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.

Postal Workers Ex-Treasurer in Georgia Sentenced for Theft

Postal Workers logoOn November 1, Bobby Harrison, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 79, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to six months in prison, three years of supervised probation and 300 hours of community service for embezzling $21,737.11 in funds from the Gainesville, Ga.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $15,159.77 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. Harrison pled guilty in August. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General.

Chicago Teamsters Vice President Charged with Embezzlement

TrucksOn November 1, John Gianonne, former vice president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 706 in Chicago, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with an information count for embezzlement of $11,900 in union funds. The charge follows an investigation of the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Local Secretary-Treasurer in Alabama Indicted

On November 1, David Daugette, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Local Lodge 2766, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama for embezzling $6,740.03 in funds from the Madison, Ala. union. Daugette, 48, a resident of Huntsville, allegedly stole the money during 2006-08. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Miami Police Association President Indicted for Embezzlement

Police officerVernell Reynolds was once a high-profile Miami cop. Now she has another high profile: embezzler. On January 6, federal prosecutors announced that Reynolds had been indicted in federal court on 16 counts of wire fraud in the theft of more than $200,000 from the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association (MCPBA), a union representing black law enforcement officers in the Miami-Dade County area. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison for each count, plus forfeiture of all illegal proceeds. The action follows a joint probe by the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor and the City of Miami Police Department's internal affairs division.

Virginia IBEW Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

IBEW logoOn October 25, Leonard Carman, former financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1142, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for the City of Norfolk, Va. to one count of embezzlement of less than $200 from the Virginia Beach-based union. He then was sentenced to one year in prison (suspended), two years of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service. Carman, who pleaded guilty in August, previously had made restitution in the amount of $3,118. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NYC Painters Local President Sentenced for Embezzlement

PaintersOn October 24, Ephram Pascall, formerly president and business manager of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1422, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to six months home confinement and three years supervised release for embezzling $34,199 in funds from the Manhattan-based local. Pascall, who pleaded guilty in July, also will have to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. The guilty plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former President of Cleveland AFGE Local Indicted

AFGE logoOn October 24, Victor Davis, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3283, was indicted in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas on one count of theft of union funds in an amount between $500 and $5,000. The local represents over 1,200 employees of the Cleveland office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The indictment follows a joint probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

Are Obama's NLRB Appointments Constitutional?

NLRB logoRepublican objections to President Obama's temporary appointments last week to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) haven't been unexpected. The board, by custom, must consist of three members of one major party and two of the other. And so long as he remains in the White House, Democrats will enjoy an automatic majority. But at least two appointments may also be unconstitutional, say critics. That's because the president's referrals to the Senate of the two Democratic nominees, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, were made during a period in which senators were not on official recess.

As Goes GM, So Goes Obama Reelection

Last week the Detroit News reported that NHTSA claimed that the White House had nothing to do with the agency's delay in disclosing its Chevy Volt fires to the public. Supposedly, NHTSA contacted the White House three months after the Volt fires and waited another two months before releasing the information to the public. Whether or not the Obama Administration is being honest about its involvement in NHTSA's Chevy Volt investigation, it is clear that we are in an unprecedented situation with the President of the US having his reelection chances largely tied to the success of General Motors, which was once an icon of American industry but now epitomizes taxpayer bailouts, crony capitalism and political theater.

GM Wrestles With Chevy Volt 'Political Controversy'

It seems that General Motors is sticking to its guns as they continue to blame lack of supply for low sales of the Chevy Volt. A story by the Detroit Free Press quotes GM Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky, as saying that market demand for the Volt will not be known until around June as "...there are still dealer orders that are getting filled and there are customers that are still getting out there."

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Top Ten logoUnions for many years have been a highly reliable segment of the Democratic Party Left. Yet this perhaps no more was this true than in 2011 - and with good reason. The year began with the Republicans holding a nearly 50-seat edge in the House of Representatives following the GOP's smashing wins in the November 2010 midterm elections. Avoiding legislative process became a top priority for organized labor.

