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.

President of CWA Affiliate in New York City Sentenced

Times Square at night On January 5, Wayne Mitchell, former longtime president of Communications Workers of America Local 14170, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to two years in federal prison to be followed by three years supervised release for embezzling funds from the New York City union, also known as Mailers Local 6, which represents mailroom employees at several area daily newspapers. He also will have to pay restitution in the amount of $373,555. Mitchell pleaded guilty in April 2010. During October 2004-May 2008, prosecutors charged, he wrote himself about $250,000 worth of payroll checks to himself and diverted more than $100,000 in union funds for personal expenses. Mitchell's successor, Larry DeAngelis, also pled guilty last April to embezzling some $60,000 in union funds.

Arkansas Steelworkers Local Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn March 2, Peggy Bolen, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 898, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas for embezzling $61,541 in funds from the Redfield, Ark.-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transit Union Secretary in South Dakota Indicted for Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

On April 21, Terri Dunkelberger, former financial secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1356, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota to one count of a superseding indictment of embezzling $11,648.98 from the Sioux Falls-based union. She had been indicted on March 2 on charges of stealing more than $4,000, which was in addition to her indictment in June 2010 for theft of $24,148.98 in union funds. The charges and guilty plea follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit-Area AFSCME President Charged with Records Fraud; Pleads Guilty

AFSCME logoOn May 2, William Edwards, former president of Local 1820 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with willfully failing to maintain accurate records of lost time claims made by him and others resulting in him receiving $3,656.02 in unauthorized funds from the Pontiac union. He had been charged on March 1. The guilty plea and charge follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Obama Ballyhoos Auto Bailout as Economy Tanks

GM logoToday's jobs' report raises worries that the US may be headed for a double dip recession. Jobs creation was much lower than expected and the unemployment rate rose to 9.1%. And where is President Obama? Traveling to Ohio to brag about how many jobs were saved by spending billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out the auto industry. Oh well, Nero fiddled, Obama campaigns. While Obama tries to convince the majority of people who will be voting in 2012 that auto bailouts are a wonderful thing, individual investors in General Motors should consider the specific risks the company faces if the economy does not improve.

Ex-Treasurer of AFSCME Local in Wisconsin Pleads Guilty, Sentenced

AFSCME logoOn May 11, Shari Birch, former treasurer of Local 1760-A of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin to two years probation, six months to be served in home detention, and pay full restitution for embezzling $16,734 from the Superior union. She pleaded guilty on February 25. The plea and sentencing follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Texas Carpenters Office Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

On February 25, Freida Carter-London, former office manager of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 1421, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to five years probation for embezzling $99,178 from the Arlington, Tex. union. She also will have to pay full restitution. She pleaded guilty in November. The plea and sentencing follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Ohio Sentenced for Theft

AFSCME logoOn February 25, Kandy Dunfee, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 11, Chapter 3020, was sentenced in the Guernsey County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas to 11 months in prison, with each count running concurrently (suspended), and placed on probation for three years for theft and forgery from the Cambridge-based union. She also will have to make full restitution in the amount of $1,074.60. Dunfee pled guilty in January. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Bailed-Out GM Relies on Incentives; Volt Sales Underwhelm

General Motors shares fell 5% on Wednesday after May auto sales figures were reported. Most auto manufacturers were hit as sales for the industry fell pretty much across the board. Excuses for the industry shortfall ranged from higher prices for vehicles to Japan parts shortages. GM cannot claim the latter, since they earlier declared that there were no issues with parts supplies. The one telling statistic on GM is one that was not reported in most of the media coverage, which was the fact that incentives at the automaker were, once again, well above industry averages.

Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Ban

Union demonstrators in WisconsinThere is nothing unusual about a judge invalidating a law on procedural grounds. But the ruling last week overturning Wisconsin's new law restricting collective bargaining rights for state and local government employees might even fall short on a technicality test. Supporters of embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker are saying as much in the wake of Dane County (Madison) Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi's decision last Thursday, May 26 that the conference session to move the legislation to a full-floor Senate vote this March violated the state's Open Meetings Law.

GM Admits that Dealerships are Taking Chevy Volt Tax Credits

Chevy Volt photoAutomobilemag.com reports that General Motors has responded to my report questioning whether dealerships are gaming Chevy Volt tax credits. Chevy Volt spokesperson, Rob Peterson, states that "NLPC is confused." He then goes on to confirm that the dealerships purchasing Chevy Volts and reselling them as used vehicles are entitled to the $7,500 tax credit. Clearly, it is GM that is confused, considering that this was the main point of my report.

Are GM Dealerships Gaming Chevy Volt Tax Credit?

Volt photoI recently set out to determine how honest General Motors is being when it claims that demand for the Chevy Volt is exceeding supply. It was not hard to discover that this is not the case as retail sales remain dismal. A web search on vehicle locator sites such as Autotrader and Cars.com exhibit sufficient supply of the Volt, one dealership within 70 miles of my location had six new Volts available for sale.

Carpenters Financial Secretary in Oregon Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

CarpentersOn February 23, Charles Owens, former financial secretary for Local 2791 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to falsifying union records in an effort to conceal his theft of $65,791. He had been indicted for embezzlement from the Scio (near Albany), Ore.-based union in March 2010. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New Mexico Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer Charged with Theft

On February 22, Kasey McCalmon, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1509, was charged in the Magistrate Court for the State of New Mexico with embezzlement of $5,330.24 in funds from the Silver City union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Unions Are Major Recipients of Obama Health Care Waivers

Doctors in conferenceWhen President Obama in March 2010 signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), the nation's most expensive social legislation in decades, he announced, "The bill I'm signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see." Yet what the law seems to have set in motion is a rush to obtain exemptions from group coverage requirements.

Massachusetts Steelworkers Local President Charged with Theft

Steelworkers logoOn February 16, Stephen Andros, president of United Steelworkers Local 2936, was charged in Worcester County, Massachusetts District Court with five counts of larceny totaling $18,751.84 from the Auburn, Mass.-based union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-President of Puerto Rican Union Pleads Guilty to Stealing $450k

Puerto Rican flagJose "Chepito" Caraballo-Figueroa ran a sugar workers union. Missing from this arrangement were sugar factories, not to mention a large pile of money. On February 10, Caraballo-Figueroa, former president of Sindicato Obreros Unidos del Sur, or SOUS, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico to embezzling about $450,000 in funds from the Salinas, P.R.-based union. He had been arrested in August 2008 by the FBI and indicted by a grand jury following a three-year federal investigation. This wasn't his first brush with the law either. Back in 1995, he and his attorney pleaded guilty to tax evasion. A sentencing date for the offenses at hand has not been established.

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.

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