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.

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.

Arkansas AFGE Council President Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

AFGE logoOn December 13, Bryan Lowry, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 33, pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to making a false statement in financial records of the Forrest City, Ark.-based union. He then was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $4,114 in restitution. The plea and sentencing follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Inspector General.

Appeals Court Strikes Down Obama NLRB Recess Appointments

NLRB logoWhen is a presidential recess appointment less than an appointment? It would seem when Congress isn't in recess. This Friday morning, January 25, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously invalidated President Obama's three appointments - Sharon Block, Richard Griffin and Terence Flynn - to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of January 4, 2012. The Obama administration is expected to appeal the case, known as Noel Canning v. NLRB, to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Flynn stepped down last summer and another member left in December, the normally five-member NLRB now has only one legitimate member, Mark Pearce.

SEC Nominee Mary Jo White Protected Corrupt Union Bosses in Teamsters Prosecution

Mary Jo White and ObamaMary Jo White is a poor choice to head the SEC. As a U.S. attorney, she demonstrated a lack of political independence and competence.

In the late 90's prosecution of the Teamsters money landering scandal, White won several guilty pleas from low-level has-beens, but gave a pass to prominent union figures who played a key role in the Democratic political campaign of 2000, and every one since. The magnitude of White's dereliction of duty can be seen in who was not prosecuted- Richard Trumka, Andrew Stern and Gerald McEntee.

Washington, D.C. AFGE Local Secretary-Treaurer Sentenced

AFGE logoOn December 14, Gloria Dickinson, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 421, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to 30 days of home confinement, five years of probation and 40 hours of community service for making false financial statements. She also was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $21,713.32. Dickinson had been charged early last September and pleaded guilty about a week later. The local is based in Washington, D.C. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Secretary-Treasurer in Mississippi Charged with Embezzlement

On December 12, Bonnie Nixon, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge W443, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi for embezzling $15,981.66 in funds from the Laurel-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Curbs on Wisconsin Public-Sector Unions; Reverses Lower Court

Wisconsin Gov. Scott WalkerThe ruling might not have eased tension in a state that by now is all too used to it. But it went a long way in clarifying the situation. Last Friday, on January 18, a federal appeals court in Chicago, by a 2-1 margin, upheld the entirety of a Wisconsin law passed in 2011 that repealed most collective bargaining for state and local government employees. In overturning a lower court decision of last March, the three-judge panel concluded the legislation, Act 10, did not violate public-sector unions' constitutional right to free speech or equal protection. The ruling thus removes a major obstacle to Republican Governor Scott Walker's program to improve his state's fiscal condition.

Security Officers Local Treasurer in Mississippi Charged

UGSOA logoOn December 12, Paulette McClure, former treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 36, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi with embezzlement of $8,166.13 in funds from the Pattison, Miss.-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio Local Transit Union President Sentenced for $100K+ Theft

ATU logoOn December 7, Claude Huff, former president and business manager of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to five years of probation for embezzling funds from the Dayton-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $110,348.49 and a special assessment of $100. Huff had been indicted in February and pleaded guilty in September. The union represents several hundred drivers and technicians for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Buffalo-Area Transportation Union Treasurer Pleads Guilty

United Transportation Union logoJoseph Grygorcewicz passed himself off as two people - himself and the union president. Unfortunately, he couldn't maintain the disguise. On November 29, Grygorcewicz, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1566, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to embezzling $39,989.72 in funds from the Tonawanda (suburban Buffalo) N.Y.-based union, which represents area railroad workers. He had paid back about $14,000 by the time union officials discovered the missing money. The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NLRB Member Griffin Named as Defendant in Racketeering Suit

Richard GriffinThe National Labor Relations Board ought to be about the last place to find anyone with a history of union corruption. But Richard Griffin (see photo), an NLRB member and former general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), may be the exception. Griffin last October was named as a defendant in a federal racketeering suit filed by 10 members of IUOE Local 501 in Los Angeles. The complaint alleges Griffin, during his tenure representing the international union, was complicit in a "scheme to defraud [the local] out of revenue, cost savings and membership." Dozens of union members, the suit charges, engaged in kickbacks, bribery, threats and extortion.

