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.

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.

Orange County Teamster Bosses Set to Plead Guilty to Theft, Cover-Up; Face $1M+ Civil Suit

Teamsters logoFred Correll and his son-in-law, Ryan Sherard, if nothing else, have their bank accounts intact. But even those might not last long. On or just before February 5, Correll and Sherard, two longtime Southern California International Brotherhood of Teamsters leaders, struck plea deals with federal prosecutors related to alleged criminal activity at Teamsters District Council 2, located in Fullerton (Orange County). Correll had been charged the previous week with felony embezzlement of union assets and filing a false income tax return; Sherard had been charged with knowingly omitting information from a union financial statement he filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The plea agreements call for the shortest sentences available.

Postal Workers Treasurer in Minneapolis-St. Paul Area Sentenced

Postal Workers logoOn January 23, David Westgard, former treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 65, was sentenced in the Dakota County, Minnesota District Court to 20 days in prison followed by two years of supervised release for embezzling funds from the Mendota Heights, Minn. union. He also was ordered to pay $4,241 in restitution on top of the $22,719 he already had paid. Westgard had pleaded guilty last November after being charged a year earlier. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio Transport Workers Local Secretary Indicted for Theft

Transport Workers logoOn February 12, Kimberly Williams, former secretary-treasurer of Transport Workers Union Local 12, was indicted in the Franklin County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas on one count of theft from the Columbus union in an amount greater than $1,000 but less than $7,500, and one count of forgery. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Elevator Constructors Business Manager in New Mexico Indicted

IUEC logoOn February 27, Leonard Bridge II, former business manager for International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 131, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on 20 counts of embezzling funds from the Albuquerque-based union. He entered a plea of not guilty and was released pending trial. Bridge, now 43, served as business manager for the union during January 2009-November 2011. Prosecutors allege that during April 2009-August 2011 Bridge embezzled a combined $140,000 on 20 occasions. He carried out his scheme by writing unauthorized checks on the union bank account, and making unauthorized cash withdrawals from the union bank account. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UAW Files Appeal with NLRB over Chattanooga Volkswagen Vote

UAW President Bob KingBy any reasonable assessment, the odds are against the United Auto Workers. But the union is going ahead anyway with its effort to nullify a vote by Volkswagen assembly plant workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. to reject UAW representation. On Friday, February 21, only hours before expiration of the seven-day deadline, the union filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to overturn the election, decided by a 712-to-626 margin. The outcome was a bitter pill to swallow. A victory would have served as a springboard for organizing drives at foreign-owned auto plants elsewhere in the South.

BLET-Teamster Secretary in Tennessee Charged with $200K+ Theft; Strikes Plea Deal

BLET-Teamster logoReda Overton had low self-esteem. Unfortunately, she saw raiding her union's coffers as the way to boost it. On or a little before February 14, Overton, formerly executive secretary for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), General Committee of Adjustment 4-175, a Teamsters affiliate, agreed to plead guilty at an unspecified date in Knoxville federal court to embezzling more than $200,000 from a Tennessee office of the Cynthiana, Ky.-based labor organization over a more than three-year period. She had been charged on January 22 following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. As part of the deal, Overton agreed to skip a grand jury review.

Lawsuit Alleges Solis Failed to Report Free Jet Trips from Los Angeles-Area IUOE Local

Hilda SolisFormer Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis readily admits it: She's a union woman. But her affinity with organized labor is more than just a matter of shared views. On February 10, the Cerritos, Calif.-based Hews Media Group revealed that Solis, now campaigning for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, had accepted thousands of dollars worth of free private jet travel more than five years ago, while still serving in Congress, from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12, but without disclosing these trips, as required by federal law. This finding is cited as a material fact in a federal civil racketeering suit filed in January by four members of the Pasadena-based local against some two dozen people. 

