Dissention in the Teamsters Ranks in A-B Strike Vote

Some Teamsters are angry at the way their union is handling negotiations with Anheuser-Busch (A-B) and have successfully delayed the counting of votes on the latest strike proposal. The ballots mailed to 8,000 Teamsters were supposed to be counted on Jul. 15, but the challenges delayed the mailing of ballots and pushed back the count to Jul. 30. Bosses at 8 of the 16 locals that represent the A-B workers asked the Teamsters to call off the vote. The opponents said they were confused about what they were voting on because of additional proposals. But the Teamsters systematically rejected all the opponents’ challenges. Officers of the Baldwinsville, NY and Williamsburg, VA locals hoped the Teamsters would reconsider its decision; otherwise, court action is possible according to Steve Richmond, a member of the Baldwinsville union’s negotiating team. He said that federal law guarantees workers the right to an “informed vote” in … Read More ➡

Improper Election of Rhode Island Boss

RI’s American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 94 has been ordered to rerun election of top officers because it allegedly failed to ensure a secret-ballot vote. The investigation was sparked by self-styled dissident Linda C. Riendeau who lost to incumbent union boss J. Thomas Chellel at the Apr. convention. Chellel has run Council 94 since 1979. AFSCME’s judicial panel in Washington questioned whether 71 delegates to the convention, who voted on behalf of 8,000 union members, were able to vote by secret ballot. The panel was also troubled by a plan to change the formula for determining the size of Council 94’s executive board which the panel said was improperly adopted and didn’t allow Riendeau a chance to organize her own board slate. Announced Jul. 10, the rerun will be Aug. 12. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 07/09/98 & 07/11/98]

Lazy Unions In Springfield, IL
Poor work habits by … Read More ➡

AFL-CIO’s Candidate Evades Sanctions

Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Poshard (D-IL) will not face sanctions for improperly handling contributions from the AFL-CIO. Poshard’s campaign “acknowledged it failed to properly report nearly $109,000 in advertising on its behalf by the AFL-CIO,” according to State Board of Elections (SBE) documents released Jul. 16. Under an agreement with the IL Republican Party, which filed the complaint, and accepted, by the SBE, Poshard’s campaign will not be punished as long as it doesn’t repeat the violation. [Chicago Daily Herald 07/17/98]

AFL-CIO Attack Ads Roll Again
In a preview of their preferred plan of attack against Republicans, the militant and corrupt Sweeney-Trumka AFL-CIO has started another irresponsible nationwide television campaign. The union ads attack Republicans on the HMO reform/patients rights issue, wrongfully distorting Republican proposals. According to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the union ads are running in at least 9 media markets including Birmingham, Louisville and Boise – very … Read More ➡

MD Senators Bought With $150,000 from UFCW & Others

On Jul. 22, NLPC blasted MD Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Paul S. Sarbanes (D) for becoming mouth-pieces of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the fight against the Giant Foods and Royal Ahold merger. Mikulski & Sarbanes have taken $153,700 in political action committee (PAC) contributions since the 1980 elections from union organizations which have a vested interest in Giant Foods. “It should be no surprise why Mikulski & Sarbanes entered the fray on the side of the unions,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. “They’ve been bought and paid for with union PAC money. When union bosses crack the whip, the politicians shamelessly obey — especially when tens of thousands of dollars are involved.”
 
UFCW Local 27 President Buddy Mays issued a media released on Jul. 14, in which he accused Royal Ahold of secretly targeting only unionized Giant stores for divestiture as a way … Read More ➡

2 Plead Guilty to AFSCME Embezzlement Scheme

Two union bosses of the American Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees pled guilty Jul. 23 to embezzlement charges, admitting to stealing over $830,000 from union coffers. From 1991 to 1996, Thomas W. Waters and Barbara T. Wood embezzled funds while employees at AFSCME’s District Council 20 which represents 6,700 employees from the Washington, D.C. government, American Red Cross & Howard University Hospital. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Waters opened a secret bank account in the union’s name and had dues checks deposited into the account. Then both used the unions members’ money for personal expenses. They also took money from another AFSCME account. Waters, Council 20’s secretary-treasurer, admitted taking more than $761,000 and faces a 3-year prison term. A U.S. District Court Judge ordered Waters jailed immediately after his guilty plea, saying he was a danger to the community. Wood, the finance director, admitted taking $73,500 and … Read More ➡

Hoekstra Victorious in Obtaining UNITE Records

On Jul. 15, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) finally got the documents from the Mademoiselle Knitwear Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Hoekstra’s committee is investigating how well workers are protected under current labor law. The documents contain information about liquidated damage payments made by Liz Claiborne, former Mademoiselle customer, to the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textiles Employees. UNITE initially contested Hoekstra subpoenas for the records which have a confidentiality seal imposed by bankruptcy judge. UNITE agreed to allow Mademoiselle to turn over the documents after 2 weeks of negotiations with Hoekstra’s staff and after court approval on Jul. 13. Liquidated damages are a long-standing feature of apparel union contracts. They are penalties paid by apparel manufacturers when they violate union contracts by using nonunion producers. Mademoiselle has claimed in a lawsuit against Claiborne and UNITE that the charges represented a “bribe” so that Claiborne could get out of obligations to provide … Read More ➡

Rerun Election Funds Still Up in the Air

In the hour-by-hour saga over how the Teamsters’ rerun election will be funded, the latest twist on Jul. 23 came from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK). Stevens, over Subcommittee Chairman Judd Gregg’s (R-NH) objections, endorsed a Justice Department proposal, called by some “the least lousy choice,” that has the taxpayers paying about half of the $8.6 million estimated rerun costs. This comes after the U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein’s multiple deadlines for Justice to secure funding have passed, and after the Teamsters, emboldened by a favorable U.S. Appeals Court ruling, have said they will contribute no more than $1 million towards the rerun. If there is no resolution, Edelstein has no choice but to allow the Teamster to conduct an unsupervised election. This entire sad situation is due to Ron Carey’s 1996 campaign’s $538,100 money-laundering schemes. [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/24/98]

Libel Suit Against Teamsters ContinuesRead More ➡

UAW Settles Racial Harassment Suit for $75K

St. Louis United Auto Workers Local 25 agreed on Jul. 16 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $75,000. The suit contended that the UAW failed to stop “severe and pervasive” harassment of 3 black General Motors supervisors by now-former union boss Robert Wilson in the period 1992-94. The EEOC’s statement called it a “landmark case” and said it was “the first to hold that a federal employment discrimination statute prohibits unions from allowing their officers to racially or sexually harass company managers.” [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/21/98]

Election Fraud Case Stays Secret
A KY judge rejected prosecutors’ bid on Jul. 13 to release secret grand-jury testimony about Gov. Paul Patton’s (D) 1995 campaign, the AFL-CIO and other union groups’ alleged effort to circumvent the spending limit candidates adopt in return for taxpayer financing under an ill-designed law limiting campaign contributions and free speech. … Read More ➡

Funding the WorldCom-MCI Foes?

On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.

Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol … Read More ➡

Boss Gets 1 Year for Embezzlement

On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kellas’ scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]

Union Corruption Studies Available
The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: “Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys” & “The Case Against Public Sector … Read More ➡