SEIU, State of Minnesota Pick Pockets of Home Care Workers

home care providerIn Minnesota, the Service Employees International Union might qualify as a separate branch of government. Governor Mark Dayton, for one, wouldn’t object. Three years ago the State of Minnesota enacted a law opening the door to unionizing private home care providers for the disabled. The law soon seemed destined for oblivion. In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Harris v. Quinn, ruled that an Illinois law forcing home care workers to pay union dues violated their free speech rights. That these employees received a portion of their incomes from state Medicaid funds, said the Court, does not subject them to a public-sector labor agreement. Yet the Minnesota law’s supporters have managed to sidestep that ruling, enriching union coffers in the process.

The Service Employees gambit in Minnesota goes back nearly five years. In November 2011, Governor Dayton, a Democrat, issued an executive order authorizing union elections for private … Read More ➡

Los Angeles-Area Machinists Financial Secretary Sentenced

machinists-logo_0On July 18, Oscar Luevano, former financial secretary-treasurer of Transportation Communications Union (TCU) Local Lodge 5050, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to eight months of home confinement and five years of probation for embezzling funds from the Covina (Los Angeles County)-based union in the amount of $132,939.  He also was ordered to pay $104,410 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.  Luevano had pleaded guilty on March 30, five days after being charged.  TCU is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Maintenance of Way Secretary in Illinois Charged; Pleads Guilty

BMWE logoOn June 30, Michael Schofield, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1046, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to falsifying financial records in order to conceal embezzlement of $31,850 in funds during 2012-13 from the Plainfield, Ill. union.  Schofield had been charged in a one-count information a week earlier.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Local IATSE Treasurer in Detroit Charged with Embezzlement

iatse-logo_0On June 16, Bernadine Bell, former treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 757, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with an information count of embezzling roughly $73,000 in funds from the Detroit union.  The charge follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Insulators Local Bookkeeper in Alabama Charged with Thefts

heat-and-frost-insulators_0On June 29, Michelle Clifton, former office manager/bookkeeper for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 78, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $23,014 from the Irondale (suburban Birmingham), Ala.-based construction trades union, plus 17 counts of forged securities and two counts of making fraudulent statements. The 20-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Clifton, 49, a resident of Sylacauga, Ala., during December 2012-September 2013, forged 17 checks drawn upon four separate union accounts. In addition, she allegedly made false statements to Labor Department investigators, claiming that a business manager at the union office had ordered her to forge the checks and then falsify financial statements. Fighting this one will be a risky act. The maximum sentence for the embezzlement charge … Read More ➡

Massachusetts Contractors Indicted for $2M+ LIUNA Double-Breasting Scheme

liuna logoEmployees of Christopher and Kimberly Thompson were being had, even if most weren’t aware of it until the hammer came down.  On January 26, the Thompsons, operators of a Boston-area asbestos removal company, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on 18 counts of mail fraud, 18 counts of benefit fraud and one count of embezzlement in a scheme to defraud members of a Laborers local out of more than $2 million in promised benefits.  The case has all the appearances of double-breasting.  Following their arrest, the couple pleaded not guilty in February and currently are free on bond.  As of this writing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office website indicates no subsequent action.  The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Christopher and Kimberly Thompson, a husband-and-wife couple, now both 52, residents of Windham, New … Read More ➡

Missouri Steelworkers Local Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

steelworkers-logoOn June 22, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 7689, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to three consecutive weekends in prison, six months in a location monitoring program and five years of probation for embezzling $153,434 from the Marston, Mo.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment.  Aters had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted last October.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer in Missouri Pleads Guilty

letter carriers logoOn June 22, John McCain, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2016, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of embezzling $30,948 in funds from the Poplar Bluff-based union. McCain had been indicted in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Boston Officials Indicted for Extortion on Behalf of IATSE Local

Boston City HallLocal government officials can be very creative when it comes to coaxing contractors to hire union labor. And their methods aren’t necessarily legal. On May 17, Kenneth Brissette, director of tourism, sports and entertainment for the City of Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury for extortion; two days later he was arrested. And on June 29, Brissette, along with Timothy Sullivan, City chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, received superseding indictments. The defendants allegedly had required a concert promoter a couple of years ago that it would have to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 in order to receive the necessary permits. The indictments follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The saga consists of two related storylines. In the summer of 2014, a music festival was scheduled at City Hall … Read More ➡

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Charged with Theft

afge logo_0On June 22, Carlton Woodcox, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2150, was charged in Dubois County Superior Court (Indiana) on two information counts of theft totaling $32,787.  He then was arrested on June 24.  Woodcox, 56, a resident of Jasper, allegedly made unauthorized ATM withdrawals from a union account on 117 separate occasions.  The local represents employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for various plants in southern Indiana.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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