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.

City of Seattle Paves Way for Rideshare Driver Organizing

Ridesharing, that scourge of the taxi industry, is getting an upgrade, union-style.  On December 14, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to authorize union organizing of independent drivers for Uber, Lyft and similar livery services.  The ordinance, the result of pressure from a Teamster local and several rideshare drivers, would require such businesses to hand over lists of drivers to a union.  Labor activists argue that drivers, though classified as contractors, are treated as employees and thus should be able to collectively bargain.  Yet this view ignores the features of ridesharing that make it so attractive to customers and drivers alike.  Uber and Lyft, meanwhile, say the measure violates federal labor and antitrust laws.

Treasurer of Michigan Letter Carriers Local Pleads Guilty

Letter Carriers logoOn December 2, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of stealing $9,650 in funds from the Menominee (Upper Peninsula) union.  Casperson had been indicted in June for embezzlement and records fraud.  The indictment and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Carpenters Secretary in Ohio Sentenced for Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn December 2, Estella Collier, former office secretary and bookkeeper for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 200, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one year of probation for embezzling $12,933 in funds from the Columbus-based union.  She also was ordered to pay full restitution and attend meetings of Gamblers Anonymous.  Collier had been charged in an information count in July, after which she pleaded guilty in August.  The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Longshoremen Local Treasurer in Ohio Charged with Theft

Longshoremen at workOn December 1, John Allen, former treasurer of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1982, was charged in the Lucas County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas with one count of theft in the sum of $1,940 from the Toledo union.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Houston Transportation Union Secretary Sentenced for Theft

SMART Transportation Union logoOn November 20, Henry Shuler, former treasurer of United Transportation Union (SMART) Local 1892, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment for embezzling $40,118 in funds over a six-year period from the Houston-based union.  He already had paid full restitution.  Shuler had pleaded guilty in April following a one-count charge in February.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Oklahoma LIUNA Local Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced

LIUNA logoOn November 20, Michael Low, former secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 2097, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to 18 days of incarceration, three years of probation and 104 hours of community service for making false statements in union financial records in connection with his embezzlement of $12,937 in funds from the Oklahoma City-based union.  Low, who already had paid restitution, also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.  He had pleaded guilty back on March 26 after being charged that day.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Michigan Sentenced for Fraud

AFSCME logoTiffany Randle’s remorse probably kept her out of prison.  On November 23, Randle, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 652, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one day of imprisonment (with credit for time served) and two years of probation for defrauding the Kalamazoo-based union.  She also was ordered to pay $23,727 in restitution.  Randle had pleaded guilty in August after being indicted in July.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

New Mexico Laborers Local Business Agent Indicted for Theft

LIUNA logoOn November 19, Daniel Correa, business agent for Laborers International Union of North American Local 16, was indicted in the Third Judicial District Court of Santa Ana County, N.M. on one count of embezzlement in an amount exceeding $20,000 from the Albuquerque-based union.  The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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.

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