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.

St. Louis Laborers Ex-President Pleads Guilty, Sentenced

Laborers logoOn April 7, Angela Jones, former president of Laborers International Union of North America Local 509, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to making false entries in financial records of the St. Louis union. She then was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Jones, 36, a resident of St. Louis, had been charged in February with covering up theft of $5,000 in local funds. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Postal Workers Treasurer in Louisiana Sentenced

Postal Workers logoOn April 1, David Matthis, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 205, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service for embezzlement of $5,472.61 from the Alexandria union. He pled guilty in December. In addition to serving his sentence, Matthis will have to pay restitution in the amount of $7,222.57, a fine of $7,000 and a special assessment of $100. The sentencing follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Tennessee Machinists Local Office Manager Sentenced for Theft

On April 1, Linda Tickle, former office manager of International Association of Machinists Locals 56 and 1458 in Chattanooga, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to five months imprisonment and three years probation for embezzling $40,048.72 in union funds. She also will have to make full restitution and pay a $200 special assessment. Tickle had pleaded guilty in March to two counts of embezzlement. The original two-count indictment of last August indicated the total theft to be $30,173.27. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Teamsters Bookkeeper in Indiana Charged with Embezzlement

On March 30, Stacey Spalding, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 215 in Evansville, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $29,516. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chicago Radio Employees Ex-Local President Pleads Guilty

On March 29, Lawrence White, former president of United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers of America Local 1110, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to causing and concealing false entries in records of the Chicago-based union. He had been charged in September. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NYC Union Boss Theft Plea Could Mean Fat Sentence

Holland Tunnel, Port Authority-managed Daniel Hughes lived large, figuratively and literally. Now the former New York City-area union chieftain is facing a major downsizing in his lifestyle. Hughes, ex-president of Port Authority Field Supervisors Association Local 111-S, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court on June 16 to embezzling nearly $300,000 from the union over the course of a half-decade to finance his seemingly boundless appetite for hookers, gambling and gourmet meals. The union, whose roughly 250 members perform roadwork at Port Authority-managed bridges, tunnels and airports, is for the time being out of money. Hughes is trying to deal with a bigger dilemma: a prison sentence of between 46 and 57 months.

Steelworkers Local Financial Secretary in Georgia Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn March 24, Johnny Banes, former financial secretary for Local 2401 of the United Steelworkers, pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of Cobb County (Georgia) to theft of union funds in the amount of $38,329. He then was sentenced to ten years probation and ordered to pay restitution in the same amount. The union is located in Mableton, a suburb of Atlanta. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Mississippi Security Guards Local President Sentenced for Thefts

On March 23, Ron Quinn, former president of International Guards Union of America Local 123, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to six months home confinement and three years probation for embezzling funds during January-August 2008 from the Port Gibson union. He also will have to pay restitution in the amount of $11,027. He and former local secretary-treasurer Rebecca James pleaded guilty in January after being charged last July. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former President of Chicago-Area Operating Engineers Local Pleads Guilty

Operating engineersOn March 22, Bill Dugan, former president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving concrete feeds from an employer whose employees the 22,000-member Countryside, Ill.-based union represents. He had been charged with a misdemeanor on March 10. Back in 2007, though re-elected for an eighth term, Dugan was sued by dissenting union members for allegedly accepting monthly kickbacks of $100. The guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the Department of Labor and the FBI.

Cincinnati Musicians Union Employees Sentenced for Forgery

On April 23, Britton Russia, an employee of American Federation of Musicians Local 1 in Cincinnati, pleaded guilty in the Hamilton County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas to six counts of forging union checks and was sentenced to one year in jail. A few weeks earlier, on March 16, a fellow local employee, Lavinia Smith, was sentenced to 180 days in jail (suspended) and placed on one year of probation for attempted forgery of union checks. She also will have to make $2,500 in restitution plus court costs. The guilty plea and sentences follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Electrical Workers Official in Pittsburgh Pleads Guilty

IBEW logoOn March 11, David Come, former vice president and assistant business manager for Local 1919 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to submitting false expense vouchers to the Pittsburgh-based union during January 2006-January 2007. He then was sentenced to nine months probation and ordered to pay $2,850.83 in restitution. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Cincinnati AFSCME Local President Indicted for Theft

AFSCME logoOn March 11, Donald Woods, president of Local 217 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was indicted in the Hamilton County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas for theft of at least $500 from the Cincinnati union. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Supreme Court Rules against Two-Member NLRB; Decision May Reopen Disputes

