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.

New Orleans Ironworkers Secretary Pleads Guilty to Theft

Iron Workers logoOn March 12, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary for International Association of Iron Workers Local 58, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to embezzling an unspecified sum of funds from the New Orleans-based union. She had been charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

NLRB Forces Unionism on NCAA Sports

Northwestern footballIt's hard to imagine a blurring of the line between amateur and professional sports more flagrant than the National Labor Relations Board Chicago regional office ruling last Wednesday that Northwestern football players, as "employees," are eligible to unionize. Cheerleaders for the decision include the United Steelworkers and the NFL Players Association. This is to be expected. Unions envision more members, dues and bargaining power. Though the NLRB decision applies only to athletes on scholarship at private institutions, only the naïve would believe it won't influence practices at state schools - or the willingness of unions to organize players at either.

Twin Cities-Area CWA Shop Chairman Pleads Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

Communications Workers logoOn March 12, Jason Brown, former shop chairman of Communications Workers of America Local 87140, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Court to theft in an amount of over $1,000 from the Minneapolis-based union. He then was sentenced to one year and one day of confinement (stayed for five years), but ordered to serve 90 days of confinement in addition to five years of probation. He also was ordered to pay $3,905 in restitution less what he previously had paid. Brown had been charged last November. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Sheet Metal Workers Business Manager in Oklahoma Charged; Pleads Guilty

Sheet Metal Workers logoOn March 11, Michael Couch, former business manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 270, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma with false entry and concealment of facts in financial records of the Tulsa union. He then pleaded guilty. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFSCME President in Kansas City, Mo. Indicted for Fraud

AFSCME logoFor four years Jesse Morgan headed a union that represented prison employees. He's now likely to experience what it's like to be an inmate. On February 25, Morgan, former president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on 29 counts of fraud in connection with embezzlement of more than $185,000 in union funds during nearly his entire tenure in office. The indictment, which contains a forfeiture allegation, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

West Virginia AFGE Local Officials Sentenced for Thefts

AFGE logoOn March 6, Janet Posey and Linda Bland, respectively, the former president and vice president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2384, were sentenced in U.S. District for the Northern District of West Virginia, for stealing funds in an amount of less than $1,000 from the Clarksburg, W.Va.-based union and then concealing the thefts in union records. Each had pled guilty last October after being indicted in August. Posey previously had made full restitution in the amount of $3,026; Bland was ordered to pay $947 in restitution plus a $250 fine. AFGE Local 2384 represents employees of the Clarksburg VA Medical Center. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Identity Thief Who Stole from Marine Engineers Union Pleads Guilty

Marine Engineers logoOn March 6, Kenneth Marshall Jr. pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of bank theft, and one count of aiding and abetting. Marshall, indicted in January, had cashed two counterfeit checks totaling $18,851 drawn on the bank account of Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA) District 1. MEBA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. According to a union spokesman, this was a case of identity theft. The indictment and guilty plea follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Boilermakers Bookkeeper in Indiana Charged with Embezzlement

BoilermakerOn February 7, Karen Stone, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local Lodge 374, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana with embezzling $9,169 in funds from the Hammond union. She then pleaded guilty. The charge and guilty plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Oklahoma Carpenters Secretary Sentenced for Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn February 5, Angela Webster, former office secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 943, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to six years of probation and ordered to pay $23,015 in restitution for embezzling funds from the Tulsa union. She had been indicted last September and pleaded guilty in November to stealing a reported $13,015. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Fresno ATU Secretary-Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

ATU logo Adam Raimer used his union like a personal bank. At least he's repaid a large part of what he stole. On February 3, Raimer, formerly secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1027, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to five years of probation for one count each of embezzlement and access device fraud against the Fresno union in the amount of $41,429. He also was ordered to pay the remaining restitution of $18,429 plus a $200 special assessment. ATU Local 1027 represents city bus drivers in Fresno and MV Transportation bus drivers, dispatchers and mechanics in Fresno and Tulare.

