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.

Plumbers Business Manager in Southern Illinois Pleads Guilty

Plumbers logoBill Adrian treated his union's funds as though they were his own. Then reality intruded. Adrian, formerly business manager and secretary-Treasurer of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 101, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 30 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to theft from a union benefit plan and falsifying data in financial reports. While prosecutors didn't specify the exact amount stolen, they did say, in the context of federal sentencing guidelines, that the total came to somewhere between $70,000 and $120,000. Sentencing itself is scheduled for September 10.

Michigan Machinists Local Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

On May 10, Renita Dompier, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 283, pleaded guilty to embezzling $8,725.99 in funds from the Baraga, Mich. (Upper Peninsula) union. She had been indicted in March for embezzlement and falsifying union records. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Business Agent in Virginia Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On May 10, Jeff Agee, former business representative for International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 10, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to embezzling $4,181.62 in funds from the Richmond union. He had been charged in April. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Iron Workers Secretary-Treasurer in New Jersey Sentenced for $560K+ Theft

Ironworkers logoConsidering the size of his take, James J. Kearney Jr. probably got off easy. On May 10, Kearney, formerly secretary-treasurer of Local 45 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (IAIW), was sentenced in Trenton federal court to 30 months in prison and three years probation for embezzling more than $560,000 from the Jersey City, N.J. construction union. He also will have to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Kearney pleaded guilty last November. This case is separate from an ongoing one involving his father, former Local 45 business manager James Kearney Sr., arrested last November for soliciting and receiving cash bribes to allow contractors to hire nonunion workers. The international union late last year placed the local under trusteeship.

New Mexico Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn May 8, Thomas Chavez, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 12-659, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service for embezzling $16,965.54 in funds from the Questa, N.M.-based union. Chavez pleaded guilty last December after being indicted that April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Minnesota Graphic Communications Ex-Local Treasurer Pleads Guilty

Printing machineOn May 7, James Michael Hill, formerly treasurer of Graphic Communications Conference Local 76-C, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, pleaded guilty to theft from the Duluth, Minn. union in the amount of $6,553.28. He had been charged last September. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chevy to Build Impalas, Malibus at Underutilized Volt Plant

Volt asembly lineCBC News reports that an Ontario General Motors' plant where Chevy Impalas and Equinoxes were built will be closed down, costing Canadians around 2,000 jobs. GM reportedly plans to partially move production of the Impala to its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. You may remember the Hamtramck site from the Chevy Volt commercial which trumpeted the building of Volts there. It now seems that low demand for the Volt has led to the plant having enough time to build other, conventionally-powered vehicles. While the Volt may have been the car GM "had to build," it appears that consumers would "prefer" them to build cars like the Impala.

Electrical Workers Business Manager in Texas Charged with Embezzlement

IBEW logoOn May 1, Andrew Irwin, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 72, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas with embezzling funds from the Waco union in the amount of $47,096. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Detroit-Area Plasterers Bookkeeper Charged with Records Fraud

OP & CMIA logoOn May 1, Lisa Barnes, former bookkeeper for Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association Local 514, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with one count of falsifying financial records of the Madison Heights (Oakland County)-based union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chevy Volt May Sales Dismal - Ad Spending Ineffective

General Motors reported that Chevy Volt sales for May came in at a paltry 1,680. To put this in perspective, GM sold 29,579 Chevy Malibus during the month. The funny thing is, I do not recall seeing as many TV ads for the Malibu as I have for the Volt. While GM's ad strategy (which has seen the company discontinuing advertising on Facebook and the Super Bowl) has received much attention, auto journalists and analysts do not seem to want to question the reason why GM is spending such a disproportionate amount of money advertising a vehicle that is losing money for the company and its shareholders.

