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.

Maintenance of Way Secretary-Treasurer in Illinois Indicted

BMWE logoOn November 17, Joshua Lewis, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 212, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on one count of making false statements in financial records of the Gillespie, Ill. union.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Illinois Local AFSCME Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

AFSCME logoJeffrey Magelitz managed the finances of a union representing prison employees.  Now he may wind up one of its inmates.  On November 18, Magelitz, former treasurer of Local 415 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for embezzlement and theft, and for concealment of these acts in a union financial report.  The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ex-Boston Teamster Convicted of Extortion; Pleads Guilty to Benefit Fraud

Teamsters logoJames “Jimmy the Bull” Deamicis wasn’t the only bad apple in International Brotherhood of Teamster Local 82.  But the authorities weren’t about to let him get away.  On November 17, Deamicis, former shop steward for the local, was found guilty by a jury in Boston federal court on three counts of extortion.  Less than two weeks later, he pled guilty to fraudulently receiving more than $40,000 in unemployment benefits.  Deamicis had been indicted in September 2012 along with three other members of the local on 30 separate counts of racketeering, extortion, mail fraud and other crimes against local businesses, especially exhibitors at Boston-area trade shows.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Boston police.

Postal Workers Ex-Local President in Indiana Sentenced

Postal Workers logoOn November 16, Pamela Nessen, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 286, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to six months of home confinement and one year of probation for embezzling $58,598 in funds from the Fort Wayne-based union.  She had pleaded guilty in June after being indicted in November 2014.  She also was ordered to pay $58,087 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

VW Maintenance Workers in Chattanooga to Join Union; Automaker Appeals

When the United Auto Workers in April 2014 gave up on its bid to unionize hourly workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga two months after its ballot defeat, then-President Bob King intimated the union would be back.  It's a lot more than an intimation now.  On December 4, robotics and other machine maintenance workers at the facility voted 108-44 in favor of UAW representation.  The National Labor Relations Board a week earlier had approved a union request for an election.  Unlike the last time, VW is not siding with the union.  Even before the vote, the German automaker had announced its intent to appeal the NLRB ruling.  The victorious workers are but a fraction of all employees, but they are celebrating all the same.  And the NLRB remains very much in the picture.

Steelworkers Secretary in Missouri Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn October 30, Jackie Nutter, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 15485, pleaded guilty in the Greene County, Missouri Circuit Court to one count of theft of $12,284 of funds from the Springfield-based union.  She then was sentenced to five years (suspended) in prison and five years of probation.  Nutter, who already had paid full restitution, had been charged with theft in September 2014.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Local Treasurer in Kansas Indicted for Bank Fraud

AFGE logoOn November 10, Shelly Sutton, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 477, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on one count of bank fraud in the amount of $65,000 from the union, which represents employees at the VA hospital in Wichita.  Sutton, 46, a resident of Augusta, Kan., allegedly did the following:  forged check signatures; made unauthorized cash withdrawals; made unauthorized electronic payments to personal creditors; and used the union debit card to buy personal items.  The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transit Police Union President in NYC Sentenced for Fraud

NYC transit police patchJohn Earvin used union funds to pay for personal expenses, much of it gambling-related.  Now he’s about to pay a debt to society.  On November 10, Earvin, formerly president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers (UFLEO), was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to six months of home confinement, three years of probation and 600 hours of community service for embezzling funds from the Bellerose (Nassau County), N.Y.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $28,012.  Earvin had pleaded guilty in June after being arrested and indicted on one count of wire fraud in March.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Secretary-Treasurer of Washington, D.C. AFGE Local Charged

AFGE logoOn November 6, Marcella Champion, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1831, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with one count of theft from the Washington, D.C. union in the amount of $4,130.  The local represents federal security employees.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Amtrak Union Treasurer in New York Sentenced

Fraternal Order of Police logoFor Eric Givens, being an Amtrak cop was an opportunity to steal union funds as well as protect the public.  That’s why he’s now about to embark on a trip of a different sort.  On November 12, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to 16 months in prison and three months of supervised release for embezzling a combined more than $100,000 in funds from the two New York-based labor organizations.  He also was ordered to pay about $127,000 in restitution and forfeit another roughly $12,000.  Givens had pleaded guilty in June following his arrest and indictment a year earlier.