Consumers Should Select Cars, Not Government

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica says it is time to end tax credits and subsidies for electric vehicles. He is interviewed by Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network on Friday, January 6. Here's a transcript:

GM Recalls Chevy Volt

Last night, NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser discussed the Chevy Volt recall with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network. Here's a transcript:

Chevy Volt Fleet Sales Rise, Government GM Purchases Increase

General Motors reported Chevy Volt sales of 1,529 for the month of December. The still unimpressive number is an improvement over previous months, but the gains were mostly driven by fleet sales. According to GM, 992 of the Volts sold were to retail customers while 537 went to fleet purchasers.

GM says the fleet sales were to corporate buyers and not to rental companies. The number of Volts sold to townships receiving federal grants remains unknown. The corporate sales claim makes sense as crony company, General Electric, starts to make good on its promise to buy thousands of Volts. Of course, GE benefits by selling charging stations for the vehicles.

Chevy Volt Gets "Worst Product" Award

General Motors' much-hyped Chevy Volt has yet another distinction to add to its long list of commendations. We had all heard repeatedly about Motor Trends' Car of the Year award, Consumer Reports' recommendation and Jay Leno's love affair with the car, but the Volt now gets a less publicized, more deserved distinction from Yahoo Finance's 24/7 Wall Street site. The Volt has made the list of "The Worst Product Flops of 2011" and apologists for the vehicle are sure to, once again, attack the credibility of those issuing the opinion.

New Jersey Ironworkers, Laborers Business Agents Arrested; Ironworkers Treasurer Admits $500K+ Theft

Ironworkers logoTo be euphemistic about it, Local 45 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers (IAIW) has seen better days. For that matter, so has Laborers International Union of North America Local 592. On November 22, federal law enforcement agents arrested James Kearney Sr., until recently business manager for the Jersey City, N.J. union, for soliciting and receiving cash bribes to allow contractors to hire nonunion workers. Kearney's son, James Kearney Jr., a former Local 45 secretary-treasurer, pleaded guilty the previous week in federal court in an unrelated case to embezzling more than $560,000 from the union. During that timeline, the international union reportedly placed the local under trustee supervision. In a separate case, the feds on November 22 arrested Patrick Viola, ex-business manager for LIUNA Local 592 in Edgewater, N.J.

Ex-President of Local SEIU Affiliate in Chicago Sentenced

SEIU logoOn October 20, John McMahon, former president of Workers United Local 335-T, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to two years of probation, including six months of home confinement, for making false entries in union financial records related to embezzlement of funds from the Chicago union. He also was ordered to pay $12,460 in restitution plus a $25 special assessment. McMahon had pleaded guilty in June. Workers United is a 150,000-member garment and laundry workers union, formerly the Bruce Raynor-headed faction of UNITE HERE, now affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The sentencing follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Boston-Area Laborers President Pleads Guilty to Receiving Bribes

Laborers logoOn October 19, Joseph Pavone, former president of Laborers International Union of North America Local 560 in Waltham, Mass., pled guilty in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, to three counts of receiving unlawful labor payments totaling $6,466.80. The guilty plea follows a joint probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Time to End $7,500 Electric Car Tax Credit

Kelly photoPennsylvania Congressman, Mike Kelly, wants to end the $7,500 tax credit that affluent purchasers of electric vehicles are currently taking advantage of. The most hyped of these vehicles has been General Motors' Chevy Volt, but other plug-in cars, like Fiskers and Teslas, sell for close to $100,000 and make a strong case for Rep. Kelly's argument.

Let's look past the recent Chevy Volt fires. The value of a vehicle will be determined by the consumer. It does not matter if Jay Leno and other rich purchasers say they love their Volts. The real questions are, should taxpayers be paying the wealthy to purchase cars like the Volt, and what, exactly, are the taxpayers getting for their money?

Steelworkers Local President in West Virginia Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn October 17, Freda Hensley, former president of United Steelworkers Local 8-14505, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to embezzling $38,539.68 in funds from the West Logan, W.Va.-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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