St. Louis AFSCME Vice President Pleads Guilty to Fraud

AFSCME logoOn November 29, Annie Walker, former vice president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2730, pled guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to one count of wire fraud in the amount of $19,774.13 against the St. Louis union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Tennessee Indicted for Theft

Steelworkers logoOn December 5, Clarence Howard, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 789, was indicted in Hamilton County Criminal Court for the State of Tennessee on one count of theft in an amount of over $1,000 from the Chattanooga-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Nevada Painters Local Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

Painters logoOn November 28, Kristine Stephens, former administrative assistant and bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 567, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada with embezzling approximately $80,000 in funds from the Sparks, Nev. union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Maintenance of Way Local Secretary in Wisconsin Pleads No Contest; Sentenced

BMWE logoOn November 26, Randy Paulson, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Sub-Lodge 1125, a Teamsters affiliate, pleaded no contest in Adams County, Wisconsin Circuit Court to one count of theft from the Adams, Wisc.-based union. He then was ordered to pay $264 in restitution, a $486 fine and $37.50 restitution surcharge by January 25, 2013. Paulson previously had paid $2,245 in restitution prior to sentencing. 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 logoThe increasing overlap of labor and political activism is an insidious form of public corruption in this country. It enables union officials to deemphasize their role of representing workers at the bargaining table in favor of advocating policies to socialize the economy, building incestuous relationships with politicians, and fattening their bank accounts. This tendency was heavily felt in 2012, a presidential election year. Union leaders recognized the need to re-elect their ally and benefactor, President Barack Obama, over someone who was a wealthy Republican with a strong business background; i.e., someone they truly could despise. They got what they wanted. In the process, they further built a political infrastructure. Yet union leaders also experienced reversals of fortune at the state level - most of all, in Michigan - where they had been used to getting their way.

Benefits Accountant for Wisconsin Operating Engineers Affiliate Sentenced

Operating Engineers logoSandra Jungbluth may have done her boyfriend's bidding, but she now has to pay the price. Last June 8, Jungbluth, an accountant for a consulting firm that handles benefits for a Wisconsin affiliate of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), was sentenced in a state court to three years of probation for embezzling more than $450,000 in union funds over nearly a decade and forging the signature of a company vice president. As a condition for probation, she must serve eight months in jail. Jungbluth had been charged in February 2011 and pleaded guilty in December of that year. She also will have to make restitution in the amount of $459,000.

Solis Resigns as Labor Secretary; Leaves Pro-Union Legacy

Hilda Solis photoA presidential re-election typically triggers a cabinet reshuffling. The U.S. Department of Labor now can be considered part of the process. Yesterday afternoon, January 9, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation. Solis, previously a four-term Democratic congresswoman from California, had won the job on the strength of her aggressive championing of union interests. In a statement issued shortly thereafter, President Obama lauded Solis as "a tireless champion for working families," adding that "her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers' health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work."

Former Lawyer for New York Thruway Employees Union Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

New York Thruway logoKevin Clor may have had a difficult domestic situation, but that didn't win him much sympathy from the judge. On August 8, Clor, formerly general counsel for New York Thruway Employees Local 72, a Teamsters affiliate, was sentenced in Manhattan state court to at least two years and eight months, and up to eight years, in prison for defrauding the union of $184,000. The actual take had been somewhat higher. He had been indicted in January, and eventually pleaded guilty in June to 34 counts of grand larceny, possession of forged documents, and falsification of records. In a brief statement to Acting State Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman, Clor accepted responsibility for his actions and vowed to fully compensate the union. As of August, he had paid around $30,000.

Police Benevolent Association Ex-President in Miami Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Miami at nightCops normally make arrests for theft. Vernell Reynolds, a former police officer with the City of Miami, turned out to be an arrestee. And one day - should it ever arrive - she'll likely go to prison. On April 25, Reynolds pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to fraud and tax evasion relating to her embezzlement in excess of $200,000 from her union, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association (MCPBA), which represents black law enforcement officers in the Miami-Dade County area and which she headed. She had been indicted and arrested in January 2012. Though originally scheduled for sentencing in July, and then again in August, no record of any sentence could be found. The U.S. Attorney's Office this week was unable to provide updated information. That may be the way Reynolds prefers it.

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