Workers might not like being forced to pay dues to a union, but they should be grateful anyway because they see more on their paychecks – so goes a common justification offered by union officials for such coercion. Yet a new Heritage Foundation Issue Brief makes a convincing case that this view leaves out at least as much as it includes. The author, Heritage fellow and labor issues analyst James Sherk, concludes that after fully taking into account the cost of living, private-sector wages in states with Right to Work laws (i.e., laws barring forced dues payments) are not significantly different from those in states without such laws. Moreover, while Right to Work laws do slightly reduce public employee pay, they also save taxpayers money. The study is at once a sequel and a rebuke to one published in April by the Left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
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On August 20, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to five months of incarceration, to be followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $31,528. Trembulak had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted in July 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 18, Karen McJimpson, former executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 4004, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling about $19,000 in funds from the Detroit union. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The good old days of union nepotism never really went away – not in Chicago anyway. According to published sources, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727, long a virtual candy store for boss John Coli Sr. (in photo, on right) and extended family, has been providing lavish compensation for a law firm whose managing partner is one of Coli’s sons. The firm has been busy as of late. In July, a Cook County judge ruled that the elder Coli and Teamsters Local 700, of which he is a trustee, were jointly liable for $2.3 million for breaking a building lease. That’s not even taking into account a now-dismissed RICO suit charging the Colis and Local 727 with stiffing a funeral employee pension plan out of contributions. If the family needs allies, it knows where to look, especially Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
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Jerry Thomas Vincent Jr. hasn’t run his union for four years. But the experience continues to catch up with him. On August 17, Vincent, formerly president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to one count of embezzling $17,272.84 in funds during 2009-11 from the Louisville-based union and 13 counts of falsifying records to cover up the thefts. Vincent had been indicted in July 2014 for committing thefts totaling this amount and for receiving $23,760 in unauthorized loans. He is scheduled for sentencing in December. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 19, Kenneth Vanderwyst, former vice president and then president of the Fairbanks chapter of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska with embezzling $9,541 from a union account from late 2012 through April 7, 2015. He also was charged with fraud in the amount of $5,535.55 over a one-year period via use of gift cards and an access device. The charges follow a Labor Department investigation and a grand jury indictment.
Vanderwyst, 54, a resident of Fairbanks, has problems besides an apparent impulse to steal. Back in December 2013, he had been issued a summons for an incident occurring three months earlier. According to court records, Vanderwyst, highly upset that another motorist had honked his horn at him (after Vanderwyst had cut him off in traffic), followed the other driver back to his home, and once having … Read More ➡
Betty Martin and Duane Rush saw their union as an open cash register. Now their case is closed. On June 5, Martin and Rush, respectively, the former president and vice president of the Transportation Aides of Buffalo, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to bank fraud. The pair had stolen a combined more than $120,000 in funds from the Buffalo-based labor organization, which represents school bus aides employed by the City of Buffalo. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
Martin, 54, and Rush, 44, each a resident of Buffalo, served at their union posts during 2006-13. During much of that time, say prosecutors, they also enriched themselves by embezzling member dues. Martin stole $61,746, and Rush stole $59,683, through unauthorized debit card usage, cash withdrawals and checks from the union bank … Read More ➡
On July 9, Raul Mascote, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 2458, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with one count of embezzling $62,263 in funds from the Minooka, Ill. (near Joliet) union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
On August 12, Jesus Gonzales, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 300, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with one count of embezzlement of $6,720 in funds from the Lansing-based union and one count of falsifying union records. The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡
Heather Banhidy isn’t likely to pursue a career with her union any further. On August 12, Banhidy, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 120, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on one count of embezzlement of $13,906 in funds from the Cleveland-based union and one count of falsifying union records. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Prosecutors allege that Banhidy, 50, a resident of Olmsted Township, Ohio, during approximately December 2011 through September 2013, stole union funds by way of falsification, concealment, withholding and destruction of financial records. No information is available yet as to whether she will plead guilty.
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