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.

Detroit CWA Vice President Charged with Embezzlement

Communications Workers logoOn August 18, Karen McJimpson, former executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 4004, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling about $19,000 in funds from the Detroit union.  The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Corrupt Coli Family, Chicago Teamsters under Fresh Scrutiny

The good old days of union nepotism never really went away – not in Chicago anyway. According to published sources, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727, long a virtual candy store for boss John Coli Sr. (in photo) and extended family, has been providing lavish compensation for a law firm whose managing partner is one of Coli's sons.  The firm has been busy as of late.  In July, a Cook County judge ruled that the elder Coli and Teamsters Local 700, of which he is a trustee, were jointly liable for $2.3 million for breaking a building lease.  That's not even taking into account a now-dismissed RICO suit charging the Colis and Local 727 with stiffing a funeral employee pension plan out of contributions.  If the family needs allies, it knows where to look, especially Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Ex-Teamster President in Louisville Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Teamsters logoJerry Thomas Vincent Jr. hasn’t run his union for four years.  But the experience continues to catch up with him.  On August 17, Vincent, formerly president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to one count of embezzling $17,272.84 in funds during 2009-11 from the Louisville-based union and 13 counts of falsifying records to cover up the thefts.  Vincent had been indicted in July 2014 for committing thefts totaling this amount and for receiving $23,760 in unauthorized loans.  He is scheduled for sentencing in December.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

President of Postal Workers Supervisors Local in Alaska Charged

U.S. Post Office On August 19, Kenneth Vanderwyst, former vice president and then president of the Fairbanks chapter of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska with embezzling $9,541 from a union account from late 2012 through April 7, 2015.  He also was charged with fraud in the amount of $5,535.55 over a one-year period via use of gift cards and an access device.  The charges follow a Labor Department investigation and a grand jury indictment.

Buffalo Public Employees Officials Plead Guilty to Thefts

School busBetty Martin and Duane Rush saw their union as an open cash register.  Now their case is closed.  On June 5, Martin and Rush, respectively, the former president and vice president of the Transportation Aides of Buffalo, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to bank fraud.  The pair had stolen a combined more than $120,000 in funds from the Buffalo-based labor organization, which represents school bus aides employed by the City of Buffalo.  The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.

Machinists Local Secretary-Treasurer in Illinois Charged

Machinists logoOn July 9, Raul Mascote, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 2458, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with one count of embezzling $62,263 in funds from the Minooka, Ill. (near Joliet) union.  The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Michigan Postal Workers President Charged with Embezzlement

Postal Workers logoOn August 12, Jesus Gonzales, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 300, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with one count of embezzlement of $6,720 in funds from the Lansing-based union and one count of falsifying union records.  The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.

Plumbers Local Secretary in Ohio Indicted for Theft, Records Fraud

Plumbers logoHeather Banhidy isn't likely to pursue a career with her union any further.  On August 12, Banhidy, former office secretary for United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 120, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on one count of embezzlement of $13,906 in funds from the Cleveland-based union and one count of falsifying union records.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Ohio Carpenters Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn August 11, Estella Collier, former office secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 200, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to embezzling $12,933 from the Columbus-based union by writing unauthorized checks for making personal purchases.  She had been charged in an information count on July 28 following a joint probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

NLRB Rules in Favor of Teamsters in 'Joint Employer' Case

The National Labor Relations Board has provided unions with a variety of favorable rulings during the Obama years, but perhaps none as dramatic as one last Thursday.  On August 27, the NLRB, in a 3-2 vote, concluded that Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) of California Inc. qualifies as a “joint employer” alongside another firm, Leadpoint Business Services, with which it had contracted to handle labor operations at a Bay Area recycling plant.  As such, both companies must negotiate with a Teamsters affiliate should the results of a representation vote last spring reveal a union victory.  The ruling could force many large employers to the bargaining table over labor issues which they have little or no direct control, while sharply raising business costs for contractors, franchisees and temp agencies.  And it isn’t just the Teamsters who are rejoicing.