Oregon CWA Local Secretary-Treasurer Indicted

Communications Workers logoOn October 30, Bonita Scherling, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 7970, was indicted in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, County of Hood River, on one count of theft, one count of forgery and two counts of identity theft in relation to her position at the Hood River-based union.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Bookkeeper for Boston-Area Painters Council Sentenced for Theft

Painters union logoOn October 29, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to two years of probation for embezzling $40,930 in funds from the Roslindale (Boston), Mass.-based union.  She also was ordered to pay $18,720 in restitution, a $2,500 fine and a $100 special assessment.  Askew, who previously paid $22,209 in restitution, had pled guilty in July after being charged in June.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UFCW Goes to Pot; Northern California Organizer Indicted

Marijuana dispensaryMarijuana has become a labor issue as well as a legal and commercial one.  In one union, that means corruption.  On September 17, Daniel Rush, an organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers, was indicted in Oakland, Calif. by a federal grand jury for bribe-taking, attempted extortion, honest services fraud, and money-laundering related to his receipt of over $500,000 in cash and other things of value from marijuana dispensary employers in return for his advice to the employers on how to avoid being unionized.  Arrested on August 11 after a lengthy FBI probe, Rush pleaded not guilty on September 23.  A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California told NLPC today that a status conference is set for December 14.

Cincinnati UFCW Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

United Food and Commercial Workers logoOn October 27, Chad Petras, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342C, pleaded guilty in the Hamilton County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas to one count of attempted theft of funds from the union.  He then was sentenced to 180 days in jail (suspended) and one year of probation, and was ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution and a $150 fine.  Petras had been indicted on one count in January 2013.  The union, at the time of the offense was based in Rising Sun, Ind., but since has moved to Cincinnati.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Iron Workers Office Manager in Cincinnati Sentenced

Iron Workers logoOn October 27, Julie Skaggs, former office manager of International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 372, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to six months of home detention and five years of probation for embezzlement of $51,491 in funds from the Cincinnati union.  She also was ordered to pay $67,874 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.  Skaggs pleaded guilty in July after being charged in March 2014.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Secretary-Treasurer of Transportation Union in Mississippi Indicted

SMART (United Transportation Union)On October 20, James Adams, former secretary treasurer of Transportation Division Local 427 of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation, or SMART (formerly United Transportation Union), was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on one count of embezzling $45,043 in funds from the Byram, Miss.-based union and one count of making false statements in union financial records.  The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Union Treasurer in Nebraska Sentenced for Embezzlement

United Transportation Union logoOn October 19, Richard Molczyk, former treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 493, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska to five years of probation and ordered to pay $13,196 in restitution and a $100 special assessment for embezzling funds from the Omaha union.  He had pleaded guilty in April after being indicted in August 2014.  United Transportation Union is now formally Transportation Division of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART), the UTU and the Sheet Metal Workers having merged several years ago.  Local 493 is now based in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Electrical Workers President in Upstate New York Indicted

IBEW logoOn October 19, Brian Scott, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 503, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on one count of embezzlement of an unspecified sum and one count of false reporting.  The union is based in Monroe (Orange County), N.Y.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Will Unions Force Employers to Recognize Card Checks?

“Card Check:  The Sequel” has arrived.  No, it’s not a movie.  It’s a congressional bill.  And labor unions are counting on a happy ending this time.  On October 6, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., unveiled the Workplace Democracy Act (S.2142, H.R. 3690).  The measure would force nonunion private-sector employers to recognize a union as a bargaining agent if it obtains signed pledge cards from over half of all potentially affected workers.  This organizing tactic, known as a “card check,” is legal.  And unions often use it as a prelude to, or a substitute for, a secret ballot representation election.  The bill’s name is misleading.  It’s no more about democracy than its almost identical forerunner, the Employee Free Choice Act, was about freedom of choice.  And its economic effects are not likely to be salutary. 

AFGE Local President in Upstate New York Indicted for Fraud

AFGE logoA debit card can be highly convenient, especially if the name on the card refers to a deceased individual.  William Davis has found out such a practice carries a downside.  On October 23, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of Davis, ex-president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1119, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on one count of wire fraud and two counts of making false financial statements in the theft of more than $120,000 in union funds.  The union represents about 300 employees at the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System’s FDR campus in Montrose, N.Y. (Westchester County).  The charges follow a joint probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General.

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