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.

Letter Carriers Local Secretary-Treasurer in Missouri Indicted

Letter Carriers logoOn January 27, John McCain, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 1016, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on one count of embezzlement of $30,948 in funds from the Poplar Bluff, Mo. union.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  

Arkansas IBEW Secretary-Treasurer Charged with Theft; Pleads Guilty

IBEW logoThe promotion was nice, but it couldn’t save Clinton Humphrey from being caught.  On January 26, Humphrey, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 386, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas with embezzling $51,811.70 in funds from the Texarkana, Ark.-based union.  He then pleaded guilty.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Postal Workers Treasurer in South Dakota Pleads Guilty

APWU logoFor nearly four years, Susan Haugen saw her union as a private bank.  Now she’s likely to spend some time in a public prison.  On January 26, Haugen, former treasurer of the state affiliate of the American Postal Workers Union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of South Dakota to one count of embezzlement of funds in the amount of $30,782 from the Huron, S.D.-based union.  She had been indicted in November 2014 on three counts of stealing a combined more than $36,000 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Cleveland Plumbers Office Secretary Sentenced for Theft

Plumbers and Pipefitters logoOn January 19, Heather Banhidy, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 120, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service for embezzling $13,906 from the Cleveland union.  She also was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment on top of the full restitution which she already had made.  Banhidy had pleaded guilty in October following her indictment in August.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Illinois Maintenance of Way Secretary Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

BMWE logoOn January 15, Joshua Lewis, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 212, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for making false statements in financial records of the Gillespie (Macoupin County), Ill.-based union.  He then was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $25 social assessment.  Lewis had been indicted in November.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

West Virginia Enacts Right to Work Law over Governor's Veto

New River Gorge Suspension Bridge, West VirginiaThe Right to Work juggernaut continues to roll in seemingly unlikely places.  On Friday, February 12, West Virginia Republican lawmakers overrode a veto by Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to pass legislation barring unions from forcing employers to fire workers who decline to pay dues.  The votes, 55-43 in the House of Delegates and 18-16 in the Senate – only a simple majority is required for a veto – make West Virginia the 26th state with such a law.  The measure had been introduced only a month earlier.  Mark Mix, president of the Springfield, Va.-based National Right to Work Committee, commented after the vote:  “Now, more than half of the states have enacted Right to Work laws to protect workers’ fundamental right to freedom of association.”  The state’s unions have a different view.

New Hampshire Nuclear Plant Security Steward Sentenced

Seabrook nuclear power plantOn January 12, Gregory Paradis, former chief steward of United Federation of Special Police and Security Officers Local 501, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire to two years of probation for embezzling $13,493 in funds from the Seabrook, N.H. union.  He also was ordered to pay full restitution.  Paradis had pled guilty in October after being charged in August.  The union represents security workers at the Seabrook nuclear power plant.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Delaware Steelworkers Secretary Charged with Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn January 12, Herbert White Jr., former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 8936, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware with embezzlement of $24,287 in funds from the Wilmington-based union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former AFGE Local President in Michigan Sentenced

AFGE logoOn January 5, Edward Mason, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2274, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to two years of probation and ordered to pay $21,077 in restitution and a $25 special assessment for making false statements in the financial records of the Saginaw union.  He had pleaded guilty in September.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Security Officers Treasurer in Colorado Sentenced

UGSOA logoOn January 5, Christopher Headlee, former treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America Local 50, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to one year of probation, and ordered to pay residual restitution in the amount of $1,947 (he previously paid $9,000) and a $25 special assessment, for falsifying financial data in a report submitted by the Durango-based union.  He had pleaded guilty last October.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Southern Illinois Laborers Local Bookkeeper Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn January 7, Carolyn Hall, former bookkeeper for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1197, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100 assessment for embezzling $26,491 in funds from the McLeansboro (Hamilton County), Ill.-based union.  She had pleaded guilty last August after being charged that April.  Hall previously had made full restitution.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

