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.

Ohio UAW Local President Charged with False Record-Keeping

UAW logoOn November 21, Patricia Race, former president of United Auto Workers Local 959, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, with one count of failing to disclose a material fact in the Fremont, Ohio (near Sandusky) union's annual financial report. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Utility Workers Official in Michigan Sentenced for Records Fraud

Utility Workers logoOn November 19, Alan Grayewski, former chairman of Utility Workers Union of America Local 223 - Office, Professional & Technical Division, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one year of probation for failing to properly maintain union records related to his theft of funds from the Dearborn-based union. He also was ordered to pay $9,794.76 in restitution and a $25 assessment. Grayewski pled guilty in August after being charged in June following an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Shipping Companies, Longshoremen Reach Tentative Pact; Avert Strike

Longshoreman at workWhatever else might be said of the International Longshoremen's Association, this is one union that knows how to drive a hard bargain. On December 27, a federal mediator announced the ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance had reached a tentative contract agreement, thus heading off a potentially crippling strike at 14 Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. The key obstacle to a settlement - whether or not to scrap cargo container royalties amounting to over $15,000 per worker a year - has been removed. Port owners had argued the practice is needless and costly; the union had insisted it is fair compensation for jobs lost to automation.

President of Federal Security Guard Union Found Guilty of Theft, Records Fraud

Security guardAfter more than half a dozen years, Caleb Gray-Burriss has run out of options. On December 4, Gray-Burriss, founder-president of the National Association of Special Police and Security Officers (NASPSO), was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on 18 counts, including six counts each for mail fraud and embezzlement, in connection with more than $250,000 in thefts from union general and benefit funds. The Washington, D.C.-based union represents around 800 private security guards assigned to federal government buildings. The verdict comes in the wake of an indictment and a pair of superseding indictments, which in turn had followed a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.

Manager of Insulators Union PAC Indicted for $500K+ Theft

Heat and Frost Insulators Union logoMoney collected by a political action committee presumably goes for political campaigns. Cora Carper apparently had ideas of her own. And as fate would have it, so do federal prosecutors. On November 14, Carper, former fund manager for a PAC sponsored by the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, was indicted on six counts by a Greenbelt, Maryland federal grand jury for embezzling more than $500,000 from a PAC sponsored by the Lanham, Md.-based union, which represents more than 20,000 insulation industry workers in the U.S. and Canada. Carper faces up to five years in prison plus forfeiture of all stolen money. No initial court appearance has been scheduled yet.

AFGE Local President in Washington State Charged with Theft

AFGE logoOn November 16, David Currie, former president and treasurer of Local 2583 of the American Federation of Government Employees, was charged in the Superior Court of Washington, County of Clark, with two counts of theft in an unspecified amount from the Vancouver, Wash.-based union. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Western Pennsylvania Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

Letter Carriers logoOn November 16, Frank Rysz, former secretary-treasurer for National Association of Letter Carriers Local Branch 1124, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to one count of embezzling $12,514.91 in funds from the New Stanton, Pa. union. Rysz had been indicted in March. The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-CWA President, Treasurer in Michigan Charged with Theft

Communications Workers logo On November 14, James Killingsworth and Billie Jo Killingsworth, respectively, former president and treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 84555, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with aiding and abetting each other in the embezzlement of $19,197.02 in funds from the Webberville, Mich. (southeast of Lansing) union. The defendants allegedly made unauthorized ATM and cash withdrawals from the union bank account. The charges follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Federal Employees Devoting More Working Hours to Union Business

Working for the federal government carries an implicit agreement: Employees serve the taxpayers who make their jobs possible. Yet an apparently significant and growing portion of employees are using time on the job to conduct union-related activity. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently estimated that federal workers during Fiscal Year 2011 spent a combined 3.4 million hours on the job conducting union business at a cost of $155 million. These figures represent increases of 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively, over those of Fiscal Year 2010, which in turn were somewhat higher than the figures for Fiscal Year 2009.

New Mexico Local Police Union Probed for Missing Funds

Fraternal Order of Police logoPolice officers spend a lot of time investigating theft. Yet sometimes they, or their civilian employees, are the ones who get investigated. This past April, the Santa Fe Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the New Mexico State Police and the Santa Fe District Attorney's Office each confirmed the existence of an active criminal probe into the nature of missing funds from the Santa Fe chapter of the FOP. No charges have been filed in the ensuing months nor have any arrests been made. But evidence gathered thus far underscores how heavily the FOP, and not just its Santa Fe lodge, has come to rely on gambling for revenues.

