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.

GM's Mysterious Earnings Report

General Motors reported earnings today that appeared non-eventful on the surface. Upon further inspection there are some underlying concerns, including a glaring one-time event that stands out. That is an adjustment to earnings with a tax benefit (as opposed to paying taxes) of $35 billion for a "deferred tax valuation release." This was coupled with a goodwill impairment charge of about $27 billion, which allows GM to reduce the previously unusually high goodwill assets that were recorded on its balance sheet.

NTEU Local Treasurer in Utah Indicted for Embezzlement

NTEU logoOn January 9, Shelia Brown (first name not a misspelling), former treasurer of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 67, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah with two counts of theft in connection with the embezzlement of $20,705.21 in funds from the Ogden-based local. An IRS employee, Brown during January 2009-April 2010 allegedly engaged in unauthorized ATM, checking and debit card transactions to divert union funds to her own personal use. Local officials in July 2010 had informed members that an investigation into missing funds was underway. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Laborers Local President in Boston Admits to Larceny; Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn January 9, David Beard, president of Laborers International Union of North America Local 381, admitted in the Trial Court of Massachusetts, BMC Department, to sufficient facts in a Continuance without a Finding for three counts of larceny in amounts over $250 from the Boston-based union. He then agreed to make $7,709 in restitution. The plea and sentencing follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Employee of Painters District Council Charged with Theft from Indiana Local

IUPAT logoOn February 7, Tracey Tigner, secretary for District Council 91 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was charged in Hammond, Indiana federal court for embezzling an undisclosed sum of funds from an affiliate, IUPAT Local 460 in Merrillville, Ind. District Council 91 covers all of Indiana, central Kentucky and a portion of Tennessee. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Inspector General and Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Cincinnati-Area Food and Commercial Workers Local Secretary Indicted

Food and Commercial Workers logo On January 8, Chad Petras, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342C, was indicted in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas in Ohio on one count of theft of funds from the Rising Sun, Ind.-based union in an amount of $1,000 or more. Petras committed the alleged violations in Ohio, though the union is based in Indiana. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Las Vegas Laborers Dispatcher Sentenced for Embezzlement

Las Vegas at nightOn January 7, Aundrea Valerio, former dispatcher for Laborers International Union of North America Local 872, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to six months of home confinement and three years of probation, and ordered to make restitution, for embezzling funds from the Las Vegas union. She pleaded guilty last September after being indicted in April 2010 with two other local office employees, Stacy Johnson and Aurora Rios, for stealing a combined more than $300,000; Valerio's share of the take was about $13,500. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

'Worker Centers' Target Retail, Restaurant Sites for Organizing

Worker center demonstratorsWhen is a union not a union? Apparently, it's when members say it isn't. Yet a change in terminology can't alter reality. Over the past several years, hundreds of organizations, known as ‘worker centers,' have established a presence in the labor movement, targeting retail and restaurant chains for organizing and picketing. While they don't like being called unions, for all practical purposes they operate as such. And they have the advantage of being outside the jurisdiction of labor law. At least one is a reconstituted key affiliate of the defunct radical network, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Indiana UAW Local Secretary Charged with Embezzlement

Auto Workers logoOn January 7, Connie Sayne, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 3050, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana with embezzling $25,699.53 in funds from the Hagerstown, Ind. union. Sayne, 51, a resident of nearby Connersville, Ind., during June 2010-April 2012 allegedly wrote 64 unauthorized union checks to herself.  The union represents employees of Autocar, a Hagerstown-based manufacturer of garbage trucks. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Texas Sentenced for Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn January 4, Cleo Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 1856, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to 12 months incarceration and three years of probation for embezzling funds from the Dallas-based union and then falsifying union records to conceal the thefts. She also will have to pay restitution in the amount of $29,856.19. Wilson had been indicted in June 2011, and pleaded guilty in March 2012. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Rockford, Ill. Laborers Office Manager Pleads Guilty to $200K Theft

