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.

Pennsylvania Utility Workers Ex-Local President Pleads Guilty

UWUA logoOn March 4, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $31,528 in funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union.  He had been indicted last July.  That same month, about two weeks earlier, another former Local 475 president, John Vetterly Jr., had been sentenced to nine months of house arrest and five years of probation for embezzling $26,605 from the union.  In each case, the actions followed an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former President of NYC Steelworkers Local Pleads Guilty

United Steelworkers logoFor Juan “Alex” Cedeno, the party’s over.  And the bill has come due.  On March 6, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one count of false-record keeping in connection with his theft or misappropriation of more than $90,000 in funds from the Queens, N.Y. union.  Cedeno had been arrested and charged last May after a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Jacksonville, Fla. Police Union President, VP Plead Guilty in Slot Machine Scam

Another day in Florida online gamblingIt was a scam that was the talk of Florida.  And two cops, both leaders in their police union, played no small part in making it happen.  This past January, Nelson Cuba, former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), pleaded guilty to three charges related to his transferring more than $500,000 from an illegal gambling enterprise to his own use.  Ex-FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas had pleaded guilty last April.  The convictions were part of a state probe into a gambling and money-laundering operation nominally run by a charity.  Participants netted nearly $300 million until the ring was busted two years ago.  Though not among the 57 arrested, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned, at Governor Rick Scott's request, given the fact of her public relations work several years earlier on behalf of the charity.

AFGE President in Alabama Indicted for Embezzlement

Stephanie Hicks wrote lots of checks from her union accoAFGE logounts.  The problem is that they didn’t always go to cover union expenses.  Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of Alabama with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the union, which represents VA hospital employees in Birmingham.  She had been indicted by a grand jury in February for bank fraud, forgery and aggravated identity theft.  The charges follow a joint probe by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

UAW Vice President, Member in Louisiana Charged with Forgery

United Auto Workers (UAW)On March 4, Gregory Hill and Danny Rawls, respectively, vice president and member of Local 2297 of the United Auto Workers, each were indicted on nine counts in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana related to their aiding and abetting embezzlement in excess of $12,000, uttering forged checks, and conspiracy to commit forgery against the Shreveport-based union.  The indictments follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Union Treasurer in Texas Charged with Embezzlement

UTU logoOn February 23, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1892, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with one count of embezzlement of funds from the Houston union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Virginia Letter Carriers President Sentenced for Theft

Letter Carriers logoOn March 3, Jeffrey Jones, former president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one year of probation for embezzling $7,649 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va. union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution.  Jones had pleaded guilty in November after being charged in October.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Fort Knox Civilian Technicians Secretary-Treasurer Indicted

Fort Knox, KentuckyOn February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000.  The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.

Teachers Union Ex-Treasurer in Pennsylvania Charged with Theft; Waives Case

NEA logoManaging the finances of a teachers union can be lucrative, especially if it means extra, and illegal, income.  Rae Dawn Grillo has discovered that thefts usually are found out.  On February 18, Grillo, former treasurer of the Charleroi Area Educational Association, was arrested and charged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Washington County (Pittsburgh area) Court, with three felony counts related to her embezzlement of more than $65,000 in funds from the Charleroi-based union over a five-year period.  And yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek an indictment following her agreement to plead guilty to local charges.

Wisconsin Enacts Right to Work Law; Unions, Obama Strike Back

Given the roiling conflict in Wisconsin these past four years over the limits of public-sector unionism, it only was a matter of time before the scene would shift to the private sector.  This Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed Right to Work legislation.  The law, which took effect immediately, bars unions from forcing private-sector employers to fire workers who don’t pay dues.  Two dozen other states have similar laws.  Yet what really is getting under the skin of organized labor is the triumph of their nemesis, Gov. Walker.  More than ever, he looks like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate in 2016.  Union leaders are preparing accordingly.  And they’re getting help from President Obama.

