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.

Central Illinois Transportation Union Local Secretary Sentenced

Passenger trainOn February 4, Kevin Hunt, former secretary-treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 198 in Peoria, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to one year of probation and was ordered to pay a $500 fine and a $25 assessment for filing false information in an annual financial report. He pled guilty in October. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Wisconsin Maintenance of Way Secretary Sentenced for Embezzling, False Record-Keeping

On February 11, Frank Kmiec, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 2857, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one year probation, the first six months of which would be served in home confinement, for making false entries in union records in connection with his embezzlement of $19,461.39 in union funds. He had pleaded guilty in November. The local is based in Genoa City, Wisconsin (Kenosha County), just north of Illinois. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Staff Union Treasurer in Los Angeles Area Sentenced for Theft

On February 7, Joan Boucher, former treasurer of Staff Union Local 399, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to five years probation, including six months of home detention, for embezzling $26,990 in funds from the Montebello, Calif. (Los Angeles County) union. She also will have to make full restitution and defray the cost of her electronic monitoring bracelet. Boucher was indicted in April 2010 for embezzling $11,845, or some $15,000 less than the true amount. The sentencing follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. The Staff Union represents employees of the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization, which is part of the United Nations.

Montana Plumbers Local Secretary Pleads Guilty to Thefts

PlumberProblem gambling has been the downfall of more than one labor official in this country. You can add Teresa Wilson to the long and growing list. Wilson, formerly office manager of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 41, pleaded guilty on May 16 in Missoula, Montana federal court to stealing a combined sum of anywhere from $171,300 to $219,319 from the local and the Central Labor Council (CLC). She had been indicted on March 21 for embezzlement, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing is set for September 7 during which time she remains free. She faces up to 30 years in prison.

Former Ohio Local Electrical Workers President Charged

Electrical workers logoOn January 28, Rodney Amspaugh, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1853 in Newark, Ohio, was charged in Licking County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas with theft in the amount of $2,227.39. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Employee in Southwest Virginia Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn January 28, Elizabeth George, former recording secretary and disaster relief benefits committee member for Local 9336 of the United Steelworkers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to time served in prison of five months and four days, plus three years probation. She also was ordered to pay $4,275.56 in restitution to the Radford-based union and a $125 court assessment. The sentencing follows a joint probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Detroit Steelworkers Ex-President Sentenced for Records Fraud

Steelworkers logoOn January 27, Andrew Blackmon, former president of United Steelworkers Local 842, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to two years of probation for falsifying records of the Detroit union. She also will have to pay $2,055.78 in restitution and a $25 special assessment. Blackmon pled guilty in July. He previously had made restitution in the amount of $510. The sentencing and guilty plea follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Obama Withdraws Nomination of Paul Tiao for DOL Inspector General

U.S. Department of Labor headquartersAs the Department of Labor's top cop, Paul Tiao would have been uncomfortably close to the unions he would investigate. That's why he didn't get the job. Last Monday on May 9 President Obama withdrew Tiao's name from consideration as DOL Inspector General (IG) rather than subject him to a Senate Judiciary Committee grilling or install him via one-year recess appointment.

NLRB's Boeing Decision Sparks Senate Response

Boeing DreamlinerThe decision last month by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to side with a union trying to block Boeing Co. from operating in South Carolina has entered a new stage: the U.S. Senate. And the implications extend far beyond South Carolina. Last week, on May 12, Senators Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced a bill, the Job Protection Act (S. 964), to bar the board from overriding an employer's decision to site a facility in a particular state. The measure, which has at least 34 co-sponsors, is a rebuke to NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon's complaint against Boeing on April 20 that the company had acted unfairly against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in opening a facility near Charleston, S.C. to build its planned "787 Dreamliner" jet.

