Union Corruption Update

Since 1997, NLPC has become a high-profile and credible source for information about America’s labor unions through our publication Union Corruption Update.

The newsletter has been referenced in many other media outlets including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and National Journal.

The $15 an Hour Minimum Wage: A Bad Idea with a Union Label

$15 an hour minimum wage rallyIt began at the fringes.  And almost at warp speed, the campaign for a $15 an hour federal minimum wage has taken center stage.  The Democratic Party has made it part of its platform.  Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton all but supports it.  Her intraparty rival, Bernie Sanders, is sponsoring a bill to achieve it.  Cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C., plus the states of California and New York, have passed laws to phase it in.  Heavily driven by organized labor, supporters insist a $15 an hour minimum is way overdue.  The current $7.25 an hour, they say, has not kept pace with the cost of living, driving many Americans into poverty.  This claim is off-base.  And their legislation, if fully realized, would leave a trail of unemployment and shuttered businesses.  In some places, this has begun to happen.

Security Professionals Secretary in Kentucky Indicted

SPFPA logoOn July 14, Laura Cloyd, former financial secretary of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 112, was indicted in Campbell Court (Ky.) Circuit Court with theft by failure to make required disposition of private property in an amount of at least $500.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit-Area SPFPA Boss Indicted for Embezzlement

Security Professionals logoOn July 14, Devon Madray, president of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) Local 119, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for embezzling around $20,000 in funds from the Roseville, Mich. (Macomb County)-based union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Washington, D.C. AFGE Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

AFGE logoOn July 15, Marcella Champion, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1831, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the federal government security guards union.  She also was ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and pay $19,152 in restitution on top of the $2,000 she already paid.  Champion had pleaded guilty in May to one count of theft in the sum of $4,130 after being charged last November.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.   

 

Ex-President of AFGE Local in Westchester County, N.Y. Sentenced

AFGE logoWilliam Davis has found out the consequences of debit card fraud.  On July 21, Davis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1119, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release in connection with his theft of more than $120,000 in funds from the Montrose (Westchester County), N.Y.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment.  Davis had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in April after being charged last October.  The actions follow a joint investigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.

Longshoremen Financial Secretary in Texas Sentenced

Longshoremen's logoOn July 1, Elmer Ray Booker, former financial secretary of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1530, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to five years of probation for embezzling $42,018 in funds from the Houston union.  He also was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and pay $39,517 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment.  Booker had pleaded guilty this February after being indicted in March 2015.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  

Los Angeles-Area Steelworkers Local Officials Indicted for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn July 1, Joan Dutton and Tatia Clark, respectively, former president and former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 2801, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a four-count indictment for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, embezzlement, and concealment in relation to their theft of $15,935 in funds from the Signal Hill, Calif.-based union.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. 

SEIU, State of Minnesota Pick Pockets of Home Care Workers

Home care providerIn Minnesota, labor unions might qualify as a separate branch of government.  Governor Mark Dayton, for one, wouldn’t object. Three years ago the State of Minnesota enacted a law opening the door to unionizing private home care providers for the disabled.  The law soon seemed destined for oblivion.  In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Harris v. Quinn, ruled that an Illinois law forcing home care workers to pay union dues violated their free speech rights.  That these employees received a portion of their incomes from state Medicaid funds, concluded the Court, should not subject them to a public-sector labor agreement.  Yet the Minnesota law’s supporters have kept up their efforts, winning an SEIU representation vote in August 2014 and losing an AFSCME vote in March of this year.  

Los Angeles-Area Machinists Financial Secretary Sentenced

Machinists logo On July 18, Oscar Luevano, former financial secretary-treasurer of Transportation Communications Union (TCU) Local Lodge 5050, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to eight months of home confinement and five years of probation for embezzling funds from the Covina (Los Angeles County)-based union in the amount of $132,939.  He also was ordered to pay $104,410 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.  Luevano had pleaded guilty on March 30, five days after being charged.  TCU is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Maintenance of Way Secretary in Illinois Charged; Pleads Guilty

