On February 26, Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hardin County Circuit Court, with one count of felony theft from the Fort Knox-based union in an amount of over $10,000. The charge follows a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Service.
Managing the finances of a teachers union can be lucrative, especially if it means extra, and illegal, income. Rae Dawn Grillo has discovered that thefts usually are found out. On February 18, Grillo, former treasurer of the Charleroi Area Educational Association, was arrested and charged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Washington County (Pittsburgh area) Court, with three felony counts related to her embezzlement of more than $65,000 in funds from the Charleroi-based union over a five-year period. And yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek an indictment following her agreement to plead guilty to local charges.
Given the roiling conflict in Wisconsin these past four years over the limits of public-sector unionism, it only was a matter of time before the scene would shift to the private sector. This Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed Right to Work legislation. The law, which took effect immediately, bars unions from forcing private-sector employers to fire workers who don’t pay dues. Two dozen other states have similar laws. Yet what really is getting under the skin of organized labor is the triumph of their nemesis, Gov. Walker. More than ever, he looks like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Union leaders are preparing accordingly. And they’re getting help from President Obama.
David Hart was an accomplice, not a mastermind. But that didn't make his acts any less illegal. On February 24, Hart, formerly financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to concealing acts of extortion by his boss. He had been charged eleven days earlier in an information count following a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration. The union represents more than 18,000 operators of cranes and other heavy construction equipment across Michigan.
On February 18, Dennis Fuston, former business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 545, was charged in the Buchanan County, Missouri Judicial Court with theft of funds from the St. Joseph-based union in an amount of more than $500 but less than $25,000. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Expanding union monopoly privileges and the welfare state is a full-time job, especially when it comes to electing political candidates committed to advancing these causes. The AFL-CIO, never late to rise, is getting an early jump for 2016. For the last few months, federation President Richard Trumka has touted freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a Left-populist, as presidential material. The federation has yet to issue a formal endorsement. And the senator has denied plans to run. Yet she could be persuaded to change her plans. The push for Warren is part of a larger effort to identify “pro-worker” candidates who support dramatic hikes in the minimum wage. “That’s the stick we’ll use to measure every candidate,” Trumka said at an AFL-CIO executive board meeting in Atlanta in late February.
She seemed like a model employee, but in the end Alis Archibeque was merely an actress who couldn't sustain her act. On January 29, Archibeque, former office manager for the City of Riverside (Calif.) Police Officers Association (RPOA), was charged in Riverside Superior Court with making about $346,000 in unauthorized purchases and money transfers. She was arrested and booked on February 7. The alleged losses, which occurred over a half-decade and did not involve police department funds, were discovered following a lengthy police investigation.
On January 21, Cynthia Collins, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union Local 12, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to one count of embezzlement from the Athens, Ga. union. She had been indicted last July for embezzling $23,345 and then concealing the thefts in union financial reports. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 13, Salvatore Mauro, former president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1236, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina with one count of creating a false financial report. He pleaded guilty the following day. The indictment and plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On January 13, Brian Stoneburner, former treasurer for International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 44, was sentenced in the Perry County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas to 90 days of incarceration, five years of probation and 100 hours of community service for stealing $13,235 from the Newark, Ohio-based union. He also was ordered to make full restitution. Stoneburner had pleaded guilty in November after being indicted in July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.