On March 3, Nathan McCallister, former secretary-treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 101, a Teamsters affiliate, was charged in the Summers County Court of West Virginia with one count of embezzlement in an amount of more than $1,000. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Sheron Gibson won the trust of his union – too much, in fact. On March 5, Gibson, a former firefighter for the City of Suffolk, Va. fire department, pleaded guilty in a state court to one count each of embezzlement and forgery in connection with his theft of about $109,000 from International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2801, where he was secretary-treasurer for a half-decade. He had been indicted last June on 12 counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery following a police investigation. Gibson has made full restitution.
On March 25, Choi Hawks, former secretary-treasurer of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to six months of home detention and five years of supervised probation for embezzling $10,744 in funds from the Chesapeake, Va.-based union. He also was ordered to attend counseling sessions. Hawks, who pleaded guilty last December after being charged in November, has paid full restitution in the sum of $11,196. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 18, Elmer Ray Booker, former financial secretary for International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1530, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with embezzling over $42,000 in funds from the Houston union. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Unions, even those representing government employees, are private organizations. Yet a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reveals that taxpayers in one state effectively are being forced to cover some of the costs of public-sector union official business. The study, authored by CEI labor policy analyst Trey Kovacs and titled, “A Remedy for Taxpayer Giveaway to Unions” (March 25, 2015), in the face of considerable resistance, dug up clear evidence that state and local government agencies in Missouri are subsidizing public-sector unions during working hours without loss of member pay. These “release time” clauses, built into collective bargaining agreements, are at odds with the public interest, deceptively costly, and almost certainly illegal.
On March 25, Andrea Hobgood, former secretary for Ironworkers Local 58, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to five years of probation, and was ordered to pay $3,600 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, for embezzling funds from the New Orleans-based union. She previously had paid $14,039 in restitution. Hobgood had pleaded guilty last March after being charged in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On March 19, Thomas Wolfer, former financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84729, pleaded guilty in the State of Ohio, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, to one count of theft in an unspecified amount from the Fayetteville, Ohio union. The plea follows a joint investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
On March 11, Jennifer Gent, former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to three years of probation, the first ten months of which must be served in home detention, for embezzling $30,297 in funds from the Pittsburgh union’s Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund. She also was ordered to pay full restitution. Gent pleaded guilty last November after being indicted in April. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Timothy Sanchez couldn’t maintain the ruse forever. And he’s beginning a sentence because of that. On March 5, Sanchez, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 906, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for embezzling more than $51,000 from the union, which represents about 200 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Resource Center in Topeka, Kan. and Waco, Texas. He also will have to make restitution in the amount of $50,156, a sum slightly less than what he took.
On March 4, Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to embezzling $31,528 in funds from the Rochester (Beaver County), Pa.-based union. He had been indicted last July. That same month, about two weeks earlier, another former Local 475 president, John Vetterly Jr., had been sentenced to nine months of house arrest and five years of probation for embezzling $26,605 from the union. In each case, the actions followed an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.