On September 12, Robert Mays, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 561, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $24,833. He had been charged in July. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 15, Arthur Homa, former president of Steelworkers Local 2-47, was charged in Brown County, Wisconsin Circuit Court with one count of felony theft in an amount between $2,500 and $5,000 from the Green Bay union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 27, Robert Lewis, former secretary-treasurer for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3585, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to four months in prison and one year of supervised release, with the first eight months in home confinement, for embezzling $77,469 in funds from the Canton (near Peoria), Ill.-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment. Lewis had pleaded guilty in April. AFSCME Local 3585 represents employees at the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton. The actions follow the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
On August 19, Richard Molczyk, former treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 493, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska for embezzlement of $13,196 in funds from the Omaha union. The indictment, which was unsealed on September 4, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Under federal law, workers have as much right to leave a union as they do to form one. Yet that principal may not necessarily apply in California. For at least the past year a de facto alliance between the United Farm Workers (UFW) and a state agency, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, has been making it very difficult for employees of a major grower, the Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, to decertify the UFW as their bargaining agent. And the workers are signaling their frustration. On August 26, hundreds of Gerawan workers marched on the board's Visalia regional office to demand a count of a decertification vote held last November. The board's justification for its inaction is that Gerawan broke the law in various ways. Yet there has been no investigation of the UFW-driven allegations.
Educators normally aren't the kinds of people who steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. Frank Gluberman is the exception to the rule. On August 13, Gluberman, formerly teacher and then assistant principal at Woodlands High School in Greenburgh, N.Y., pleaded guilty in Westchester County Criminal Court to embezzling nearly $800,000 over a seven-year period from his union, the Greenburgh Teachers' Federation (GTF), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. Gluberman had been arrested this past January in the wake of an internal union audit and subsequent U.S. Department of Labor investigation. He faces up to 15 years in prison at sentencing in December, though the plea agreement calls for a one-to-three year sentence upon full payment of restitution.
On August 8, Jonathan Smith, former financial secretary of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2247, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to embezzling $41,770 from the Juneau union over a five-year period. He had been indicted in April following an investigation by the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 7, Brandon Kent, former treasurer for United Steelworkers Local 12-1097, pleaded guilty in the State of Oregon, Circuit Court of Clatsop County (in the northwest corner of the state), to two counts of theft from the Westport, Ore.-based union. He then was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years of supervised probation, and was ordered to pay $19,911 in restitution and a $200 fine. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
On August 28, Milton Hilliard, former secretary-treasurer of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 287, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $34,612 from the Washington, D.C.-based union. He had made unauthorized cash withdrawals and personal purchases from a union account. Hilliard had been charged in July with embezzling $25,575. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Michael Sewell avoided making benefit contributions by avoiding the necessary paperwork. His good luck streak was bound to end. On August 27, Sewell, owner-operator of MESCO Inc., a suburban Baltimore HVAC and plumbing supplier-service contractor, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to one count of falsifying a document related to a benefit plan sponsored by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 24. Sewell had been charged in July following a joint investigation by the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Office of Inspector General.