Taxpayers Get Hosed in GM Buyback of Treasury Shares

Government MotorsLet's all rejoice! The Treasury Department is finally beginning to unload the taxpayers' stake in General Motors after a three and a half year stint of government involvement in the company. While the decision to get taxpayers out of the private sector is the correct one, the move is hardly a cure-all for what ails GM. And despite reports to the contrary, this does not bring closure to all groups that were involved in the unprecedented intrusion of government into the private sector that saw politically-powerful groups like the UAW receive favorable treatment over other classes.

Court Hears Challenge to Obama NLRB Recess Appointments

NLRB logoThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), normally with five members, now has three. And not long from now, it may have just one. President Obama's apparent desire to circumvent Senate intent is part of the problem. On Wednesday, December 5, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in a case concerning Obama's filling of three vacant NLRB slots nearly a year ago. The case, Noel Canning v. NLRB, originated in a complaint filed by a Washington State business that the president had usurped the Senate's constitutional powers of appointment because lawmakers were not in recess. And since these were not actual recess appointments, the president lacked the authority to make them. The eventual outcome will have implications for the board's ability to operate over the long term.

Michigan Enacts Pair of Right to Work Laws; Unions Erupt

Union demonstrators in MichiganAnd now there are two dozen. This Tuesday, December 11, the Michigan House of Representatives passed, and Governor Rick Snyder signed, a pair of laws designed to protect employees from having to pay dues (or "agency fees" in lieu of joining) to a union in order to keep their jobs. The measures, one each applying to the private and public sector, make Michigan the nation's 24th state with "Right to Work" legislation. "We are moving forward on the topic of workplace fairness and equality," stated Gov. Snyder during an evening press conference following passage. Unions are taking the opposite view. About 12,500 opponents showed up at the State Capitol Building in Lansing to protest, with about 2,500, many of them shouting slogans, jamming the interior.

California Police Officers Local President Charged with Theft

Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon BayProsecutors see it as stealing. Askia "A.J." Johnson sees it as creative borrowing. And he's shown a willingness to pull out the stops to make his point. Over a year and a half ago, Johnson, formerly an officer with the Half Moon Bay Police Department and president of its union, the Half Moon Bay Police Officers' Association, was charged in San Mateo County (Calif.) Superior Court with embezzling about $5,700 in union funds. But though admitting having taken the money, he's pleaded not guilty. And he's sought a dismissal of the case, first on medical and then on civil rights grounds. Neither ploy has worked. His own testimony next month might.

Letter Carriers Ex-Treasurer in Georgia Indicted for Fraud, Theft

Letter Carriers logoOn November 15, Joseph Allen, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Local 588, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on one count of bank fraud, one count of providing a false statement to a credit union, one count of filing a false financial report, and six counts of embezzling a combined $3,107.73 in funds from the Athens, Ga.-based union. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Minneapolis CWA Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

CWA logoOn November 14, Dennis Earley, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 87140, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County Court of Minnesota to theft by swindle of more than $5,000 from the Minneapolis-based union. He then was sentenced to 10 days in a work house and three years of probation, and ordered to pay a $500 fine. Earley had been charged in August. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Local Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Pleads Guilty

On November 13, Robert Stephenson, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 2903, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to omitting information on union financial reports related to his embezzlement of approximately $18,000 in local funds he diverted to his own personal use. The union is based in Westville, Ind., part of the Michigan City-LaPorte area, near Lake Michigan. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former President of Florida AFGE Local Charged with Fraud

AFGE logoOn November 13, Danny Hubbard, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1380, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in a 24-count indictment with wire fraud from the Panama City, Fla. union. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Texas Local AFGE Ex-President Charged with Theft

AFGE logoOn November 8, Roberto Macias Jr., former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2759, was charged in the 4th Judicial District Court, County of Rusk, Texas, with theft in the amount of $2,800 from the El Paso-based union. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

FBI Raid Shows New York Unions Are Still Mob Targets

Genovese soldier Salvester ZarzanaThe Genovese crime family has a well-earned reputation as the most feared of New York City's five Mafia organizations. An FBI bust this spring may weaken that standing. Local unions are hoping so. On April 18, an 18-count indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court charging 11 arrestees with racketeering, embezzlement, extortion and other offenses. At least eight are Genovese soldiers or associates, including capo Conrad Ianniello, nephew of recently-deceased onetime acting boss Matthew Ianniello. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, Eastern District of New York, stated: "This indictment is the most recent chapter in this office's continued fight against organized crime's efforts to infiltrate unions and businesses operating in New York City." All defendants, save for one, have pleaded not guilty. Her spokesman told NLPC this week that all other cases are still pending.

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