NLRB Revives 'Ambush Election' Rule to Thwart Opposition to Union Campaigns

NLRB logoA fair election campaign operates on the principle of a "level playing field" - while neither side is guaranteed victory, each should have an equal opportunity to state its case. The National Labor Relations Board has an unusual interpretation. On February 5, the NLRB reissued a rule that would curtail the ability of nonunion employers and employees to oppose union organizing drives. This 'quickie' or 'ambush' election rule, is a near rewrite of its 2011 rule change that briefly made it onto the books before being struck down on procedural grounds by a federal court in May 2012. Here, as before, the allowable time frame for opponents of a union drive to express their views would be reduced from 42 days to as few as 10 days.

UFCW Secretary-Treasurer in Louisiana Pleads Guilty to Theft; Sentenced

Food and Commercial Workers logoOn February 3, Patrick Parker, formerly secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 638C, pleaded guilty in the 16th Judicial District Court, St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana, to theft in an amount of $1,500 or more from the Franklin, La.-based union. He then was sentenced to five years at hard labor (suspended) and ordered to pay $4,480 in restitution and $1,375 in fines. The guilty plea and sentencing follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New Orleans-Area Carpenters Secretary Charged with Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn February 3, Jeanine Breaux, former secretary-bookkeeper for United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 1846, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with one count of embezzlement of funds in an unspecified amount from the Metairie-based union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Letter Carriers Secretary in Alabama Indicted for Embezzlement

NALC logoOn January 31, Harold Ray, former secretary of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 469 and former secretary of the NALC Alabama State Association, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on one count of embezzling $38,565 in union funds. NALC Branch 469 is located in Mobile, while the state association is located in Birmingham. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Office Manager of Boilermakers Training Fund Sentenced for $400K+ Embezzlement

Boilermaker at workThe International Brotherhood of Boilermakers training fund had a cash shortfall. And the reason was that the money was going into the pockets of an executive assistant. On Monday, March 17, Angela Heninger, sales and marketing director/office manager for the fund, known as Mobilization, Optimization, Stabilization and Training Trust (MOST), was sentenced in Kansas City, Kan. federal court to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $400,000 over a more than a half decade. She had pleaded guilty last August 22 to embezzlement after being charged in a superseding information count the previous day. Heninger also was ordered to pay $640,000 in restitution. 

Steelworkers Secretary in Dallas-Fort Worth Area Charged with Theft; Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn January 23, Linda Ryan, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 208, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with embezzling $54,416 in funds from the Irving, Tex. union. She pleaded guilty a week later on January 30. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Local Treasurer in Oklahoma Sentenced

AFGE logoOn January 28, Shelly Roanhorse, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3601, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma to three years of probation and ordered to pay $4,565 in restitution for making false statements in the financial records of the Claremore, Okla.-based union. She had pleaded guilty in October after being indicted in September. AFGE Local 3601 represents employees at the federal Indian Hospital in Claremore. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Correction & Apology to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America

shameOn March 11, we published an item titled "Illinois Electrical Workers Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement, " in which we inaccurately reported the name of the union with which the offender was affiliated. We identified Melissa Gustafson, who was sentenced to probation on March 7, as "a former bookkeeper for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 84110." In fact, Ms. Gustafson is a former bookkeeper for International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84110. Despite their similar names, these are different unions. Indeed, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America has no Local 84110.

We compounded our error by illustrating the posting with the logo of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. We apologize for these mistakes. Since we always strive for accuracy and fairness in our Union Corruption Update postings, and in all our public communications, we are happy to set the record straight.

 

Iron Workers Secretary in New Orleans Charged with Embezzlement

Iron Workers logoOn January 27, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary of International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 58, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with embezzling funds from the New Orleans-based union in an unspecified amount. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Former Chicago-Area AFGE President Pleads Guilty to Fraud

AFGE logoOn January 28, James Charleston, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2107, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of mail fraud. The union is based in North Chicago (Lake County), Ill., and represents employees of that city's VA Medical Center. Charleston originally had been indicted in July 2012, along with local officials Jacquelyn Pugh-Rodgers and Mary Craigen, with one count of embezzlement and two counts of mail fraud. In August 2013, he was charged in a superseding indictment with four counts of mail fraud and one count of theft of government property. Pugh-Rodgers already had pleaded guilty last March, and was sentenced in July for mail fraud in an amount of more than $35,000. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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