Laborers logoSkimming contributions long has been a favored method of theft by union embezzlers. But the odds of getting caught eventually catch up. Just ask Grace Rathke. On January 3, Rathke, formerly office manager for Laborers Union of North America Local 32, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to stealing more than $190,000 in funds from the Rockford union. She had been indicted in August 2011 on 10 counts of embezzlement following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Transport Workers Secretary in Fort Worth Area Charged

TWU logoOn January 2, Kady Tucker, former office secretary for Transport Workers Union Local 575, was charged in the State of Texas, 396th District Court in Tarrant County, with intent to defraud another person via forgery. The union is based near Fort Worth. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Boston Plasterers Local Secretary Charged with Theft

Plasterers logo  On January 2, Linda Weed, former office secretary for Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Union Local 534, was charged in the Trial Court of Massachusetts, BMC Department, with one count of larceny from the Boston-based union in the amount of $7,294.73. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Southern California SEIU Boss Freeman Found Guilty

Tyrone FreemanDespite all evidence to the contrary, Tyrone Freeman (see photo) was convinced he was innocent. It proved less a conviction than a delusion. This past Monday, January 28, a Los Angeles federal jury convicted the once-powerful Southern California Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leader on 14 criminal charges, including embezzlement, mail fraud and tax fraud. It was an ignominious downfall for a man whom many believed one day would succeed his ally and mentor, then-SEIU President Andrew Stern. "This was a case about abuse and betrayal," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. "Freeman abused his position as a leader of the SEIU, and he betrayed the hardworking people whose interests he was supposed to represent."

Dallas-Area Letter Carriers Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

Letter Carriers logoOn December 19, Wanda Jackson, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 4065, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to 18 months of incarceration and three years of supervised release for embezzling $41,246.95 in funds from the Plano, Tex.-based union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 assessment. Jackson had been found guilty last March and indicted in July 2011. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Tennessee Steelworkers Local Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn December 18, Gregory Brown, former treasurer for United Steelworkers Local 777, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on one count of embezzlement from the Memphis union in the amount of $6,587.57. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Business Agent in Minnesota Charged with Theft

On December 18, James Kiser, former directing business representative for International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 165, was charged in Stearns County Court of Minnesota with four counts of theft of $5,919 from the St. Cloud, Minn.-based union during January 2010-February 2012. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Massachusetts Steelworkers Local Secretary Sentenced for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn December 17, Manuel Nogueira, former recording secretary for United Steelworkers Local 4-421, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to 18 months of probation for his role in the theft of funds from the union, now based in Auburn (near Worcester), Mass. He also will have pay restitution in the amount of $9,000 and a $200 special assessment. Nogueira had been indicted back in October 2010 with three other local officials for embezzling a combined $7,000; he pled guilty in April 2011. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NLRB Mandates Dues Check-Offs Even After Union Contract Expires

money photoThe National Labor Relations Board may be inoperative at present. Yet one of its rulings last month, unless undone, will curtail a longstanding right of employers and individual workers. On December 12, in WKYC-TV Inc., the NLRB ruled 3-1 that an employer must continue to collect dues from union members via automatic "checkoff" even after the collective bargaining agreement expires. The ruling effectively overturns the board's Bethlehem Steel decision of 1962, which ruled against forced dues check-offs following contract expiration. It's another case of President Obama's appointees to the normally five-member body favoring forced unionism.

TARP Watchdog Blasts Treasury on Bailouts

GM logo/ObamaA watchdog for the government's bailout program, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), has hit the US Treasury Department with a hard combo of critique regarding some of the Administration's actions since pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into bailed-out companies like General Motors and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC). SIGTARP issued a report lambasting Treasury for allowing excessive pay for executives at GM, Ally Financial and AIG and followed that with statements that scrutinized Treasury's continued refusal to exit its stake in Ally Financial, which is currently 74% owned by the government.

Machinists Secretary-Treasurer in NE Indiana Sentenced for Embezzlement

On December 17, Mark Morgan, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 2584, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to three years of probation, including eight months of home detention, for embezzling funds from the formerly Fremont, Ind.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $17,616.70 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Morgan had been charged in May, and pleaded guilty in August. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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