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.

Ex-President of Operating Engineers Local in Michigan Charged

IUOE logoOn June 19, Steven Minella, former president and business agent of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with failing to report to appropriate authorities the commission of extortion by another official of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. local.  The charge follows a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Letter Carriers Secretary-Treasurer in North Carolina Sentenced

Letter Carriers logoOn June 16, Russell Cameron Hill, former financial secretary-treasurer for National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 780, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to two years in prison, with home detention of up to 180 consecutive days, for embezzling funds of an unspecified amount from the New Bern, N.C.-based union.  He also was ordered to pay a $1,200 fine and a $100 assessment.  Hill had pled guilty in March.  The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Canada Passes Union Transparency Legislation

Canadian national flagLabor leaders, especially corrupt ones, resent it when outsiders inquire into how member dues are spent.  As in the U.S., this is an observable pattern in Canada.  And as in the U.S., widespread discontent has led to tangible reform.  On June 30, the Canadian Senate voted 35-22 to approve a bill, C-377, to mandate union financial accountability.  The measure, supported though not sponsored by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, had traveled a long road since initial passage by the House of Commons more than three years ago.  The new law will force unions to make available to the public detailed data.  Unions and political supporters are denouncing the legislation as an attack on workers’ rights, and vow to overturn it in court.  Yet the weight of public opinion stands in the way – and with good reason.

Boston-Area Painters Council Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

Painters logoOn June 24, Jacqueline Askew, former bookkeeper for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council 35, was charged in an information count in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with embezzling $40,930 in funds from the Boston union.  The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

North Carolina Postal Workers Local President Sentenced

APWU logoOn May 26, Salvatore Mauro, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1236, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to three years of probation, and ordered to pay $8,831 in restitution plus a $25 assessment, for creating a false financial report on behalf of the Salisbury-based local.  He had pleaded guilty in January shortly after being charged that month.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

AFGE President in Tennessee Sentenced for Theft

AFGE logoOn May 18, Shiryll Durham, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1687, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to time served for taking and carrying, with the intent to steal, personal property from the Mountain Home (Johnson City) union.  He also was ordered to pay $2,640 in restitution and a $25 fine.  Durham had pleaded guilty in January after being charged in October 2014.  The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York MTA Police Union President Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

MTA policeOn June 19, John Earvin, former president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers (UFLEO), pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to wire fraud in connection with his theft of nearly $50,000 from the Bellerose, Long Island, N.Y.-based union.  He had been arrested and indicted in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  Prosecutors had charged that Earvin had used his union ATM card to make hundreds of unauthorized cash withdrawals.  UFLEO represents Special Inspectors for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Carpenters Secretary in Washington State Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Carpenters logoOn June 11, John Jones, former financial secretary for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington to embezzling more than $12,000 from the Spokane-based union.  The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

New York School Bus Drivers Boss Sentenced for Violating Ban

School busPerhaps this latest sentence should convince Warren Annunziata of his lack of a future in organized labor.  On June 19, Annunziata, founder and former longtime president of United Craft and Industrial Workers Union Local 91, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $126,858 in forfeiture and a $100,000 fine, for running a union-sponsored benefit fund despite having been banned from union activity due to an earlier conviction.  He had pleaded guilty to extortion last November following a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Office of Inspector General.

Amtrak Union Treasurer in New York Pleads Guilty to Thefts

Fraternal Order of Police logoEric Givens' job was to keep order on the nation’s passenger railroad.  Unfortunately, he thought it also included stealing union money.  On June 24, Givens, former secretary-treasurer of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 and the Amtrak Police Labor Committee, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of embezzling at least $100,000 from the New York-based labor organizations.  Givens, an Amtrak police officer, had been arrested and charged last June with one count each of wire fraud, embezzlement and making a false statement, and indicted three weeks later.  The actions follow an investigation by the U.S.

SAG Denies Hollywood Ex-Stuntwoman Her Due Benefits

SAG logoLeslie Hoffman has jumped off boats, fallen down stairs, and involved herself in more car crashes than she would like to remember.  But when it comes to receiving compensation from her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Pension and Health Plan, the former movie and TV stuntwoman can’t buy a break.  A federal appeals court over a year ago ordered plan administrators to reconsider their denial of her injury claims, but she has yet to receive a dime.  Articles in the June 18 and June 24 issues of Deadline Hollywood have highlighted her travails, noting her case may be a turning point in the way SAG and its affiliate union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), treat stunt performers.  “It’s a disgrace,” says Hoffman’s lawyer, Charles Fleishman.  “She worked her whole life, and then nobody wants to be bothered with her.”

