Public-sector unions, long accustomed to getting their way, received a rude awakening this morning. By 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that nonmember state and local government employees are not required to pay partial dues (“agency fees”) to a union representing them. The decision overturns over 40 years of union monopoly power now practiced in nearly two dozen states. In so doing, it will hamper the ability of public-employee unions to route dues collections toward political activism. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, stated, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.” Union officials fear that millions of workers now will be able to choose whether or not to pay dues. Frankly, such a prospect should be welcomed, not feared.
An organization hires a certified public accountant as its first line of defense against being sued or ripped off. Salvatore Armao and Karen Auer, respectively, the founder-managing partner and a principal officer of the Garden City (Nassau County), L.I.-based accounting firm Armao LLP, apparently forgot their mission. On June 1, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the pair had been charged in Manhattan federal court with aiding and abetting the embezzlement of over $100,000 from a benefit plan of an unspecified union. Each surrendered to authorities that morning. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, with assistance from the FBI and the Justice Department’s Labor-Management Racketeering Unit.
According to federal prosecutors, Salvatore Armao, 64, a resident of Queens, N.Y., and Karen Auer, 47, a resident of Bethpage, N.Y., had the wrong kind of loyalty to a client. From … Read More ➡
On June 5, Sophia Love, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2751, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore to one count of theft in the sum of $15,548 from the Baltimore union. She had been indicted last August following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On June 1, Keith Franzese, former president of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 275, entered an Alford plea in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Md. to one count of theft in an amount of $67,624 from the Greenbelt, Md.-based union. He had been indicted on multiple counts last November for thefts of a substantially greater sum. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not formally admit to have committed the offense but admits that the evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 29, Charles Webster, former president of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Local 284, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with one count of failing to properly maintain financial records of the Longview-based union. He then pleaded guilty. GMP Local 284 recently reaffiliated itself with the United Steelworkers. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On May 29, Christopher Mulhall, former secretary-treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement from the Hampton union in the amount of $57,310. He had been charged on May 11. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Michael Brown might not have been a player in the Chrysler-United Auto Workers pay-for-play scandal that broke wide open last summer, but he was a knowledgeable spectator all the same. And that didn’t sit well with the feds. On May 25, Brown, formerly Fiat Chrysler’s director of employee relations, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of misprision of a felony in connection with the bribing by Chrysler management of several UAW officials with money and other things of value to drop certain issues during collective bargaining sessions a few years ago. Five other people have pleaded guilty so far. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Brown was aware that certain Fiat Chrysler executives had made or authorized payments to … Read More ➡
On May 22, Roger Harris, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3048, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with one count of wire fraud in the amount of $36,150 against the union, which represents employees of Lompoc federal prison. The indictment follows a joint probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and the Office of Inspector General for each of the Justice Department and the Treasury Department.… Read More ➡
On May 21, Latasha Wilson, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1969, was sentenced in Ramsey County (Minn.) District Court to 20 years of probation and 100 hours of community service for theft of more than $35,000 in funds from the Minneapolis union, which represents employees at the VA hospital in that city. Wilson had pleaded guilty in March after being charged last October of stealing $58,150 during January 2013-December 2015. Although Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, the offenses occurred in neighboring Ramsey County. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
For several years Roland Bedwell was about last person in the world that New York City-area public works contractors wanted to see, especially if they wanted to do their own hiring. He’s now officially out of commission. On May 18, Bedwell, business manager for the Roslyn Heights (Long Island), N.Y.-based United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for extortion of a business owner, one of many several such crimes he masterminded while as a union leader. Bedwell had pleaded guilty last August. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the NYPD.