Ex-Bosses Sue Union for Defamation, Win Appeal in Illinois

Frederick Dubinsky and Roger Hall, ex-union bosses, won an appeal in their suit against the Air Line Pilots Ass’n and several other union bosses for defamation and invasion of privacy. The two charged that a letter by boss Richard Hurst falsely accused them of criminal conduct related to two attempts to buy United Airlines stock under an employee stock ownership plan. ALPA moved to dismiss the suit, alleging that the two failed to state a viable claim for relief.

The Aug. 1994 letter accused the two of wrongdoing in connection with the buyout plan and related payments to ALPA’s staff attorney Charles Goldstein. Goldstein collected a fee that more than doubled his salary in 1984, with the first buyout attempt, and again in 1994, when employees successfully took control of United. Hurst wrote, “I believe that federal laws have been broken;” comparing the matter to Watergate and suggesting that the … Read More ➡

California State Employees File Class-Action Suit

Nat. Right to Work Foundation (NRTW) filed a federal class-action suit Jul. 15 on behalf of all Cal. state employees whose First Amendment rights have been violated by the Gov. Gray Davis (D) Administration and Professional Engineers in Cal. Gov’t (PECG) union officials. In addition to compensatory and punitive damages, the employees seek a court order enjoining the State of Cal. from collecting union dues until the employees’ rights are respected.

The charges were filed on behalf of all non-member government workers under the PECG’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) – also known as a collective bargaining agreement – who have been illegally forced to pay for union political activities. The class in this case would include employees of state agencies such as CALTRANS, the Cal. Water Quality Control Board, and the Cal. Resources Board, to name a few. The number of workers included in the class-action suit could reach into … Read More ➡

Questionable Boss wins spot in New York Run-Off

Members of N.Y.’s Uniformed Firefighters Ass’n did not reelect Kevin Gallagher president Jun. 11, but he did get a plurality of the votes, forcing a run-off. Gallagher received 2,978 votes and will face ex-boss John Aragona, who won 2,211 votes. Sources familiar with the union, which has had five presidents in the 1990s, said the strong showing by Aragona was surprising, given his questionable past. The N.Y. Fire Commissioner Tom Von Essen, said in 1994 while he was union president that Aragona, then treasurer, was responsible for hiring a bookkeeper who was later indicted for embezzling at least $375,000 from the union. [Newsday 6/19/99]… Read More ➡

Philadelphia Local Loses Dues Case

U.S. Dist. Judge Stewart Dalzell in Philadelphia approved Jun. 9 an $80,000 settlement of firefighters’ claims that the City and Int’l Ass’n of Fire Fighters Local 22 illegally deducted nonmember agency fees without providing notice or the opportunity to challenge the amount. Class representatives John Hunter and David Casper contended that the city and the union violated nonmembers’ rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments by failing to comply with the procedural safeguards mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 v. Hudson. Hudson held that employees who are not union members can be required to contribute to a union’s expenses for acting as the exclusive bargaining representative but not expenses related to political and ideological activities.

Under the settlement, the union will refund $55,000 to the 93 class members, to be distributed in proportion to the amount of agency fees deducted from their paychecks from … Read More ➡

Bosses and Union Liable for $45.5 Million

On Jun. 23, U.S. Dist. Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas held the Allied Pilots Ass’n, its president, Rich LaVoy, and its vice-president, Brian Mayhew, jointly and severally liable for $45.5 million in damages for violating a court order to call off a sickout against American Airlines, Inc., in Feb. 1999. The amount was aimed at compensating American for the losses sustained by canceling thousands of flights. “By their deliberate and contemptuous actions, these Defendants inflicted millions of dollars in financial losses on Plaintiff American and needlessly disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of travelers,” wrote Kendall.

