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.

NE Pennsylvania Teachers Union President Charged; Set to Plead Guilty

School daysSay this for Lisa Barrett: She isn't one to deny the obvious. Last week, Barrett, former president of the Exeter, Pa.-based Wyoming Area School District Teachers Union, was charged in federal court with embezzling more than $30,000 in funds from the union over a six-year period. According to her attorney, she "has agreed to accept full responsibility for her actions," including making full restitution. She had resigned as union president in February, the same month she took an indefinite leave of absence from her teaching post. The local school board accepted her resignation as a teacher at an August 20 meeting. The school district is located in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

New Orleans-Area Security Professionals President Sentenced

SPFPA logoOn September 5, Wayne Boudoin, former president of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 709, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to two years of probation, including six months of home confinement, for embezzling funds from the Houma, La. union over a more than seven-year period. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $16,398. Boudoin previously had made $20,988 in restitution. He had pleaded guilty in May after being charged in April. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Oklahoma Carpenters Secretary Indicted for Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn September 3, Angela Webster, former office secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 943, was indicted U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma for embezzling $13,015 in funds from the Tulsa-based union. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE Treasurer in Oklahoma Indicted for False Record-Keeping

AFGE logoOn September 3, Shelly Roanhorse, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3601, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma for making false statements in the records of the Claremore (Rogers County), Okla.-based union. Local 3601 represents employees of the federal government's Indian Hospital in Claremore. The indictment follows an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Oklahoma Sheet Metal Workers Business Manager Indicted

Sheet metal workerOn September 3, Michael Couch, former business manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 270, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma for embezzling $12,825 in funds from the Tulsa union. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists Secretary-Treasurer in Mississippi Sentenced

Machinists logoOn September 3, Bonnie Nixon, former secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge W443, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement, for embezzling $15,981.66 in funds from the Laurel-based union. She also was ordered to pay $16,368 in restitution. Nixon had been indicted last December and pleaded guilty in April. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary-Treasurer in Pennsylvania Pleads Guilty

Steelworkers logoOn August 29, Bernard Nolter, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 635, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one count of falsifying records in connection with embezzlement of funds from the Mount Carmel (Northumberland County), Pa.-based union. The guilty plea follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Pennsylvania Glass Workers Local Secretary Charged with Embezzlement

GMP logoOn August 29, David Barr, former secretary-treasurer for Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 99, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania with embezzling funds in the amount of $5,688 from the New Brighton (northwest of Pittsburgh) union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Steelworkers Secretary in Pennsylvania Charged with Records Fraud

Steelworkers logoOn August 28, Michael Pontician, former financial secretary for United Steelworkers Local 480, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to falsifying records to conceal the embezzlement of funds from the Pottsville (Schuylkill County), Pa.-based union. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Baltimore Electrical and Radio Workers Secretary Charged

UE logoOn September 12, James Babcock, financial secretary of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) Local 121, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland with embezzling about $24,000 in funds over a five-year period from the Baltimore union. According to the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Inspector General, Babcock "wrote in excess of one hundred (100) checks to himself drawn against the union operating account, converting the proceeds to his own personal use and benefit, and making misrepresentations on the memo lines of the checks." In a May interview, Babcock allegedly admitted to investigators that "he intentionally stole the union's dues during the relevant period because he was having financial difficulties." The Labor Department also charges that he made "materially false statements and misrepresentations" on union annual financial reporting forms. UE Local 121 represents machinists at the Baltimore-based Clendenin Brothers Inc.

Southern California Fire Insurance Investigator Arrested for Union Theft, Tax Evasion

IAFF logoRobert Perez made a living as a fire detective. But for the last several months the retired employee of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department had police detectives on his trail. And the police search seems to have paid off. On August 30, Perez, a former captain and insurance investigator with the department, turned himself in to county sheriff's office for arrest. Evidence indicated that over a roughly six-year period he had stolen approximately $114,000 from his union, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2046, and on top of that, submitted false tax returns. Perez was released on his own recognizance after a court rescheduled his arraignment date. He faces up to eight years in prison.

