenced to 7 years, and Richard Hartman, a leading negotiator for the union, was sentenced to 5 years. They were convicted for a racketeering conspiracy that involved the payment of more than $400,000 in bribes to transit union officers in return for more than $2 million in union money paid to the law firm of Lysaght & Kramer, which represented the transit union and other local police unions. The former sole partners in the law firm, James J. Lysaght and Peter Kramer were sentenced to 27 months each. Although the charges involved the transit police union, the lawyers and Hartman had also worked for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which … Read More ➡

Chaos continues in Puerto Rico

Waves of terrorism and sabotage have continued to plague Puerto Rico since Jun. 18 when the 2 telephone unions went on strike protesting privatization of their company. As reported in the last UCU , violence, destruction of infrastructure, bombings, injuries & arrests have been widespread.

The strike expanded on Jul. 7 when 500,000 members from 50 unions went on a general strike for 48 hours. In San Juan, several thousand union extremists faced-off with 200 riot police. Again saboteurs disconnected telephone
service to 500,000 homes and businesses. Much of the thriving tourism industry has been shut down and the airport was at standstill. Protesters ran through streets smashing windows of the Banco Popular that is connected to the
privatization.

Sadly, union bosses in the U.S. could not resist giving their support to violence. AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney and Communications Workers of America president Morton Bahr issued statements of support … Read More ➡

Ickes Ready, Willing & Able

Harold M. Ickes, former Clinton deputy chief of staff and long-time alleged union/mob lawyer, who is thought by many to be at the center of the Clinton-Gore campaign fundraising scandals, recently started his own lobbying firm by opening the Washington office of his former NY law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. He is now reaping as much as $20,000 a month per client which includes the American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees’ International Union along with SEIU’s powerful affiliate, NY Local 1199 of the hospital workers’ union. Ickes has access into the AFL-CIO and helped with the campaign to defeat California’s Proposition 226. Now, he is trying to convince AFL-CIO boss John J. Sweeney into letting him represent the AFL-CIO. ”I expect we’ll cut a deal soon,” said Ickes. Yet controversies dog Ickes. On top of numerous Clinton-Gore fundraising probes, he has been implicated in the Teamsters mess. “As … Read More ➡

Sweeney’s Internal Squabble Grows

Since elected president in 1995, Sweeney relentlessly talked about the AFL-CIO’s need for signing up new members. But critics inside the AFL-CIO are now saying it’s just talk. “Sweeney’s bid to revitalize labor has been dealt a setback — and he himself has delivered the blow,” according to Business Week . On Jun. 8, Sweeney, “abruptly fired AFL-CIO Organizing Director Richard Bensinger, the brains behind labor’s recruitment strategies and its charismatic proselytizer.” Irate Bensinger supporters blamed Sweeney’s aides: Chief of Staff Robert W. Welsh and Public Affairs Director Denise Mitchell “who saw criticisms by organizers as a threat to their programs.”

“The dismissal has kicked up a firestorm of protest, and some union leaders now fear that Bensinger’s removal will set back their battles to refocus their own unions on recruitment. ‘A lot of what I’ve done I’ve taken from Bensinger,’ says Robert E. Wages, president of the Oil, Chemical … Read More ➡

Power Company Sues Union

A 2-year fight between Public Service Company of OK and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1002 is headed to court. PSO filed a complaint on Jun. 30, in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, stating that IBEW has not kept its end of a collective bargaining agreement. The suit claims IBEW, through a union manual called “The Inside Game,” has been encouraging union workers to decrease productivity, flooding employer phone lines and avoiding work when on call. PSO officials said union workers’ use of strategies contained in “The Inside Game” is a breach of the current agreement and “has caused PSO to incur substantial monetary damages.” [Tulsa World 07/01/98]

SEIU Gravediggers on Strike
Gravediggers & groundskeepers of Service Employees International Union Local 74 & 365 in NY have been in involved in a violent strike since Apr. The estimated 340 strikers walk picket lines demanding increased benefits and 18 … Read More ➡

SEIU Sues Cleveland

From a Crain’s Cleveland Business editorial [07/06/98]: “It’s hard to fathom why, after all the months of legal wrangling over the Cleveland mayor taking control of the city’s public schools, why the local NAACP chapter and a union would again file suit to block the move. Last week, lawyers for the NAACP and for the Service Employees International Union filed suit in federal court seeking to delay a law that allows Mayor White to appoint a 9-member school board and a chief executive to run the long-troubled school system. Their logic, apparently, is that since U.S. District Judge George White’s Mar. 6 ruling that such a move is constitutional is being appealed, then the takeover by the mayor should be delayed during the appeals process. I hope the judge denies the request. There has been more than enough foot dragging on this issue, and much of it seems to come … Read More ➡

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