BMWE logoOn June 30, Michael Schofield, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 1046, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to falsifying financial records in order to conceal embezzlement of $31,850 in funds during 2012-13 from the Plainfield, Ill. union.  Schofield had been charged in a one-count information a week earlier.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Local IATSE Treasurer in Detroit Charged with Embezzlement

IATSE logoOn June 16, Bernadine Bell, former treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 757, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with an information count of embezzling roughly $73,000 in funds from the Detroit union.  The charge follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Insulators Local Bookkeeper in Alabama Charged with Thefts

Heat and Frost Insulators logoOn June 29, Michelle Clifton, former office manager/bookkeeper for International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 78, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama with one count of embezzlement in the amount of $23,014 from the Irondale (suburban Birmingham), Ala.-based construction trades union, plus 17 counts of forged securities and two counts of making fraudulent statements.  The 20-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Massachusetts Contractors Indicted for $2M+ LIUNA Double-Breasting Scheme

LIUNA logoEmployees of Christopher and Kimberly Thompson were being had, even if most weren’t aware of it until the hammer came down.  On January 26, the Thompsons, operators of a Boston-area asbestos removal company, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on 18 counts of mail fraud, 18 counts of benefit fraud and one count of embezzlement in a scheme to defraud members of a Laborers local out of more than $2 million in promised benefits.  The case has all the appearances of double-breasting.  Following their arrest, the couple pleaded not guilty in February and currently are free on bond.  As of this writing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office website indicates no subsequent action.  The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Missouri Steelworkers Local Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn June 22, Terry Aters, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 7689, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to three consecutive weekends in prison, six months in a location monitoring program and five years of probation for embezzling $153,434 from the Marston, Mo.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment.  Aters had pleaded guilty in March after being indicted last October.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer in Missouri Pleads Guilty

Letter Carriers logoOn June 22, John McCain, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2016, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of embezzling $30,948 in funds from the Poplar Bluff-based union.  McCain had been indicted in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.   

Boston Officials Indicted for Extortion on Behalf of IATSE Local

Boston City HallLocal government officials can be very creative when it comes to coaxing contractors to hire union labor.  And their methods aren’t necessarily legal.  On May 17, Kenneth Brissette, director of tourism, sports and entertainment for the City of Boston, was indicted by a federal grand jury for extortion; two days later he was arrested.  And on June 29, Brissette, along with Timothy Sullivan, City chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, received superseding indictments.  The defendants allegedly had required a concert promoter a couple of years ago that it would have to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 in order to receive the necessary permits.  The indictments follow a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Charged with Theft

AFGE logoOn June 22, Carlton Woodcox, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2150, was charged in Dubois County Superior Court (Indiana) on two information counts of theft totaling $32,787.  He then was arrested on June 24.  Woodcox, 56, a resident of Jasper, allegedly made unauthorized ATM withdrawals from a union account on 117 separate occasions.  The local represents employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for various plants in southern Indiana.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Suburban Chicago Contractor Execs Plead Guilty to Wage and Benefit Fraud

Road construction laborersContractors over the years have devised numerous ways of fleecing unionized workers out of their wages and benefits.  Joseph Lampignano and John Traversa probably rank as among the more creative of the bunch.  On June 3, Lampignano, co-owner and vice president of a Chicago-area construction firm, A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud for the purpose of facilitating a scheme to avoid paying workers about $2.6 million in wage and benefit contributions.  Traversa, the company superintendent, pleaded guilty that same day to one count of lying to investigators.  Each had been charged on May 18.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the Labor Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Fort Knox Civilian Technicians Secretary Charged; Pleads Guilty

Fort KnoxOn June 22, Steve Hartman, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in an information count with forgery totaling $2,173 against the Fort Knox, Ky.-based union.  He then pleaded guilty.  Hartman is the second person in his position accused of stealing.  In February 2015, Thomas Wilson, a former Chapter 83 secretary-treasurer, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the union in an amount of more than $10,000.  In each case the charge followed a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer in North Carolina Pleads Guilty

AFGE logoOn June 13, Benjamin Stancil, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 451, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to four counts of wire fraud against the Havelock, N.C. (near New Bern) union.  He had been charged in February.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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