Union Corruption Update

Boilermakers Bookkeeper in Indiana Sentenced for Theft

Boilermaker at workOn May 14, Karen Stone, former bookkeeper for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local Lodge 374, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to one year of probation for embezzling $9,170 in funds from the Hammond-based local. She also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment. Stone had pleaded guilty on February 7 upon being charged. The actions follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

OPEIU Business Manager, Bookkeeper in Minnesota Sentenced

Office and Professional Employees logoOn May 13, Elizabeth Branca, former business manager for Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to two years of probation, and ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 fine, for embezzling $16,546 in funds from the Roseville, Minn.-based union. She had been charged and pleaded guilty last December. Two days later, on May 15, Laurie Hoffman, a former bookkeeper for the local, was sentenced to two years of probation, and ordered to pay $8,909 in restitution and a $100 fine, for embezzling funds. She also had been charged and pleaded guilty in December. The actions in each case follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Office Assistant for Denver Bakery Workers Local Charged

Bakery & Tobacco Workers logoOn May 13, Mary Grace Gossett, former office assistant for Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Local 24, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado with three counts of embezzlement from the Denver union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Baltimore Electrical and Radio Workers Secretary Sentenced

UE logoOn May 7, James Babcock, former financial secretary of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 121, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to two years of probation and ordered to pay $24,854 in restitution to the Baltimore-based union. He had pleaded guilty in January after being charged last September. Babcock had written more than 100 checks over a five-year period for unauthorized purposes. The actions follow an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Queens, N.Y. Steelworkers Ex-Boss Charged with Embezzlement

Steelworkers logoJuan "Alex" Cedeno no doubt had his share of problems. But his partying only added to them. On May 5, Cedeno, formerly president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318 in Queens, N.Y., was arrested after being charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York with embezzling nearly $60,000 from the union benefit fund and co-signing more than $35,000 worth of union checks to cover his tracks. He allegedly used the health and welfare fund credit card to charge purchases for meals, entertainment, travel and retail spending in New York City, Las Vegas and elsewhere. The charge and arrest follow a joint investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Dennis Williams Elected UAW President; Vows to Play Hardball with Automakers

Dennis Williams photoThe United Auto Workers may have declined in numbers, but its taste for confrontation appears as strong as ever. And its new leader, Dennis Williams, isn't about to let anyone forget. Last Wednesday, June 4, Williams, the UAW secretary-treasurer these last four years, overwhelmingly was elected president at the union convention in Detroit. Inaugurated the following day, Williams, now 61, replaces one-term President Bob King, who at age 67 retired in the face of the union's mandatory age limit. Williams' main priority is ending the two-tier wage system to which the union agreed in 2007 as part of a deal to keep General Motors, Ford and Chrysler afloat. He'll get to test his mettle in contract negotiations next year. The union shouldn't lack for funds in this or any other endeavor; delegates approved a 25 percent dues hike.

Financial Secretary of Florida Steelworkers Local Sentenced

Steelworkers logoOn April 29, Edward Martin Mosher, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 458, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to time served in prison (11.5 months), to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling funds from the Plant City (Hillsborough County), Fla.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $43,941 in restitution. Mosher had pleaded guilty in January to stealing $65,895 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Machinists District Business Agent in Minnesota Sentenced

Machinists logoOn May 2, James Kiser, former directing business representative for International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 165, was sentenced in Stearns County (Minn.) Court to five years of probation and 30 days in jail, with credit for one day served, for theft in the amount of roughly $5,920 from the St. Cloud union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $50 fine. He had pleaded guilty in March after being charged in December 2012. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Locomotive Engineers Secretary in Tennessee Pleads Guilty to $200K+ Theft

BLET logoIt was a formality for Reda Overton, but it was a source of relief for the rail workers that her union represented. On May 20, Overton, formerly executive secretary for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), General Committee of Adjustment 4-175, a Teamsters affiliate, pleaded guilty in Knoxville federal court to embezzling more than $200,000 from a Tennessee office of the Cynthiana, Ky.-based union over a more than three-year period. Overton in mid-February had agreed to plead guilty after being charged on January 22 following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. She faces up to five years in prison and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

Local UAW Financial Secretary in Detroit Charged with Theft

United Auto Workers logoOn April 28, Udean Forbes-Payton, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 2500, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with embezzling $5,562 in funds from the Detroit-based union during December 2006-May 2011 and then concealing the thefts in union records. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

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