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.

Lawsuit Alleges Solis Failed to Report Free Jet Trips from Los Angeles-Area IUOE Local

Hilda SolisFormer Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis readily admits it: She's a union woman. But her affinity with organized labor is more than just a matter of shared views. On February 10, the Cerritos, Calif.-based Hews Media Group revealed that Solis, now campaigning for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, had accepted thousands of dollars worth of free private jet travel more than five years ago, while still serving in Congress, from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12, but without disclosing these trips, as required by federal law. This finding is cited as a material fact in a federal civil racketeering suit filed in January by four members of the Pasadena-based local against some two dozen people. 

Iron Workers Union Thugs in Philadelphia Indicted

Iron Workers Local 401In Philadelphia construction, there is an unwritten rule: A nonunion contractor, and the people who work for one, should be prepared to accept a deal - on union terms. Otherwise, they face some rough justice. One union, at least, is learning the limits of this business model. Last Tuesday, on February 18, ten members of International Association of Iron Workers Local 401 were indicted in federal court on offenses ranging from racketeering to assault to arson as part of an ongoing campaign to persuade contractors to hire only union labor at selected construction sites. The defendants often operated as members of goon squads.

Florida Steelworkers Local Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn January 21, Edward Martin Mosher, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 9-458, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $65,895 from the Plant City (Hillsborough County), Fla.-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UAW Local Secretary-Treasurer in Ohio Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

United Auto Workers logoOn January 17, Kristie McClarren, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 3061, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzling funds in the sum of $152,639 from the Crestline (near Mansfield), Ohio-based union. She had been charged in December. The local represents employees at the Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in nearby Shelby. The charge follows a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Electrical and Radio Workers Financial Secretary in Baltimore Pleads Guilty

UE logoOn January 16, James Babcock, former financial secretary of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 121, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to one count of embezzling funds from the Baltimore union in the amount of $24,854. Babcock had been charged in September after admitting to investigators in May that he had written himself more than 100 union checks over a five-year period for unauthorized purposes. The charge and plea follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

VW Workers in Chattanooga Say 'No' to Union Representation

VW workers in ChattanoogaAll eyes, it seemed, were on Tennessee. The stakes were enormous. If the United Auto Workers got to represent employees at the Volkswagen assembly plant near Chattanooga, which opened in 2011, it could create more organizing successes throughout the South. That gambit now is on hold. Last Friday, February 14, the announcement from VW came: Plant employees, by a 712-to-626 margin, voted to reject UAW representation. In choosing to remain nonunion, the majority expressed their preference for resolving wage, benefit and working conditions issues through a German-style 'works council' rather than formal collective bargaining; VW headquarters has instituted such councils at virtually all its plants around the world.

IBEW Financial Secretary in Texas Indicted for Embezzlement

IBEW logoOn January 15, James Jones, former business manager and financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 898, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on one count of embezzlement of $11,551 in funds from the San Angelo union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Marine Engineers Beneficial Association Employee Indicted

Marine engineer at workOn January 14, Kenneth Marshall Jr., an employee of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank theft and one count of aiding and abetting theft of $18,851 in funds from District 1 of the AFL-CIO-affiliated union. The indictment follows a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

NC Protests the Latest Showing of Big Labor's Push Into South

Moral MondayA Saturday march in Raleigh, NC, that consisted of participants from dozens of left-wing groups – many bused in from more than 30 states – marked a new level of effort by national organized labor to assert itself in the South.

The recognized leader of the demonstration is the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Rev. William Barber (in photo, on right), who recently received national media attention for his remark that black conservatives – such as South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott – are “ventriloquists’ dummies” for the Tea Party. Barber last year conducted a series of “Moral Mondays” protests in the state capital against changes in state law that lowered taxes and limited the growth of government.

Boilermakers Secretary-Treasurer of Kansas Local Charged

On January 10, Stephanie Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 465D, was charged in the Oklahoma County Court for District 7 with one count of forgery from the Kansas City, Kan. union. A warrant subsequently was issued for her arrest. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Maintenance of Way Secretary-Treasurer in Tennessee Indicted

Maintenance of Way Employees logoOn January 9, Henry Hull Jr., former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 654, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on one count of embezzling $8,240 in funds from the Southaven, Miss. (Memphis area)-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Treasurer of Civilian Technicians Affiliate in Tennessee Indicted

civilian technicians On January 9, Don McMahon, former treasurer of Civilian Technicians Association Independent, Tennessee State Council for Air, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on eight counts of wire fraud against the Memphis-based union totaling $3,543. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

IBEW President in Upstate New York Sentenced for Records Fraud

IBEW logo On January 9, Mark Valerio, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 249 and executive board member of IBEW System Council U-7, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to one year of probation and 500 hours of community service for making false entries in union financial records to cover up embezzlement. The local is based in Geneva, N.Y. and the council is based in Johnson City, N.Y. Valerio also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $39,049 and a $500 fine. He had pleaded guilty in September. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Illinois CWA Local Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

CWA logoOn January 8, Natasha Bever, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 4202, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Rantoul, Ill. (near Champaign-Urbana) union. She also was ordered to pay the remaining $55,759 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment. Bever had been indicted in January 2013 on one count of embezzlement in the amount of $117,378, and pleaded guilty in June to stealing $149,404. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Financial Secretary in Pennsylvania Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn January 7, Michael Pontician, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 480, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to two years of probation for falsifying union financial records in an effort to conceal his embezzlement of funds from the Pottsville (Schuylkill County), Pa.-based union. He also was ordered pay restitution in the amount of $2,626. Pontician had pleaded guilty in August. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's of Labor-Management Standards.

GM’s Debt Rises as Earnings Disappoint; Warns on First Quarter

GMGeneral Motors announced disappointing earnings results today and issued a warning that first quarter results will underwhelm as well. The reasons behind the earnings' miss are surely going to be explained away by pundits and proponents of the company still known as Government Motors to many. Sorting through the smoke and mirrors can lead to some important and simple explanations as to what is going on at GM.

ATU Pressures Congress to Mandate Overtime Pay for Intercity Bus Drivers; Avoids Key Issues

Greyhound coach busIt's a common news story these days: A bus on the highway crashes, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. And the official cause is "driver fatigue." Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., backed by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the AFL-CIO, has a bill, the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act (S.487), to reduce such tragedies by extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime pay provisions to intercity bus drivers. For over 50 years the Department of Transportation has precluded overtime laws from applying to such travel. The ATU in recent weeks has stepped up pressure for passage of the bill, unveiled last March.

Kentucky Steelworkers Local Secretary Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn December 19, Mark Gilbert, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 805, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to 60 days in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for embezzlement of $8,467.10 in funds from the Florence, Ky.-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Gilbert had been indicted last June, and pleaded guilty in August. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Painters President in New York City Sentenced for Scams

Painters logoHector Lopez is paying a high price for using his union as a private slush fund. And it's doubtful that too many members are feeling too badly. On November 21, Lopez, former president of Metal Polishers Local 8A-28A, an affiliate of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was sentenced in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court to four years in prison for masterminding mail and wire fraud schemes and for filing false tax returns. He also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross to pay $800,371 in restitution to the Queens union and forfeit another $371,517 to the government. Lopez, who was arrested and indicted in September 2012 following a joint U.S. Department of Labor-Internal Revenue Service probe, had pleaded guilty last April.

Transport Workers President in Chicago Indicted for Theft

Transport Workers logoOn December 18, Simiel Campbell, former president of Transport Workers Union Local 2014, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on one count of embezzling $19,433 in funds from the Chicago union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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