LIUNA Business Manager in Phoenix Pleads Guilty

LIUNA logoOn January 4, Anne Susan, former business manager of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1386, pleaded guilty in Maricopa County, Arizona Superior Court to theft, identity theft and forgery.  She had been charged with a 24-count indictment last October 5.  Charged in a 29-count indictment the same day for forgery and other offenses was former Local 1386 treasurer Therlen Benally.  The union is based in Phoenix.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Bay Area Cement Masons Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Plasterers & Cement Masons logoOn September 30, Maria Del Cupolo, former bookkeeper for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 300, pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, to one count of theft from the Oakland union.  She then was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $96,842.  Following this sentence, on December 2 she received an additional one-year sentence in the Alameda County jail.  Del Cupolo had been charged in January 2015 with five counts of grand theft in an amount exceeding $65,000, plus four counts of money-laundering.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Secretary of UAW-Sponsored Group in Wisconsin Sentenced

United Auto Workers logoAt least Helen Genal is remorseful.  On January 25, Genal, former secretary-treasurer of the Fox Valley Area Community Action Program, a project of the United Auto Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to six months in prison for embezzling $29,968 from the Oshkosh-based labor organization.  She pled guilty last November after being charged in July with one count each of embezzlement and making a false statement in union records.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit Operating Engineers Ex-Boss Charged with Theft, Conspiracy

Detroit skyline at duskAnyone who believes corruption in Detroit dissipated after the multiple convictions several years ago of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should take a hard look at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324.  On December 16, John Hamilton, business manager-general vice president of the Detroit union during 2003-12, was indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts relating to various schemes of self-enrichment at the expense of rank and file.  The indictment, the result of a multi-agency probe, accuses Hamilton of extortion, structuring, money-laundering, embezzlement and honest services fraud.  The charges shed light not only on Hamilton’s relationship with Mayor Kilpatrick, but at least as importantly, his relationship with convicted financial manager John Orecchio, no stranger to these pages.

AFGE Local President in New Jersey Indicted for Theft

AFGE logoOn December 18, Sharon Williams-Savage, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2425, was indicted in the Superior Court of the City of Clifton, New Jersey on two counts of misapplication of entrusted property exceeding $1,000 and one count of unlawful taking of property exceeding $500.  AFGE Local 2425 is based in East Orange, N.J., adjacent to Newark.  The indictment follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the New Jersey State Criminal Division.

Former Employee of Kentucky Steelworkers Local Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn December 15, Dawn Colley, former office employee of United Steelworkers Local 8-719, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky to concealing her theft of funds from the Ashland, Ky. union.  She then was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $4,200 in restitution, on top of the $7,446 she previously had paid, plus a $25 special assessment.  Colley had been indicted in October for embezzling $7,201.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Louisville Teamster Boss Sentenced for Theft, Cover-Up

Teamsters logoOn December 10, Jerry Vincent, formerly president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to six months of home confinement and three years of probation for embezzling $17,272.84 from the Louisville union.   He also was ordered to pay $22,251 in restitution, a sum representing an unearned vacation advance as well as the stolen funds.  Vincent had pleaded guilty last August to one count of embezzlement and 13 counts of falsifying union records following his July 2014 indictment.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Top Ten logoAs in 2014, union leaders last year directed much of their energies toward maximizing political and legal advantage.  And they scored tangible victories.  President Barack Obama, now in his last year in office, is without question the best White House friend of organized labor in decades.  Among other things, unions won major cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with its built-in 3-2 Democratic Party majority.  And the Teamsters achieved its long-sought goal of release from federal control established following a 1989 civil racketeering settlement.  Yet organized labor also experienced its share of setbacks, especially in the courts.  And they received lots of unwanted exposure for embezzlement and fraud.  As far as rank and file members are concerned, the most pressing problem is the growing possibility that their pension plans will be depleted.     

NYC Steelworkers Ex-Boss Sentenced for Hiding Thefts

Steelworkers logoConsidering the nature of his offenses, Juan “Alex” Cedeno should consider himself fortunate.  On December 10, Cedeno, former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service for concealing his thefts from the Queens, N.Y. union, which since has moved to Edison, N.J.  He also was ordered to pay $33,583 in restitution and a $25 special assessment.  Cedeno had pled guilty last March after being arrested and charged in May 2014.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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