Federal Court Blocks New NLRB 'Quickie Election' Rule

NLRB logoLabor officials long have sought to severely limit the ability of employers to mount a challenge to organizing campaigns. Recently, that quest was fulfilled - for two weeks. On May 14, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the final "quickie" or "ambush" election rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This regulation, which had gone into effect on April 30, shortened the normal allowable duration between the filing of an election petition and the holding of a vote from 42 days to as few as 10 days. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, on procedural grounds, held that the rule was developed by only two board members, and thus lacked a necessary quorum. Suspending the regulation indefinitely, Boasberg declared: "Representative elections will have to continue under the old procedures."

Was GM’s Nepotistic Ad Spending More Effective than Facebook?

The Detroit Free Press reported on Friday that General Motors failed to initially disclose possible conflicts when it awarded a $600,000 contract to Mother New York, an ad agency with ties to GM's Chief Financial Officer, Dan Ammann. Ammann's wife, Pernilla Ammann, is a partner and Chief Operating Officer at the ad agency. In typical Government Motors' fashion, Ammann dubiously denies having had knowledge of the deal. Before looking at what the money purchased, let's look at the likelihood that Ammann really knew nothing.

Boilermakers Bosses Receive Excessive Salaries, Benefits

Six-figure salaries, questionable consulting fees and lavish getaway vacations aren't exactly unknown in the upper reaches of organized labor. But officials of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), have been taking these and other perks to a new level. That's the conclusion of an exhaustive investigative report published in the Kansas City Star on Sunday, May 13. The author, Judy Thomas, spent many months combing through IBB financial reports and tax returns. Family members of Boilermakers President Newton Jones and other officials have been making out especially well. The Kansas City, Kan.-based union defends its spending and hiring practices, arguing that it operates within the bounds of the law and economic necessity. Yet a number of dues-paying members have a different view.

Pennsylvania UFCW Ex-District Council President Sentenced for Embezzlement

UFCW logoOn May 1, Ernest Milewski, former president of United Food and Commercial Workers, Northeast District Council, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based council and a related health benefit program. He also will have to pay $257,590.26 in restitution and a $200 special assessment. Milewski pleaded guilty last August after being charged that July. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Carpenters Local Business Agent in Philadelphia Pleads Guilty

On April 30, Victor Rovani III, former business representative for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 454, pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $8,322 in funds from the Philadelphia union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio Local AFSCME President Indicted for Theft

AFSCME logoOn April 27, Jill Ragland, former president of Ohio Association of Public School Employees Chapter 782, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was indicted in the Court of Common Pleas, Ross County (Ohio), on one count of theft in an amount of $1,385 from the Portsmouth-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Chevy Volt Pep Rally Masquerades as Electric Vehicle Safety Symposium

Chevy Volt chargerThe Department of Transportation and NHTSA have announced that a "technical symposium" will be held on May 18th "to discuss safety considerations for electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries." In addition to NHTSA's presentations, the Department of Energy, automotive manufacturers and battery makers will participate. Given the bias of the participants, the symposium sounds like it is going to be less informational and more infomercial.

Machinists Business Agent in Virginia Charged with Embezzlement

Machinists logoOn April 25, Jeff Agee, former business representative of International Association of Machinists Lodge 10, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in an information count with embezzling funds from the Richmond-based union in the amount of $4,181.62. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-Teamsters Headquarters Employee Indicted for Theft

Teamsters President James HoffaOn April 24, Salvador Camey, a former employee at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on 16 counts of embezzlement from the union totaling $7,258.92. Camey, as a member of Teamsters Local 396 in Southern California, helped lead a two-week strike in October 2007 against Waste Management Inc. The recent charges follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Plumbers Business Agent in Central New Jersey Pleads Guilty

Plumber at workPeter LoMauro was a person who for a fee could make a contractor's labor problems disappear. Now he himself is likely to disappear for a while. LoMauro, a business agent for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 9, pleaded guilty in Trenton, N.J. federal court on Tuesday, May 8 to soliciting and receiving a bribe and to embezzling funds from the Englishtown, N.J. (Monmouth County) union. The plea was not unexpected; the U.S. Attorney's Office already had taken statements from two cooperating witnesses indicating how LoMauro had solicited bribes and then deposited them into an account he controlled.

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