Louisiana Graphic Communications President Sentenced for Embezzlement

Graphics workerOn August 21, Malvin Bergeron, former president and secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters-affiliated Graphic Communications International Union Local 537M, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to four years of probation for embezzling funds from the Marrero, La. union. He also was ordered to pay $4,041.88 in restitution and a $3,000 fine. Bergeron had been charged in early May, pleading guilty later that month. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Office Manager of Carpenters Local in Oregon Sentenced

Carpenters logoOn August 21, Dawn Carson, former office manager for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 247, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,509 for embezzling funds from the Portland union. She had been charged with stealing $6,900 in early March, and pleaded guilty later that month. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Two Florida Teachers Charged with Embezzlement from Union

Florida EducationFor more than five years, Sheryl Daniels and Rhoshonda Herring stole from their union without detection. Now they're getting more than their share of unwanted attention. On August 2, the two women, respectively, former president and former treasurer of United Teachers of Suwannee County (UTSC), turned themselves in to the Sheriff's Office of Suwannee County, Florida for arrest in the face of evidence that they had embezzled UTSC funds in excess of $50,000. Last Monday, September 9, Herring and Daniels each pleaded not guilty to one count of grand theft. The union is a joint affiliate of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Boilermakers Training Fund Manager Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Boilermaker at workEmployees at International Brotherhood of Boilermakers headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas are lavishly compensated even by the standards of free-spending unions. Yet one of those employees, Angela Heninger, couldn't resist the compulsion to steal. On August 22, Heninger, sales and marketing director/office manager for a Boilermakers benefit fund called Mobilization, Optimization, Stabilization and Training Trust, or MOST, pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Kan. federal court to a superseding information count of embezzlement. She originally had been charged in April with one count of embezzlement, six counts of wire fraud, and five counts of bank fraud totaling about $50,000. Her true take was likely much higher.

Ambulance/Paramedics Local President in Ohio Indicted

On August 14, Christopher Wheeler, former president of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local 43, was indicted on two counts of theft totaling $3,769 in Medina County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court. The charges follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Teachers Union Secretary-Treasurer in Montana Charged with Embezzlement

Teachers deskSandy Hawkes had a problem with her bills. She may have created a far bigger problem by stealing from her union to pay them. On July 5, Hawkes, secretary-treasurer for the Somers Classified Education Association, was charged in Flathead County, Montana District Court with embezzling about $9,000 in union funds. She already had resigned from her regular job as a secretary at Lakeside Elementary School a month earlier. The charge follows an investigation by the sheriff's office of fast-growing Flathead County, located in northwest Montana just south of the Canadian border. Hawkes pleaded not guilty on August 1. Given the evidence, one has to wonder why.

Detroit Teachers Union Business Manager Charged with Fraud

American Federation of Teachers logoThose questioning the State of Michigan's decision in March 2012 to take control of 15 Detroit city schools should consider the people working for the union representing its teachers - people, at least, like Sherri Patrick. On August 7, Ms. Patrick, formerly business manager of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with defrauding the union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, over a four-year period. The charge follows, belatedly, a complaint filed by the union with the Detroit Police Department. 

U.S. Circuit Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Project Labor Agreements

Opposition to PLA adFor some two decades, Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs, have enabled unions in various states to dictate hiring for large-scale, taxpayer-funded construction projects. In Michigan, at least, this labor monopoly has been thwarted. On September 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a Michigan law, Public Act 238, enacted last year to bar the use of government-mandated PLAs. The legislation was a response to a lower court ruling in favor of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, an AFL-CIO affiliate. The latest ruling marks a second major victory this year for the open shop; New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie in April vetoed a bill that would have mandated PLAs for coastal-area reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Longshoremen Treasurer in South Carolina Indicted for Embezzlement

Longshoremen at workDerrick Alexander apparently thought his union was a personal bank account. Now he's finding out the difference the hard way. On September 11, Alexander, formerly secretary-treasurer of International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1422-A, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina with embezzling nearly $55,000 from the Charleston union and concealing the thefts after the fact. A grand jury had concluded that Alexander made a "false statement and representation of material fact knowing it to be false." The four-count indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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