Canada Passes Union Transparency Legislation

Canadian national flagLabor leaders, especially corrupt ones, resent it when outsiders inquire into how member dues are spent.  As in the U.S., this is an observable pattern in Canada.  And as in the U.S., widespread discontent has led to tangible reform.  On June 30, the Canadian Senate voted 35-22 to approve a bill, C-377, to mandate union financial accountability.  The measure, supported though not sponsored by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, had traveled a long road since initial passage by the House of Commons more than three years ago.  The new law will force unions to make available to the public detailed data.  Unions and political supporters are denouncing the legislation as an attack on workers’ rights, and vow to overturn it in court.  Yet the weight of public opinion stands in the way – and with good reason.

Union Corruption Update addressed this issue at length in June 2012.  … Read More ➡

Boston-Area Painters Council Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

painters-union-logoOn June 24, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, was charged in an information count in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with embezzling $40,930 in funds from the Boston union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

North Carolina Postal Workers Local President Sentenced

postal-workers-logoOn May 26, Salvatore Mauro, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1236, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to three years of probation, and ordered to pay $8,831 in restitution plus a $25 assessment, for creating a false financial report on behalf of the Salisbury-based local.  He had pleaded guilty in January shortly after being charged that month.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

AFGE President in Tennessee Sentenced for Theft

On May 18, Shiryll Durham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1687, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to time served for taking and carrying, with the intent to steal, personal property from the Mountain Home (Johnson City) union. He also was ordered to pay $2,640 in restitution and a $25 fine. Durham had pleaded guilty in January after being charged in October 2014. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

New York MTA Police Union President Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

MTA policeOn June 19, John Earvin, former president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers (UFLEO), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to wire fraud in connection with his theft of nearly $50,000 from the Bellerose, Long Island, N.Y.-based union. He had been arrested and indicted in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Prosecutors had charged that Earvin had used his union ATM card to make hundreds of unauthorized cash withdrawals. UFLEO represents Special Inspectors for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.… Read More ➡

Carpenters Secretary in Washington State Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On June 11, John Jones, former financial secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to embezzling more than $12,000 from the Spokane-based union.  The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

New York School Bus Drivers Boss Sentenced for Violating Ban

School busPerhaps this latest sentence should convince Warren Annunziata of his lack of a future in organized labor. On June 19, Annunziata, founder and former longtime president of United Craft and Industrial Workers Union Local 91, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $126,858 in forfeiture and a $100,000 fine, for running a union-sponsored benefit fund despite having been banned from union activity due to an earlier conviction. He had pleaded guilty to extortion last November following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update more than once has covered the doings of Mr. Annunziata, a resident of Roslyn Heights, Long Island, N.Y., who recently turned 80. Several years ago, an FBI investigation, in response to anonymous complaints, had concluded … Read More ➡

Amtrak Union Treasurer in New York Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Fraternal Order of Police logoEric Givens’ job was to keep order on the nation’s passenger railroad. Unfortunately, he thought it also included stealing union money.  On June 24, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of embezzling at least $100,000 from the New York-based labor organizations. Givens, an Amtrak police officer, had been arrested and charged last June with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement, and indicted three weeks later. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Amtrak Police Office of Internal Affairs.

According to prosecutors, Givens, 52, a resident of East Stroudsburg, Pa. and an Amtrak cop since 1997, began to steal union funds around 2008. He … Read More ➡

SAG Denies Hollywood Ex-Stuntwoman Her Due Benefits

SAG logoLeslie Hoffman has jumped off boats, fallen down stairs, and involved herself in more car crashes than she would like to remember. But when it comes to receiving compensation from her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Pension and Health Plan, the former movie and TV stuntwoman can’t buy a break. A federal appeals court over a year ago ordered plan administrators to reconsider their denial of her injury claims, but she has yet to receive a dime. Articles in the June 18 and June 24 issues of Deadline Hollywood have highlighted her travails, noting her case may be a turning point in the way SAG and its affiliate union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), treat stunt performers. “It’s a disgrace,” says Hoffman’s lawyer, Charles Fleishman. “She worked her whole life, and then nobody wants to be bothered with her.”

Stunt work for movies and television, whether … Read More ➡

Teachers Union Treasurer in New Jersey Pleads Guilty to Theft

nea-logoTeachers unions during the past decade have known their share of scandal.  Add the case of Wayne Wedderman Jr. to the list.  This Monday, June 29, Wedderman, treasurer of the Barnegat Education Association, pleaded guilty in Ocean County, New Jersey Superior Court to theft from the union.  He had been arrested last November for stealing roughly a combined $23,000 from two union accounts in the wake of a county probe begun the previous month.  A grand jury in February subsequently indicted Wedderman on two counts of theft and one count of computer theft.  Sentencing is scheduled for September.

Prosecutors had alleged that Wedderman, 42, a resident of Lacey Township, N.J., and athletic director at Barnegat High School, wrote unauthorized checks to himself and family members from an account of the Barnegat Education Association, an affiliate of the New Jersey Education Association, in turn an affiliate of the National Education Association.  … Read More ➡