AFSCME Ex-President in Detroit Area Sentenced for Theft

AFSCME logoOn February 15, Deidra Lucas, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 100, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to time already served (one day) and three years supervised probation for embezzling $5,283.20 in funds from the Pontiac-based hospital workers union. She also will have to pay $39,403 in restitution and complete 50 hours of community service. She had been indicted in December 2009 and pleaded guilty in October 2010. During December 2004-July 2007, prosecutors charged, Lucas had fraudulently obtained $38,803.72 in local funds. The sentencing follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

GM's Capital Outlays Dictated by Politics, Not Economics

green GM logoGeneral Motors recently announced a couple of more ways to freely spend taxpayer money. While GM boasts of "investing" in politically-correct "green" initiatives and makes misleading job "creation or preservation" claims, shareholders continue to be neglected as share price languishes below the IPO price. Although GM seems to dislike the nickname of "Government Motors", its actions belie the company's perceived desire to run a profitable, publicly-owned corporation.

Southern Region Laborers Benefits Manager Pleads Guilty to Massive Embezzlement

LIUNA logoMaybe Theresa Waters must have thought that union benefits referred to union funds that could benefit her. Waters, a former administrative assistant for the South Central Laborers Training and Apprenticeship Fund, pleaded guilty on Monday, April 18 in Baton Rouge federal court to one count of embezzling nearly $500,000 over four years in benefits intended for employees of unionized contractors in five states. In return for her guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not to pursue additional charges against her. A sentencing date has not yet been set. She faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a restitution order.

Bailed-Out GM is NOT Adding 4,200 Jobs

Once again, the media is uncritically reporting inaccurate claims by General Motors. GM says it is creating 4,200 jobs by spending $2 billion of taxpayer money on plant investments, but it is using the same misleading calculations employed by the Obama administration about job creation through the stimulus program. GM states that it will "invest" $2 billion, thereby "creating OR preserving" more than 4,000 jobs at 17 facilities. In other words, GM is equating keeping people employed in their present jobs with job creation.

Kentucky Letter Carriers Local President Charged with Embezzlement

On January 27, Max Messamore, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2039 in Somerset, Ky., was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky with embezzling $2,293.77 in union funds. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Auto Workers Treasurer in Delaware Charged with Records Fraud

Auto workersOn January 25, James Hunter, formerly treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 1542, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware with one count of making a false entry in financial records of the Newark-based union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Treasurer in Chicago Charged with False Record-Keeping; Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn February 28, Sylvester Knight, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2154, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of making false entries in financial records of the Chicago union. He had been charged on January 21. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Mississippi Food & Commercial Workers Local Official Pleads Guilty, Receives Sentence

Food and Commercial Workers logoOn April 8, Patsy Fontenot, former international representative for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 790C, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to one year of probation for embezzling $6,943.15 from the Lena, Miss.-based union during November 2002-March 2006. She also was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Fontenot pled guilty on January 20. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NLRB Sues Boeing; Seeks End to Commercial Jet Production in South Carolina

787 Dreamliner photoThe National Labor Relations Board must have a broad definition of "coercion" when it comes to employers. With unions, the standard seems a lot narrower. On April 20, the board filed a 10-page complaint (see pdf) against Boeing alleging the company's decision in 2009 to locate its second assembly plant in South Carolina represented illegal retaliation against employees belonging to the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM).

Detroit Mayor Seeks Concessions from Unions; Threatens Receivership

Dave Bing photoDave Bing, the mayor of Detroit, knows all about performing under pressure before a crowd. As a Hall of Fame point guard with the Detroit Pistons, he routinely went up against the NBA's best. But as that debt-ridden city's mayor for the last two years, he's become embroiled in a potentially cataclysmic showdown with its four dozen public employee unions. Presenting his proposed 2011-12 budget to the city council before a packed house on April 12, Bing declared that municipal workers must contribute more toward union-negotiated health and pension plans.

Secretary-Treasurer of Arkansas Maintenance of Way Local Pleads Guilty

On April 15, Michael Curry, formerly secretary-treasurer of Local Lodge 1127 of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas to stealing funds from the Texarkana union. According to prosecutors, Curry made unauthorized check withdrawals to himself totaling $6,996.55 from the union bank account to pay off delinquent mortgage and car loans. Released on his own recognizance, he faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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