NLRB's Peter Schaumber and Wilma LiebmanThe National Labor Relations Board soon will be back up to five members. But for more than two years it was short by three. Observers wondered how it managed to function. The U.S. Supreme Court last Thursday ruled it shouldn't have. By a 5-4 margin, the High Court ruled that the NLRB, its ranks diminished by congressional gridlock, had violated its statutory authority in deciding cases during that time. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority in New Process Steel v. NLRB (U.S. No. 08-1457), termed the two-member board's operations a "Rube Goldberg-style delegation mechanism...surely a bizarre way for the Board to achieve the authority to decide cases." The decision could reopen up to 600 NLRB decisions. That's a workload the board no doubt wishes it could do without.

NLPC's Horowitz is Featured Expert on American Greed's 'Mob Money' on CNBC Tonight

Horowitz/Mob Money photoDr. Carl Horowitz, director of NLPC’s Organized Labor Accountability Project, is a featured expert on CNBC’s “Mob Money,” a special presentation of “American Greed,” narrated by Stacy Keach. The program premieres tonight at 9PM ET.

I’ve previewed an advance copy of the program and it lives up to its billing. The show performs a real public service by highlighting the relationship between corrupt labor unions and organized crime. Carl provides commentary as the publisher of our newsletter Union Corruption Update, published on line and twice monthly in print.

Painters Local Secretary in Montana Sentenced for Thefts

Painters logoAll things considered, Tammy Smith is a lucky woman. Smith, formerly secretary for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1922, was sentenced on May 19 in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana to serve two and a half years of probation and ordered to pay restitution and a $500 fine for embezzling more than $11,000 in funds from the Billings union. She pleaded guilty in February following a Labor Department investigation.

Locomotive Workers Union President Announces Retirement

Locomotive train The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is about to get its fourth national president in less than three years. Paul Sorrow, head of the Teamsters-affiliated railroad employees union since last November, announced in a letter a few weeks ago that he would be retiring on July 1, making way for current First Vice President Dennis Pierce to take over. Unlike his two predecessors, Sorrow's departure is unrelated to corruption. Sorrow, 63, cited health problems as the reason for departure.

AFSCME Local Treasurer in Ohio Charged with Embezzlement

AFSCME logoOn June 7, Brian R. Wilson, formerly secretary-treasurer of Local 2804 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio with embezzling $10,500. Prosecutors allege that during April-November 2006 Wilson, 39, a resident of Warren, Ohio, made seven unauthorized withdrawals from the union checking account totaling $11,030, using $530 for union expenses and keeping the rest. He also failed to disclose the withdrawals to union officers requesting information for a pending audit. The local represents employees of Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York Stagehands Union Inflates Ticket Prices

IATSE Local One on strike If Broadway shows have gotten unusually expensive, one major reason is the dominant presence of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local One. Not too many people are aware of the power of this 3,000-member stagehands' union. But its leaders have managed to exact enormous concessions from arts management along the Great White Way, and at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and elsewhere. For the bosses, at least, it's been a sweet deal. An article in the Winter 2010 issue of City Journal, a quarterly periodical of the Manhattan Institute, summarizes just how sweet - and why the situation isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Labor Department Slow to Update Prosecutions Listings

U.S. Department of Labor headquarters Readers of Union Corruption Update may have noticed something recently: a shortage of references to criminal investigations by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). That's not a figment of the imagination. The main source of these references - the OLMS website - hasn't been updated in at least three months; the most recent posting concerned a guilty plea entered on March 8. This may well be part of a larger strategy to restrict the flow of information to NLPC and other organizations dedicated to promoting union accountability. Organized labor, after all, is a key source of support for President Obama. And given that knowledge is power, it follows that the less the public knows about labor corruption, the more likely it will flourish. The current administration doesn't want to be on the wrong side of union power.

Deputy Sheriffs' Treasurer in California Accused of Theft; Goes on the Lam

deputy sheriff's badgePolice in Hollister, California want to know where Jason Lei is. Quite a few other people, in fact, want to know. Lei, a former sheriff's deputy in San Benito County (south of San Jose), sometime during or prior to May took flight following charges that he'd embezzled funds from the deputy sheriffs' union where he served as treasurer. Early in the morning of May 14, Hollister police attempted to serve Lei with search and arrest warrants at his home in connection with an ongoing investigation. He wasn't there, but cops did find evidence of a crime along with Lei's personal property.

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