LaVoy had the audacity to lash out at a U.S. Dist. Judge for enforcing a court order. LaVoy accused Kendall  of making “highly derogatory and totally gratuitous remarks” and portraying the pilots as undeserving of sympathy. APA said that Kendall appeared more interested in pushing “political hot buttons.”  Talk about the pot calling … Read More ➡

Trusteeship Imposed on Texas Local

IBT imposed a trusteeship Jun. 18 on Local 19 in Grapevine, Tex. J.D. Potter headed Local 19 who was disqualified from holding office for campaign finance violations and was a running mate of IBT boss James P. Hoffa. The justification for the takeover was the local leadership’s failure to adequately serve the members. Louisville, Ky., Local 2727 boss, Joe Darmento was named trustee and Local 19 business manager Mike Ellison, deputy trustee. IBT spokesman Bret Caldwell said the decision to move against a former campaign slate member shows that the Hoffa administration is prepared to take action regardless of the local leadership. “This is not politics,” he said. “We’re here for the members.” Potter also faces pending IRB charges of lying to election officials and IRB investigators about his campaign contributions. [BNA 6/22/99]

New York Unions Raided in Three-State Probe
Over 300 law enforcement officers raided over two dozen sites … Read More ➡

New York “Consultant” Paid $4,000 a Week

Bruce Gelbard, a N.Y.C. Board of Education official ousted in 1996, landed on the payroll of an AFSCME Dist. Council 37 Local 372 earning $24,000 in six weeks. Gelbard was booted by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Jul. 1996 for trying to block reforms. Officials at DC37 recently confirmed that Gelbard collected $4,000 a week for six weeks starting Oct. 31, 1996, as a “consultant” to Local 372. But no one can say what he did to earn the fee.  The person allegedly responsible for hiring Gelbard was Local 372’s ex-boss Charles Hughes who was indicted in May 1999 for embezzling $2.7 million from the union. [N.Y. Post 6/23/99]

Turnout 10% in Corrupt New York Local 
AFSCME lobbyist Veronica Montgomery-Costa won 1,123 votes Jun. 25 for president of AFSCME Local 372. The local was involved in the recent corruption wave that has indicted 27 DC37 bosses. Alisa Rogosin, an ally of … Read More ➡

Corrupt Ex-New York Boss’ Pension Cut

The Laundry & Dry Cleaners Union Local 168-39 in Buffalo recently cut the $30,000 pension paid to ex-boss Anna May Ervolino, who with her husband, Frank Ervolino, is accused by the federal monitor of the Hotel Employee & Restaurant Employee Int’l Union of over-paying herself in a variety of jobs at two other Buffalo unions. LDCU boss Edward Skibinski said that the union’s pension fund cut its payment by about $20,000 to Ervolino.

Until Oct. 1996, Ervolino was first vice-president of Local 168-39 and a trustee of its pension and health funds. In a letter to Ervolino, the pension fund puts the amount of overpayments to her at $87,000 and seeks immediate repayment. Failing that, the fund will reduce payments to $10,000 a year, from $30,000.

In Jan. 1999, federal monitor Kurt W. Muellenberg said the Ervolinos embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from two other unions under their control, … Read More ➡

Louisiana Union Sued for Harassment

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has filed state and federal suits against HERE saying the union has engaged in a pattern of intimidation intended to coerce the Center into providing space where food service employees can eat. Center officials alleged HERE had crossed the line into unlawful behavior by threatening the Center’s customers and members of the board that governs the Center. Among other actions, Center officials assert HERE has encouraged convention organizers not to hold conventions in New Orleans and in some cases has threatened violence against convention organizers. Center officials have affidavits signed by witnesses attesting to the threats.

The Center asked the courts to order the union to quit contacting convention organizers and Center officials and employees. “We’d just like them to stop, that’s all,” said Ralph Brennan, a New Orleans restaurateur who is also president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans … Read More ➡

McManus on New York’s Corrupt DC37

Excerpts from Bob McManus column in Jun. 21 N.Y. Post:

“Once upon a time, and not all that long ago, New York was proudly and unambiguously union country. No more. As recently as 1983, more than 31% of the statewide private-sector workforce was organized – and all that it took to stir panic among New York City pols was a baleful glance from a municipal union boss. Last year, a scant 15.4 percent of New York’s private-sector workers carried union cards – and fewer than that if publicly supported health-care unions are factored out of the equation.

And as for the public-sector unions – well, the less said the better. Scarcely a week goes by without another bunch of New York City labor bigs being hauled off in handcuffs. And the investigation continues.
 Last week, Manhattan DA Bob Morgenthau indicted Al Diop and Marty Lubin of District Council 37 for … Read More ➡