American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1707 represents corrections employees in Jackson County, Missouri. Its main problem right now appears to be finding a president who won’t wind up in jail himself. On September 16, Lowell Wreh, former president of the Kansas City, Mo.-based local, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to five years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 assessment for defrauding the union out of $7,642. Wreh had pleaded guilty in January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Wreh, 46, a resident of Raytown, Mo., in suburban Kansas City, became acting president of AFSCME Local 1707 in October 2012 after his predecessor, Jesse Morgan, had departed in the wake of an internal union probe. The audit had concluded that at least $185,000 in union funds was missing. Morgan later pleaded guilty to defrauding his union out of at least $138,000. Wreh would have a similar problem, albeit less pronounced. He wound up being indicted on federal charges for writing, and diverting to his own use, $7,642 in union bank checks during January 2013-February 2014. He was suspended that April and dismissed outright four months later. This past January Wreh waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty. With its new leader, union rank and file no doubt hope to break this trend of lawlessness.