New Study Tallies Longshoremen Costs; Calls for Bargaining Alternative

Two and a half years ago, the International Longshoremen's Association was digging in for a strike that could have crippled shipping along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.  The strike didn't happen.  Yet the union power that led to the impasse remains.  The Manhattan Institute has some ideas about how to avert future such showdowns.  Last month it published a paper, “Held Hostage:  U.S. Ports, Labor Unrest, and the Threat to National Commerce,” arguing that strikes and slowdowns, or the threat of them, impose high costs.  Written by Institute Senior Fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the report cites federal labor law as the main culprit, concluding Congress should shift responsibility for collective bargaining oversight from the National Labor Relations Board to the National Mediation Board.

The importance of the maritime industry to the U.S. economy hardly can be underestimated.  Seaports and other shipping transfer points accounted for $1.75 trillion worth of … Read More ➡

Transportation Union Treasurer in Houston Pleads Guilty to Theft

smart-logoOn April 24, Henry Shuler, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union (SMART Transportation Division) Local 1892, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to one count of embezzling $40,118 in funds over a six-year period from the Houston-based union.  Prosecutors had charged that Shuler, now 65, a resident of Houston, wrote union checks for purchases from Sam’s Club and masked other funds as “dues” repayments to nonexistent local members.  He had been charged in February following an internal audit and a subsequent investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  He is set for sentencing in July.… Read More ➡

Security Officers Union President Charged with Embezzling $300K+

Security guardOn March 30, Assane Faye, founder and president of the United Security & Police Officers Association (USPOA), was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on two counts of embezzlement of union funds and seven counts of unemployment fraud. Prosecutors say that Mr. Faye, an ethnic Senegalese, since 2010 stole more than $300,000 from the Washington, D.C.-based union. The indictment follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡

Feds Probe Free-Spending Boilermakers Local in Pittsburgh

Boilermaker at workWhen it comes to living large, no union is quite the match for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.  And the IBB appears to be setting an example for its local affiliates.  Late last month, KDKA, the CBS television affiliate for the Pittsburgh area, confirmed that the FBI has launched an investigation of the Pittsburgh-based Boilermakers Local 154.  The union, which represents more than 2,000 welders, pipefitters and other construction workers, may have diverted as much as $1 million in member dues for unauthorized expenditures during the three most recent fiscal years.  The probe is based on financial reports submitted to the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Union Corruption Update back in May 2012 discussed at length the extravagant salaries and benefits enjoyed by board members, officers and staff at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers’ home base in Kansas City, Kansas.  The article, based on an expose by the … Read More ➡

Illinois Laborers Local Bookkeeper Indicted for Embezzlement

liuna logoCarolyn Hall took around a year and a half to have the law of averages catch up.  On or about April 24, Hall, former bookkeeper for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1197, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois with embezzling $26,491 in cash receipts from the union, which represents construction and other workers in southern counties of the state.  Prosecutors allege Hall, 53, a resident of McLeansboro, Ill., during July 2012-February 2014 stole cash receipts from member dues and used the funds to cover personal expenses.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

New Bill Would Ban Mandatory Project Labor Agreements

In the construction industry, nothing exemplifies union monopoly, and its costs, quite like a Project Labor Agreement. A new proposal before Congress, the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, would protect contractors from intrusion by organized labor upon contractual liberty. Sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La. (H.R. 1671, S. 71), the measure would bar the use of these agreements on federally-sponsored or subsidized public works.  In promoting open competition in bidding, hiring and other aspects of project labor, it effectively would overturn President Obama’s Executive Order 13502. Issued in February 2009, that order “encouraged” federal agencies to require such pacts on a case-by-case basis on projects of $25 million or more.

A Project Labor Agreement, or PLA, is a job-specific, pre-hire collective bargaining contract attached to a large-scale public works project, such a highway, a dam, a school or an arena. When required by … Read More ➡

New Bill Would Ban ‘Official Time’ for Unionized Federal Workers

rep-jody-hiceFor decades, federal employees have used working hours to conduct union business, effectively forcing taxpayers to cover the costs of activity unrelated to job responsibilities. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga. (in photo), thinks this practice, known as ‘official time,’ is due for an overhaul. On March 26, Hice unveiled the Federal Employee Accountability Act (H.R. 1658). The bill, which has gathered more than 15 House co-sponsors, would bar unionized federal workers from engaging in bargaining or arbitration while on agency time. “After examining the practices of over 60 government agencies,” said Hice, “my office has found an astounding amount of government waste. By eliminating the ‘official time’ practice, we will return over $1 billion to hardworking American taxpayers, and shed this shady, wasteful practice that only benefits unions.”

The use of official time has its roots in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. A section of this Carter-era legislation authorized … Read More ➡

SMART Financial Secretary in Washington State Pleads Guilty

utu-logoOn March 20, Alfonso Rodriguez, former financial secretary of SMART (formerly United Transportation Union) Local 117, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Washington to one count of false reporting in connection with his theft of funds from the Southworth (Kitsap County), Washington-based union.  He also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $34,601.  Sentencing is set for June.  The plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

New York MTA Police Union President Charged in Theft

MTA inspectorsIt’s a familiar story: A union official with a gambling problem steals from the till to cover personal losses. On March 31, John Earvin, former president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers (UFLEO), was arrested by federal agents for embezzling nearly $50,000 over more than three years from the Bellerose (Nassau County, Long Island), N.Y.-based union, which represents Special Inspectors at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He had been indicted on one count of wire fraud the previous day in Manhattan federal court following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Earvin, now 67, a resident of New Rochelle (Westchester County), N.Y., served as UFLEO president during February 2007-April 2010. Unfortunately, say prosecutors, he used his position during that time to embezzle from union coffers. According to the indictment, Earvin used his union ATM card to make hundreds of cash withdrawals totaling $48,012 … Read More ➡

Laborers Secretary-Treasurer in Oklahoma Charged; Pleads Guilty

liuna logoOn March 26, Michael Low, former secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 2097, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to one count of making a false statement in financial records of the Oklahoma City union in connection with his embezzlement of $12,937.  He then pleaded guilty.  The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

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