The Communications Workers of Am. and Verizon Communications face a federal prosecution for allegedly illegally seizing some $150,000 in forced union dues from employees following a 2000 strike. Agreeing with arguments presented by Nat’l Right to Work Legal Def. Found. attorneys, the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. issued the federal complaint after employees Kenneth Olszewski and Nancy Simms of Md. filed unfair labor practice charges on behalf of thousands of employees in 2000.
They filed the charges after Verizon helped CWA bosses collect dues for a one month period (Sept. 2000) following the strike in which no collective bargaining contract was in place. When no such forced-fee agreement is in effect, bosses can’t compel the payment of any dues from employees who exercise their right not to join a union.
NRTW estimates that CWA illegally seized a total of $150,000 from about 3,000 employees who chose to refrain from CWA membership. … Read More ➡
Dennis Rivera, boss of Serv. Employees Int’l Union Local 1199 in N.Y.C., was hauled off to jail July 6 after U.S. Dist. Judge Hector Lafitte sentenced him to 30 days for trespassing in order to protest Navy bombing on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Rivera was reluctantly prepared for jail time, said his spokesman Ken Sunshine. His conduct appears even more irresponsible given the fact that he is currently leading contract negotiations with the Greater N.Y. Hosp. Ass’n for his local. “Dennis is a warrior for the cause, but he doesn’t relish going to jail,” said Sunshine. [Daily News (N.Y.) 7/7/01]
This is the same union boss who last year gave a check believed to be the largest single campaign contribution in post-Watergate federal politics to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and top Democratic fundraiser David Jones. The two accepted a $1 million soft money check made out … Read More ➡
The U.S. Supreme Court refused June 25 to revive claims by former NHL players that they were victims of a conspiracy waged by NHL teams and the ex-head of NHL Players’ Ass’n, Alan Eagleson, to keep salaries low. The Court let stand a two-year-old federal appeals court ruling that players waited too long to sue. Eagleson served six months in prison for hockey-related fraud. He pled guilty in Boston on Jan. 6, 1998, to three counts of mail fraud and was fined $1 million in Canadian funds. The next day in Toronto, he admitted to three counts of fraud and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The U.S. charges related to using money from international hockey tournaments for himself, family and friends and to diverting $15,000 from disability insurance proceeds belonging to ex Chicago Blackhawk Glen Sharpley. The Canadian charges stemmed from rinkboard advertising deals that defrauded the NHLPA, … Read More ➡
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal to hear the case of a ex-Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters political director William W. Hamilton, Jr., who was convicted of union corruption in 1999. The court, without comment, refused to examine the conviction for participating in a plan to use third-party political groups to benefit IBT’s ex-president Ron Carey. Hamilton received a three-year prison sentence. IBT contributed about $800,000 from its members to third-party political groups, such as the liberal Citizen Action, that ran get-out-the-vote efforts to benefit Democratic candidates in the 1996 elections. The groups, in turn, contributed to Carey’s own campaign fund to help his fight for re-election against challenger James P. Hoffa.
Hamilton selected which groups would get union money, but he argues that he never arranged a quid pro quo and never personally benefited from any donations. He was convicted of embezzlement, mail fraud and wire fraud in … Read More ➡
On May 16, Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters’ Office of the Election Admin. granted James P. Hoffa’s slate’s protest against rival Tom Leedham’s slate for improperly accepting employer contributions. OEA, established to monitor the 2001 IBT election, found that Leedham (close ally of disgraced ex-boss Ron Carey) and other slate candidates violated IBT election rules by receiving contributions from Northwest Airlines, through the use of companion passes given to them by candidate Ashley McNeely, a NWA employee and IBT Local 2000 member. Hoffa’s slate argued that the receipt of these passes were a receipt of employer contributions, contrary to election rules, the IBT constitution, and the Landrum-Griffin Act. Hoffa’s slate also alleged that the passes were not properly reported to OEA.