BLET Secretary in West Virginia Sentenced for Embezzlement

BLET logoOn August 10, Nathan McCallister, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 101, was sentenced in the Circuit Court of Summers County, West Virginia to two years of probation for embezzling funds from the Hinton, W.Va. union.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,409.  McCallister had pleaded guilty in June after being charged in March.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Autoworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Wisconsin Charged with Theft

UAW logoOn July 28, Helen Genal, former financial secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers’ Fox Valley Area Community Action Program, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin with one count of embezzling $29,968 in funds from the Oshkosh-based labor organization and one count of making a materially false statement.  The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer in Michigan Charged; Pleads Guilty

AFSCME logoOn July 27, Tiffany Randle, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 652, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan with forging checks from a union bank account, of an unspecified sum, for her personal use.  Less than three weeks later, on August 14, she pleaded guilty.  The union is based in Kalamazoo.  The charge follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Louisiana Federal Employees President, Secretary Plead Guilty; Sentenced

NFFE logoJustice in labor corruption cases can work very speedily.  Maxine Davis and Shirley Johns found out the hard way.  On July 27, Davis, former president of National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1953, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to making false statements in union financial records immediately after being charged.  Three days later, on July 30, she was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.  She already had paid $4,875 in restitution.  Davis was in good company.  On July 14, Shirley Johns, former secretary-treasurer of NFFE Local 1953, was charged in the same court with making false statements.  On July 17, she pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.  Johns already had paid $7,190 in restitution.

NLRB Blasted for Lax Enforcement of Beck Rights

By now it is settled judicial opinion:  A private-sector union can’t force nonunion employees under contract to pay dues for purposes beyond those related to collective bargaining.  The Supreme Court cogently expressed this view in its landmark 1988 ruling, Communications Workers of America v. Beck.  Yet it is almost as if the decision never happened.  A new law journal article by prominent Right to Work attorney Raymond LaJeunesse, Jr. explains why.  He points a finger not only at the unions, who at least act out of recognizable self-interest, but more importantly, at the ostensibly nonpartisan National Labor Relations Board.  The NLRB, he argues, using a variety of tactics, over the years has acted more as a de facto advocate for unionism than as a guardian of the public trust.  And the situation has gotten worse under President Obama.

Laborers Bookkeeper in Southern Illinois Pleads Guilty to Theft

LIUNA logoThere wasn’t much question about whether Carolyn Hall had taken union funds.  At least it could be said that she was able and willing to return them.  On August 7, Hall, formerly bookkeeper for Laborers International Union of North America Local 1197, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to one count of embezzling $26,491 in funds from the McLeansboro (Hamilton County), Ill.-based union.  She had been charged this past April following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  Court records show that she already has made full restitution.

NLRB Denies Union Standing for Northwestern Football Players

Some would call it punting.  Others would call it common sense.  Both summations might apply.  On Monday, August 17, the National Labor Relations Board unanimously ruled that scholarship football players at Northwestern University cannot form a union.  In overturning a March 2014 regional NLRB decision, the board concluded that allowing union organizing at one campus, but not at others, would be disruptive.  The ruling read:  “Our decision is primarily premised on a finding that because of the nature of sports leagues…it would not promote stability in labor relations to assert jurisdiction in this case.”  While the decision is a rebuke to the players’ request, its scope is narrow.  By declining to rule on whether student-athletes qualify as “employees,” the board has kept the door open for similar cases.    

Memphis Bakery & Tobacco Workers President Sentenced

Bakery & Tobacco Workers logoOn June 25, William Magee, former president of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Local 252G, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to three years of probation, with six months home detention, for embezzling funds from the Memphis union.  He also was ordered to pay $71,908 in restitution and a $100 assessment.  Magee had pleaded guilty in February following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Transportation Union Secretary in Washington State Sentenced

United Transportation Union logo On July 1, Alfonso Rodriguez, former secretary-treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 117, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to three years of probation and 160 hours of community service for false financial reporting.  He also was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $34,601 to the Southworth (Kitsap County), Wash.-based union.  Rodriguez had pleaded guilty in March following an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Three NYC Union Bosses Charged in 1M+ Kickback and Embezzlement Scheme

New York City skylineBenefit plans arguably have become the most lucrative source of illegal income in the world of organized labor.  Federal prosecutors in Manhattan don’t need to be reminded of that.  On July 1, New York City union officials Rocco Miranti, Johnnie Miranti and Louis Smith were arrested and indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for their roles in obtaining more than $1 million through kickbacks and theft from allied health plans.  The three defendants, respectively, are business manager of Allied Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, secretary-treasurer of Local 223, and ex-president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810.  The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division.

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