A union can be counted on to react poorly in the face of news that its members are leaving. It may even break the law to prevent attrition. On June 20, the National Labor Relations Board, upholding an administrative court ruling, ordered International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 385 to reimburse former members for dues deducted from their paychecks after those members had submitted resignation requests. Moreover, concluded the NLRB, the union must post a message on its premises informing workers of their right to withdraw their consent to be represented. The decision was handed down amid allegations by members of the Orlando, Fla. local that their leaders have stolen funds and covered up the thefts. The international union is investigating these charges.
Teamsters Local 385 represents bus drivers and costumed characters at Walt Disney World. Yes, even Goofy, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and the transporters of tourists to … Read More ➡
It takes some real teamwork to fleece the U.S. Department of Labor out of tens of millions of dollars. Nermin Awad El-Hadik, unfortunately, was an integral part of the team. On June 29, Ms. El-Hadik, owner of a Houston pharmacy, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to five years in prison and three years of probation for paying more than $5 million in kickbacks to a Texas-based medical provider in return for referrals who then could be overcharged on prescriptions. She also was ordered to pay restitution. The kickbacks were part of a much larger scam to create fake or exaggerated worker’s compensation claims. El-Hadik had pleaded guilty in November 2016. The action follows a probe by the FBI, Army, Postal Service and Labor Department.
Nermin El-Hadik, now 42, a resident of Bellaire, Tex., was the owner-operator of Hope Pharmacy in Houston. During March-December … Read More ➡
On June 26, Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former vice president and former business agent of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement of $57,310 in funds from the Hampton-based union. The charges against the husband-wife couple follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On June 18, Daniel Ross, former treasurer of Transportation and Communications Union Lodge 6721, pleaded no contest in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, to misdemeanor theft in the sum of $4,607 from the Oakland union. He then was sentenced to 30 days of incarceration (suspended), plus three years of probation, and ordered to pay full restitution and a $240 fine. The Transportation and Communications Union is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists. The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On June 27, Annette Jones, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 331, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on one count of bank fraud, two counts of mail fraud and two counts of identity theft in connection with theft of funds from the Perry Point, Md. union. The indictment did not cite a dollar figure. The indictment follows a probe by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
On June 18, Cheryl Angell, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2-144, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling $98,711 from the Combined Locks (Fox Cities region), Wisc.-based union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Angell, a resident of nearby Kaukauna, had pleaded guilty in March after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Police all too often break the law as well as enforce it. Aaron Collington apparently is one of those officers. On June 8, Collington, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Troy, N.Y. police force, was indicted in Rensselaer County Court for third-degree larceny in connection with the disappearance of $6,200 from the bank account of the Troy Police Benevolent Association. State police allege that he diverted cash from the account and deposited the funds into his own account to cover current and back rent. Collington, now 49, who resigned his union post last September and was arrested the following month, pleaded not guilty at his June 12 arraignment.… Read More ➡
For about four years, Joan Matthews outsmarted her union. Then people started to notice. On June 12, Matthews, former bookkeeper for the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to one count of embezzling funds from the Charleston-based labor organization in the amount of $183,667.11. She had been indicted in January following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Matthews, who has agreed to pay full restitution, is scheduled for sentencing on September 11.
According to prosecutors, Joan Matthews, now 70, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., began stealing funds from the council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, in 2010. She did this in a variety of ways: preparing and cashing unauthorized union checks; using union funds to pay credit card bills; and making unauthorized charges to council credit cards. Her embezzlement continued until September 2014 when … Read More ➡
Public-sector unions, long accustomed to getting their way, received a rude awakening this morning. By 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that nonmember state and local government employees are not required to pay partial dues (“agency fees”) to a union representing them. The decision overturns over 40 years of union monopoly power now practiced in nearly two dozen states. In so doing, it will hamper the ability of public-employee unions to route dues collections toward political activism. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, stated, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.” Union officials fear that millions of workers now will be able to choose whether or not to pay dues. Frankly, such a prospect should be welcomed, not feared.
Union Corruption Update described this case in detail last fall after the Supreme Court had granted standing. Mark … Read More ➡
An organization hires a certified public accountant as its first line of defense against being sued or ripped off. Salvatore Armao and Karen Auer, respectively, the founder-managing partner and a principal officer of the Garden City (Nassau County), L.I.-based accounting firm Armao LLP, apparently forgot their mission. On June 1, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the pair had been charged in Manhattan federal court with aiding and abetting the embezzlement of over $100,000 from a benefit plan of an unspecified union. Each surrendered to authorities that morning. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, with assistance from the FBI and the Justice Department’s Labor-Management Racketeering Unit.
According to federal prosecutors, Salvatore Armao, 64, a resident of Queens, N.Y., and Karen Auer, 47, a resident of Bethpage, N.Y., had the wrong kind of loyalty to a client. From … Read More ➡