An arbitrator determined that the companion passes were not McNeely’s to give to non-NWA employees for campaign purposes. Having received those passes through McNeely and having used those passes for … Read More ➡
Donnie L. Block pled guilty May 14 to embezzling more than $38,000 from the Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers Int’l Union Local 66 in Portsmouth, Va. He served as the local’s president since 1995 and was indicted for a $38,703 embezzlement on Sept. 20, 2000.
The Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor Mgmt. Stnds. found that Block embezzled dues paid through payroll deductions between 1997-98. He wrote and cashed more than 100 checks drawn on the local’s bank account causing it to be overdrawn. Four checks, for almost $1,500, were cashed at a Las Vegas casino. He also wrote two checks to his wife, worth $700. Reportedly, the couple recently separated due to his gambling. U.S. Dist. Judge Rebecca Beach Smith allowed Block to remain free on bond until his Sept. 6 sentencing. He faces up to five years and a $250,000 fine. [Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) 5/15/01]
Indiana Dues Collector Allegedly … Read More ➡
Helen Greene, the No. 2 official in the Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees’ Dist. Council 37 in N.Y.C., was indicted Apr. 25 on grand larceny charges, including one alleging that she charged $794 on her union credit card to pay for the rehearsal dinner for her son’s wedding. Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau said Greene had claimed that she spent the $794 on a union member retirement dinner. She pled not guilty before N.Y. Justice Arlene D. Goldberg and faces up to seven years in prison.
The indictment, one of several issued against union bosses Apr. 26, reportedly stunned many in DC37 because Greene appeared to be positioning herself to run for DC37’s top post. Until the indictment, Greene appeared to be the sole top DC37 boss who had emerged unscathed from the DC37 scandals that came to light in 1998 and involved convictions of 39 … Read More ➡
In a sharp slap in the face to AFL-CIO bosses John J. Sweeney and Richard L. Trumka the United Bhd. of Carpenters pulled out of the federation on Mar. 29. A continued affiliation with AFL-CIO not only was a distraction for UBC, said UBC boss Douglas J. McCarron, but an impediment. McCarron said UBC needs flexibility to work with both parties, he said, noting that “a lot of our members are Republicans.”
McCarron had been threatening to break away for more than two years. He has told AFL-CIO leaders and his members that Sweeney is wasting carpenters’ dues money on a bureaucracy of hundreds of officials that AFL-CIO has hired since Sweeney and Trumka took over in 1995. In a strong letter to Sweeney, McCarron wrote: “After five years I have seen nothing to indicate the AFL-CIO is seriously considering changes that would cure [Sweeney’s inability to make fundamental changes], … Read More ➡
Int’l Union of Electronic Workers Local 801 in Moraine, Ohio, has agreed to hold a new election for officers under the supervision of the Dep’t of Labor in Nov. The agreement, approved Jan. 23 by U.S. Dist. Chief Judge Walter H. Rice, was reached in a lawsuit filed by DOL in Sept. 1999 accusing Local 801 of using money to promote a slate of candidates headed by Bob Sparks, Local 801’s president. Sparks said he was not the president at the time of the election and had nothing to do with handbills distributed at the time. At the time of the election, Local 801 was in trusteeship, after the IUE’s int’l bosses split the local and created Local 798 at after several months of turmoil. Rice’s court will retain jurisdiction until the DOL certifies the election was held in accordance with the union’s constitution and federal labor law. [Dayton Daily … Read More ➡
Just before a hearing focusing on the trusteeship imposed on Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union Local 1 in Chicago, HERE boss John Wilhelm justified his actions. In a Mar. 13 statement, Wilhelm alleged financial and managerial deficiencies with Local 1, which for decades had been HERE’s flagship. Wilhelm pointed to a sharp decline in union representation in Chicago and substandard wages and contractual protections for Local 1 members. In large part, however, Wilhelm’s statement focused on reckless spending and financial mismanagement by local bosses.
Wilhelm’s press release come one day before HERE conducts a hearing on the trusteeship. The hearing, scheduled for Mar. 14-16, was ordered by the Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor Mgmt. Standards. After probing the legality of the trusteeship, OLMS concluded that HERE, “had an allowable purpose for imposing the trusteeship,” but had failed to hold a hearing to justify its actions with members … Read More ➡