Boss Indicted for Embezzling $25K

The now-former business manager/secretary-treasurer of the Int’l. Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 92 in Bloomington, CA, was indicted Aug. 12 by a federal grand jury for embezzling $25,000 from the union. Labor Department investigators estimate the total embezzlement closer to $52,000. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Manuel Lujan allegedly charged personal expenses, including airfare and hotels, on the union’s credit cards and made unauthorized withdrawals from its bank account. [City News Service 8/12/98]

Boss Embezzled from UMW
Joseph Volansky was sentenced Aug. 6 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to 3 years probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for embezzling from the United Mine Workers. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the UMW District 4 Secretary-Treasurer took an undisclosed amount by falsifying financial records and illegally using union credit cards. He was barred from union office for 13 years. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8/7/98]

QUOTABLE QUOTE
“Of all … Read More ➡

SEIU Fails to Disclose Lobbying

San Francisco unions have never disclosed their lobbying of city officials despite a 10-year-old law aimed at eliminating back-room deal-making. SF’s Ethics Commission is now attempting to force compliance by the unions, particularly Service Employees International Union which is SF’s largest union and has led the lobbying effort this year on hotly-contested health care legislation. The unions face thousands of dollars in penalties if they are found to have knowingly not complied with the ordinance. Union bosses contend they were unaware the measure applied to them. They also argue it is wrong to lump them in with hired-gun lobbyists for corporate interests. And they have said the unions will resist city efforts to force them to make disclosures under the lobbying ordinance.

But that has not sat well with other lobbyists and elected officials. “Since I took office in 1993, the unions have been the strongest lobbying force and the … Read More ➡

Massachusetts Local Stoops “Pretty Low” in Negotiations

Local 254 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents Massachusetts probation officers, has told its members to stop volunteering for community-based probation plans because a contract dispute with the state court system. The following excerpts of a Jul. 25 Boston Herald editorial speaks for itself:

“As a negotiating tactic, this is pretty low. Local 254 of [SEIU], this week directed its members not to work after regular office hours. This could cripple the crucial ‘Night Light’ program in Boston, under which probation officers check up on their charges with visits to their homes and haunts at night, not to mention other important after-hours programs in many communities. Though the union claims ‘a couple’ of members haven’t joined this boycott, ‘they will get religion as well.’ We hope it’s more than a couple, and we hope for a growing apostasy. Probation officers in Brockton were reported to have decided to … Read More ➡

Attorney Challenges Feinstein’s Appointment

The appointment of former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein as an associate general counsel, followed immediately by his appointment as acting general counsel, has raised issues of evasion of law. In documents filed Jul. 21 with the NLRB, attorney Robert W. Tollen charged that the rapid appointment was an unlawful maneuver to keep Feinstein in office. Tollen is defending Contractors’ Labor Pool, a construction company, against unfair labor practice charges brought by the Int’l. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Denver. Feinstein issued a complaint, but the company contends he had no authority because he was unlawfully appointed acting general counsel.

During his 4-year term that expired on Mar. 2, Feinstein tripled the use of injunctions against employers and took positions generally seen as advancing the agenda of big labor. On Mar. 5, Feinstein asked the White House not to renominate him because he didn’t want protracted fight. Two days earlier, … Read More ➡

Top Boss Goes to Prison for Union Embezzlement

“[H]e thought of himself first and the union members second. He and other members of his family used the union as a personal asset,” said U.S. Labor Department’s Joseph S. Wasik in discussing Joseph C. Talarico, the now-former Int’l. Secretary-Treasurer (i.e. #2 post) of the United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l. Union. Talarico was sentenced Jul. 28 in U.S. District Court to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million restitution to UFCW Local 1 in Utica, NY, for embezzling over $925,000 from union members. He was banned from union office for 13 years.