Iron Workers Union Thugs in Philadelphia Indicted

Iron Workers Local 401In Philadelphia construction, there is an unwritten rule: A nonunion contractor, and the people who work for one, should be prepared to accept a deal - on union terms. Otherwise, they face some rough justice. One union, at least, is learning the limits of this business model. Last Tuesday, on February 18, ten members of International Association of Iron Workers Local 401 were indicted in federal court on offenses ranging from racketeering to assault to arson as part of an ongoing campaign to persuade contractors to hire only union labor at selected construction sites. The defendants often operated as members of goon squads.

Florida Steelworkers Local Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoOn January 21, Edward Martin Mosher, former treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 9-458, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to one count of embezzling funds in the amount of $65,895 from the Plant City (Hillsborough County), Fla.-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

UAW Local Secretary-Treasurer in Ohio Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

United Auto Workers logoOn January 17, Kristie McClarren, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 3061, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one count of embezzling funds in the sum of $152,639 from the Crestline (near Mansfield), Ohio-based union. She had been charged in December. The local represents employees at the Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in nearby Shelby. The charge and guilty plea follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Electrical and Radio Workers Financial Secretary in Baltimore Pleads Guilty

UE logoOn January 16, James Babcock, former financial secretary of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 121, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to one count of embezzling funds from the Baltimore union in the amount of $24,854. Babcock had been charged in September after admitting to investigators in May that he had written himself more than 100 union checks over a five-year period for unauthorized purposes. The charge and plea follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

VW Workers in Chattanooga Say 'No' to Union Representation

VW workers in ChattanoogaAll eyes, it seemed, were on Tennessee. The stakes were enormous. If the United Auto Workers got to represent employees at the Volkswagen assembly plant near Chattanooga, which opened in 2011, it could create more organizing successes throughout the South. That gambit now is on hold. Last Friday, February 14, the announcement from VW came: Plant employees, by a 712-to-626 margin, voted to reject UAW representation. In choosing to remain nonunion, the majority expressed their preference for resolving wage, benefit and working conditions issues through a German-style 'works council' rather than formal collective bargaining; VW headquarters has instituted such councils at virtually all its plants around the world.

IBEW Financial Secretary in Texas Indicted for Embezzlement

IBEW logoOn January 15, James Jones, former business manager and financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 898, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on one count of embezzlement of $11,551 in funds from the San Angelo union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Marine Engineers Beneficial Association Employee Indicted

Marine engineer at workOn January 14, Kenneth Marshall Jr., an employee of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank theft and one count of aiding and abetting theft of $18,851 in funds from District 1 of the AFL-CIO-affiliated union. The indictment follows a joint probe by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

NC Protests the Latest Showing of Big Labor's Push Into South

Moral MondayA Saturday march in Raleigh, NC, that consisted of participants from dozens of left-wing groups – many bused in from more than 30 states – marked a new level of effort by national organized labor to assert itself in the South.

The recognized leader of the demonstration is the president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Rev. William Barber (in photo, on right), who recently received national media attention for his remark that black conservatives – such as South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott – are “ventriloquists’ dummies” for the Tea Party. Barber last year conducted a series of “Moral Mondays” protests in the state capital against changes in state law that lowered taxes and limited the growth of government.

Boilermakers Secretary-Treasurer of Kansas Local Charged

On January 10, Stephanie Johnson, former secretary-treasurer of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 465D, was charged in the Oklahoma County Court for District 7 with one count of forgery from the Kansas City, Kan. union. A warrant subsequently was issued for her arrest. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Maintenance of Way Secretary-Treasurer in Tennessee Indicted

Maintenance of Way Employees logoOn January 9, Henry Hull Jr., former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 654, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on one count of embezzling $8,240 in funds from the Southaven, Miss. (Memphis area)-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Treasurer of Civilian Technicians Affiliate in Tennessee Indicted

civilian technicians On January 9, Don McMahon, former treasurer of Civilian Technicians Association Independent, Tennessee State Council for Air, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on eight counts of wire fraud against the Memphis-based union totaling $3,543. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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