Steelworkers Secretary in Ohio Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On March 28, Ronald Coldren, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 207, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $30,639 from the Findlay-based union. He had been indicted in November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Paramedics Union Treasurer in Milwaukee Sentenced for Theft

On March 23, Estes Evans, former treasurer of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP) Local R7-33, was sentenced to six months of home confinement and five years of supervised release for embezzling $44,446.86 in funds from the Milwaukee union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Evans had pleaded guilty in December after being charged in June. IAEP is an affiliate of the National Association of Government Employees, itself an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

 … Read More ➡

BLET Chairman in Illinois Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On March 20, Michael Taylor, ex-general chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 815, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to a one-count information charging him with embezzling $24,868.80 in funds from the Joliet-based union. He’s not the only official in this union with a penchant for theft. Last May former Division 815 secretary-treasurer Thomas Miller pleaded guilty to embezzlement from the union. He would be sentenced in November to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $21,070 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. Each case follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE Treasurer in Twin Cities Area Pleads Guilty to Theft

On March 16, Latasha Wilson, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, pleaded guilty in Ramsey County (Minn.) District Court to one count of theft by swindle in the sum of more than $35,000 from the Minneapolis-based union. Wilson had been charged last October of stealing $58,150 during January 2013-December 2015. Although Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, she was charged in neighboring Ramsey County, where the offenses occurred. AFGE Local 1969 represents employees at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Indiana SMART Officer Pleads Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

On March 14, Thomas H. Rodgers Jr., former general chairman of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), General Committee of Adjustment 247 pleaded guilty in the Indiana 32nd Judicial Circuit Court, LaPorte County, to theft of funds from the formerly LaPorte-based union in the amount of $3,672.45. he then was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay full restitution. Rodgers had been charged last July following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

NLRB Restores Coercive Obama-Era Joint Employer Rule; Confusion Remains

For several years unions have been waging a furious battle to force large employers to collectively bargain alongside their contractors and franchisees, even if they have next to nothing to do with workplace operations. Now, once again, the National Labor Relations Board must address the central question: What is an employer? Last December the NLRB reversed its Obama-era ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries that widened the basis for classifying a parent company as a “dual” or “joint” employer. In Hy-Brand, the board, by 3-2, ruled that the old standard must apply. This restoration would be brief. Weeks later, the board, faced with a conflict-of-interest issue, withdrew its decision. For now, organized labor has prevailed. But the fate of the controversy may lie in the courts.

Union Corruption Update visited this deceptively crucial issue in July 2014 and again in September 2015. In each case, the focus was … Read More ➡

Ex-New Jersey UAW Boss Pleads Guilty to Massive Benefit Fraud

Given what he and his partner in crime stole, Sergio Acosta may well be getting off lightly. Last Friday, April 6, Acosta, former president and then representative of the Edison, N.J.-based United Auto Workers Local 2326, pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to a superseding information count for theft, embezzlement and fund conversion related to a scheme to defraud a union-sponsored health care plan and a Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate out of a combined $6.6 million by recruiting hundreds of ineligible participants. He and Lawrence Ackerman, a New Jersey business executive, had been indicted in January 2017 following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to prosecutors, Acosta, formerly a resident of New Jersey and now a resident of Puerto Rico, used his union positions, including that of benefit fund trustee, to coordinate an elaborate … Read More ➡

Screen Actors Guild Continues to Cheat Ex-Stuntwoman

The saga of Leslie Hoffman has been one of cuts, bruises, concussions and brain scans. And those may be the least of her problems right now. Hoffman, a retired movie and TV stuntwoman, for the last several years has been rebuffed by her union in repeated attempts to secure medical reimbursement for head, neck and other injuries she sustained in action sequences. The gatekeepers are officers of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) health and retirement plan who seem bent on creating an inexhaustible list of pretexts on which to deny benefits in the face of her palpably damaged condition. Recent evidence in Ms. Hoffman’s lawsuit against the union suggests these roadblocks to receiving benefits in part are motivated by retaliation for her outspoken views on behalf of fellow stunt performers while serving as a member of the SAG executive board starting around the mid-Eighties.

Union Corruption Update covered this running Read More ➡

Boston-Area Contractor Sentenced for Laborers Double-Breasting, Overtime Schemes

Charles R. Smith Jr. kept two sets of books. And one of them proved far more trouble than it was worth. Last Tuesday, March 27, Smith, owner of a Sharon, Mass. demolition and asbestos abatement company, was sentenced in Boston federal court to six months of home detention in connection with his defrauding members of a Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) local out of nearly $800,000 in scheduled wages and benefits. Smith and his unionized firm, SMI Demolition Inc., also were placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay restitution. The defendants – effectively the same entity – had pleaded guilty this January to two counts of mail fraud following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

At bottom, this was a case of what is commonly called ‘double-breasting.’ Under this arrangement, a unionized contractor sets up … Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Official Indicted for Receiving Bribes from Chrysler

The fallout from the Chrysler-United Auto Workers scandal continues. Just ask Nancy Johnson. Last Wednesday, March 21, Johnson, a former ranking UAW official, was slapped with a superseding indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash and other things of value from Chrysler executives for herself and an associate in return for dropping certain demands during collective bargaining sessions in 2015. The action follows an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Nancy Johnson not long ago was a real Detroit wheel. During 2014-16, she held the second most senior position at the UAW and was a member of the union’s negotiating team with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Unfortunately, she also could be bought. According to prosecutors, Johnson, now 57, a resident of Macomb, Mich., accepted … Read More ➡

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