Teachers Union Treasurer in New Jersey Pleads Guilty to Theft

National Education Association logoTeachers unions during the past decade have known their share of scandal.  Add the case of Wayne Wedderman Jr. to the list.  This Monday, June 29, Wedderman, treasurer of the Barnegat Education Association, pleaded guilty in Ocean County, New Jersey Superior Court to theft from the union.  He had been arrested last November for stealing roughly a combined $23,000 from two union accounts in the wake of a county probe begun the previous month.  A grand jury in February subsequently indicted Wedderman on two counts of theft and one count of computer theft.  Sentencing is scheduled for September.

BLET Secretary-Treasurer in West Virginia Pleads Guilty to Theft

BLET logoOn June 12, Nathan McCallister, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 101, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Summers County, West Virginia to one count of embezzlement in an amount of more than $1,000 from the Hinton, W.Va. union.  McCallister had been charged in March following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Letter Carriers Local Treasurer in Michigan Indicted

Letter Carriers logoOn June 16, Timothy Casperson, former treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 249, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan for embezzling $9,650 from the Menominee, Mich.-based union and falsifying financial records to conceal the thefts.  The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Indiana Postal Workers President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

APWU logoOn June 11, Pamela Nessen, former president of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 286, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to one count of embezzling funds from the Fort Wayne union in the amount of $58,598.  Nessen, who headed the APWU local during November 2009-November 2013, had turned herself into police in January after being indicted by a grand jury last November.  She originally had pleaded not guilty.  The indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Security Officers Treasurer in Maryland Pleads Guilty to Theft

UGSOA logoOn June 8, Rodney Horne, former secretary-treasurer of United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 34, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland to one count of theft from the Washington, D.C.-based union.  He then received a sentence of five years of imprisonment, all of which was suspended, and 36 months of unsupervised probation, and ordered to pay $6,045 in restitution.  The plea and sentence follow a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Indiana Auto Workers Financial Secretary Sentenced for Forgery

United Auto Workers logoOn June 11, Marcia Shull, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 661, was sentenced in the Circuit Court of Hancock County, Indiana to 180 days of house arrest and 550 days of probation for felony forgery from the Greenfield, Ind.-based union.  She also will have to pay $168 in fines and costs on top of the $18,250 she already has paid.  Shull had pleaded guilty in May after being charged last September following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

CWA Secretary-Treasurer in Idaho Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Communications Workers logoFor about six years, Helen Herold-Roden had mastered the art of stealing from her union.  But it’s hard to beat the law of averages.  Last Thursday, June 18, Herold-Roden, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 7603, pleaded guilty (pre-indictment) in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho to one count of embezzling $138,658 in funds from the Meridian, Idaho-based union, which represents employees of area telecom companies such as AT&T and Century Link.  The guilty plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 8.

N.J. Supreme Court Says 'No' to Unions; Allows Gov. Christie to Delay Pension Payments

Whether one sees New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as confronting or punting, it’s hard to deny he knows a crisis when he sees one.  The State Supreme Court sees one as well.  On June 9, the Court ruled 5-2 that Christie was within bounds in delaying two years of contributions, nearly $2.5 billion, to the state’s chronically underfunded public-employee pension system.  The ruling, a clear blow to the unions who brought forth the suit, for now averts a fiscal calamity.  Critics claim that Christie, expected shortly to enter the Republican presidential race, broke a law he signed in 2011, passing the buck to his successors.  Supporters counter that the ruling gives the legislature breathing room to fix a condition resulting from years of excessive union contract demands.  The latter is a familiar story in other states, too.

Screen Actors Guild Office Manager Charged with Embezzlement

SAG logoIn film, TV and radio, a "residual" is a payment to the creator of a piece of work beyond the original screening or airing.  Typically, the union distributes the money, once received from the studio.  The production company gets 80 percent of the fees; the performers and supporting crew collect the other 20 percent.  All this assumes the union administrator will forward the money.  Michelle Dancy apparently doesn't like that part.  On May 21, Dancy, former office manager with the Residuals Estates and Trust Department of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), was charged in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with four counts of embezzlement from the Los Angeles-based union totaling at least $54,109 and five counts of false identification in connection with the alleged thefts.  The charges follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General leading to a grand jury indictment in January.

Syndicate content