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.

Was UAW No-Strike Clause Another GM Bailout Deception?

Back during the days of General Motors' bankruptcy proceedings, media reports cited the many "sacrifices" made by the politically favored UAW. I have long wondered what these many sacrifices were, as UAW members seem to be doing pretty well since the GM bankruptcy. One such "sacrifice" was a supposed agreement that the UAW could not go on strike at GM until after 2015, as mentioned in this Bloomberg piece, and accepted as fact by all media sources. I questioned this assertion in a piece I wrote in December of 2010, but as has been the case with much of the coverage of GM, the potential GM deception was left unchallenged by auto journalists and the mainstream media. Recent reports of a strike authorized by GM UAW workers in Kansas now raise the question of if my suspicions were correct that there are no binding agreements to prevent strikes at GM plants.

Ohio Glass Workers Local Secretary-Treasurer Indicted for Theft

GlassmakingOn November 9, William Geisler, former secretary-treasurer of Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 45, was indicted in Franklin County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas on one count of felony theft in the amount of $4,295 from the Columbus union. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Secretary-Treasurer of Pennsylvania Transportation Local Charged

Transit busOn November 9, Derek Klingman, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1006, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern of Pennsylvania for embezzling $9,354.84 in funds from the Finleyville, Pa. (near Pittsburgh) union. The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Minnesota CWA Local President Files Alford Plea in Theft Case

On November 4, Michelle Jean Nelson, ex-president of Communications Workers of America Local 7272, entered an Alford plea in Polk County (Minn.) Circuit Court to felony theft by false representation in an amount between $1,000 and $5,000 from the Erskine, Minn. (near Grand Forks, N.D.) union. An Alford plea is a guilty plea, but one in which the defendant does not admit committing the alleged act, but instead concedes that the evidence for a conviction is sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt. Nelson had been charged in March. The charge and Alford plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former UAW Officers at Detroit-Area GM Truck Plant Sentenced

UAW logoSometimes the unfinished business of a strike can take years to resolve. In the case of Donny Douglas and Jay Campbell, it was close to 15 years. Douglas and Campbell, each a former officer with United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 594 in Pontiac, Mich., were sentenced in Detroit federal court on December 19 for conspiracy to commit extortion and violate the Taft-Hartley Act. The pair had used their bargaining leverage to extend a strike in 1997 against General Motors by telling GM negotiators if they didn't hire Campbell's son and the son of another UAW official for high-paying jobs, the strike would continue. Douglas received 18 months in prison, while Campbell received 12 months and a day in prison.

Will GM's Akerson Come Clean on the Chevy Volt?

Akerson and VoltGeneral Motors' CEO, Dan Akerson, is scheduled to testify at congressional hearings on the NHTSA delay in reporting Chevy Volt fires. GM and the government agency waited about five months to report an incident involving a Volt which erupted in flames weeks after a crash-test. Up to this point, Akerson has not exactly been honest about the Volt; can we now expect him to come clean?

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.

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