But the scheme that ran 1984-97 went beyond Joseph Talarico, who was the Local 1 president before he took his int’l. union post in 1995, to include his brother, son, daughter and brother-in-law. The Talaricos illegally used union funds for a wide range of personal purposes, including landscaping and lavish renovations to their homes. … Read More ➡

NLRB Loses Attack on 1st Amendment

Excerpts from the Detroit News’ Aug. 4 editorial: “The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed a stinging rebuke to the National Labor Relations Board for ignoring the First Amendment rights of the Midland Daily News . The federal appellate court…upheld a Detroit federal district court’s ruling quashing a subpoena to the mid- Michigan daily newspaper in the service of a speculative union complaint. The labor agency, which is supposed to be an impartial arbiter between unions and employers, had placed its subpoena power at the service of a union even when there was no definitive showing of a labor violation. In effect, it had turned itself into an agent of the union — and in so doing attempted to trample the First Amendment rights of the newspaper.

Two years ago, the Midland Daily News ran some anonymous ads seeking applications from electricians, with resumes to be sent … Read More ➡

UFCW’s Undemocratic Convention

While the Talarico scandal exploded, UFCW held its int’l. convention in Chicago. UFCW dissidents, using the disgraced former Secretary-Treasurer Talarico as a rallying point, were barred from the convention. At a Jul. 30 press conference, UFCW President Douglas H. Dority was asked about why dissident leader Louis Anderson was barred; Dority responded, “He has no right at this convention. When he writes stuff that undermines our organizing campaign, he has no right to be at this convention.”

According to dissidents, two-thirds of the nearly 2,000 delegates and alternates at the convention are either local union bosses or paid staff who will not oppose the bosses to whom they owe their jobs. Thus, incumbent officers were reelected Jul. 28, including Dority, Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Hansen and 49 vice presidents. All were unopposed and elected by acclamation. A potential challenge to Dority from Canton, OH Local 17A President Gary Feiock was smashed when … Read More ➡

Memphis AFSCME at War With Itself Over Counter Corruption Charges

Memphis’ American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 1733 bosses are locked in a bitter dispute over Executive Director Dorothy Crook. At Jul. 31 press conference, the Local Vice-President Johnny Dansberry said, “Members of the executive board…had received numerous complaints from members about [Crook’s] competency and ability to function as executive director… Questions were also raised about financial irregularities appearing in the books of the Local 1733.” The executive board voted in May to fire Crook.

Crook filed a grievance against the board contending she has been denied due process. Jeff A. Crow, Jr., hired by AFSCME to litigate the Crook case, said a grievance hearing likely will be scheduled this month. A court case pending in Shelby County Chancery Court is on hold pending the outcome of the union’s grievance procedure. Alfred Dowdy, a board member supporting Crook, filed the lawsuit last month against Local 1733 President … Read More ➡

UFCW Strike Puts Meatpacker Out of Business

Broken by a 2-week UFCW Local 271 strike, meatpacker BeefAmerica said Jul. 28 that it is going out of business. It will close its only plant putting 1,300 UFCW members and managers in Norfolk, NE, out of work. “The strike [was] something the company did not expect or anticipate and [was] very costly,” said a company spokesman. The company lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” each week of the strike. [Des Moines Register 07/29/98]

Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
Janet Brown, the now-former president of American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 599 in Beaver Falls, PA, pled guilty Jul. 29 to embezzling more than $3,000 from union coffers. U.S. Attorney’s Office said the union boss took members’ money by writing checks to herself and falsifying union records. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/30/98]

Organized Crime Boss Convicted of Racketeering
A federal jury in Trenton, NJ, Jul. 27 found reputed organized … Read More ➡

Convoluted Corruption War Rages in Texas

A convoluted corruption case revolving around American Federation of Government Employees offical Joe Palazzolo may have entered its final stage on Jul. 27 at a Federal Labor Relations Authority hearing in Forth Worth, TX to determine if Palazzolo is eligible to continue holding his 2 union jobs, which he holds simultaneously, representing General Services Administration employees in an 11-state region. The probe has the attention of federal investigators in Dallas, Denver and Washington, as well as top AFGE union bosses. A decision is expected in Sept.

The case which has seen Palazzolo removed from and subsequently returned to office earlier this year began in Mar. 1997. A union mailbox has been seized; a union office has been locked-out; and several counter lawsuits have been filed — 2 by Palazzolo. Palazzolo has been forced into an extended leave from his GSA job and has been threatened with disciplinary action from GSA … Read More ➡

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