Detroit-Area Operating Engineers Business Agent Pleads Guilty to Concealing Extortion

IUOE logoDavid Hart was an accomplice, not a mastermind.  But that didn't make his acts any less illegal.  On February 24, Hart, formerly financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to concealing acts of extortion by his boss.  He had been charged eleven days earlier in an information count following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.  The union represents more than 18,000 operators of cranes and other heavy construction equipment across Michigan.

IBEW Business Manager in NW Missouri Charged with Theft

IBEW logoOn February 18, Dennis Fuston, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 545, was charged in the Buchanan County, Missouri Judicial Court with theft of funds from the St. Joseph-based union in an amount of more than $500 but less than $25,000.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFL-CIO Gears Up for 2016 Election Cycle; Hypes Sen. Warren

Expanding union monopoly privileges and the welfare state is a full-time job, especially when it comes to electing political candidates committed to advancing these causes.  The AFL-CIO, never late to rise, is getting an early jump for 2016.  For the last few months, federation President Richard Trumka has touted freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a Left-populist, as presidential material.  The federation has yet to issue a formal endorsement.  And the senator has denied plans to run.  Yet she could be persuaded to change her plans.  The push for Warren is part of a larger effort to identify “pro-worker” candidates who support dramatic hikes in the minimum wage.  “That’s the stick we’ll use to measure every candidate,” Trumka said at an AFL-CIO executive board meeting in Atlanta in late February.

Southern California Police Union Office Manager Charged with $340K+ Embezzlement

She seemed like a model employee, but in the end Alis Archibeque was merely an actress who couldn't sustain her act.  On January 29, Archibeque, former office manager for the City of Riverside (Calif.) Police Officers Association (RPOA), was charged in Riverside Superior Court with making about $346,000 in unauthorized purchases and money transfers.  She was arrested and booked on February 7.  The alleged losses, which occurred over a half-decade and did not involve police department funds, were discovered following a lengthy police investigation.

Georgia Postal Workers Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

APWU logoOn January 21, Cynthia Collins, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 12, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to one count of embezzlement from the Athens, Ga. union. She had been indicted last July for embezzling $23,345 and then concealing the thefts in union financial reports. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Postal Workers President in North Carolina Charged

APWU logoOn January 13, Salvatore Mauro, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1236, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina with one count of creating a false financial report. He pleaded guilty the following day. The indictment and plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio Bricklayers Local Treasurer Sentenced for Theft

Bricklayers logoOn January 13, Brian Stoneburner, former treasurer for International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 44, was sentenced in the Perry County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas to 90 days of incarceration, five years of probation and 100 hours of community service for stealing $13,235 from the Newark, Ohio-based union. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Stoneburner had pleaded guilty in November after being indicted in July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Harry Wilson’s Teamsters Connection and the Return of Government Motors

Harry WilsonIs the fix in? General Motors is acting like it faces a major decision in responding to the self-nomination of Harry Wilson for its board of directors. Wilson was one of the key members of President Obama's Auto Task Force, and purports to be acting at the behest of hedge funds who want GM to spend the "cash hoard" that was made possible by US taxpayers.

Ironically, Wilson was one of the people who determined how much of a "hoard" GM would accumulate, an amount he now criticizes as being excessive. During, and just prior to, GM's bankruptcy process, taxpayers supplied about $50 billion to "invest" in the company. Canadian taxpayers chipped in about $10 billion while GM had its balance sheet cleared of about $30 billion of debt. The liabilities owed to the politically-favored UAW remained intact.

Los Angeles SEIU Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

Service Employees logoOn January 12, Cedric Hughes, former treasurer of the United Union of Professionals, alternately known as Service Employees International Union Local 721, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to five years of probation for embezzling $15,193 in funds from the Los Angeles-based health care workers union. He also was ordered to make full restitution, and pay a $2,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. Hughes had pleaded guilty in September after being indicted in December 2013. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Northern California Cement Masons Local Bookkeeper Charged

OP & CMIA logoOn January 8, Maria Del Cupolo, former bookkeeper for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 300, was charged in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, with five counts of grand theft in a combined amount of more than $65,000 from the Oakland-based union, plus four counts of money laundering. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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