The year 2018 saw the indictment, conviction and sentences of plenty of organized labor scams. New York City played host to some of the largest. For sheer magnitude, nothing anywhere could match the network of union fraud surrounding the construction of Hudson Yards, a large-scale, mixed-use development on Manhattan’s West Side. Set for completion in 2024, the project from the start has been a source of easy money for labor organizations affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. The general contractor, Related Companies, having reached the limits of frustration, filed suit last March with the State Supreme Court against the council and its president for promoting or allowing illegal practices that allegedly have added over $100 million to the total project cost.
On the Indiana side of the Chicago area, showing up for work could get pretty dangerous for nonunion contractors and workers. At least two sources of that danger, for now, are out of commission. On August 16, Thomas Williamson and Jeffrey Veach, respectively, a member and the business agent/president of the Portage, Ind.-based Ironworkers Local 395, were charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana after being arrested for extortion under the Hobbs Act related to an attack in January 2016 at a construction site in Dyer, Ind. The defendants, already facing a civil suit, pleaded not guilty and were released on bond. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the Dyer Police Department.
Violence by union workers against nonunion workers is hardly a “thing of the past.” It still happens, and with union officials spinning inventive … Read More ➡
For several years Roland Bedwell was about last person in the world that New York City-area public works contractors wanted to see, especially if they wanted to do their own hiring. He’s now officially out of commission. On May 18, Bedwell, business manager for the Roslyn Heights (Long Island), N.Y.-based United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for extortion of a business owner, one of many several such crimes he masterminded while as a union leader. Bedwell had pleaded guilty last August. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the NYPD.
On one level, 2017 was a very good year. President Trump, a man who works with unions rather than for them, took office in January. He named Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel (each approved by the Senate) to fill National Labor Relations Board vacancies, and Peter Robb, another ally of individual worker liberty, as NLRB general counsel. This contrasted with former President Obama’s picks, which created a natural 3-2 pro-union board majority. The reconstituted board already has made a difference. Last month, in PCC Structurals Inc., the board raised the bar for “micro-union” organizing, overturning the misguided Specialty Healthcare decision of 2011. At the state level, Kentucky and Missouri early in the year passed Right to Work legislation (each signed by the respective governors) to protect private-sector nonunion workers from having to pay union dues to keep their jobs.
Crucial as such countervailing forces to union power were, unions … Read More ➡
Who’s the meanest person in New York City-area organized labor? The competition is tough, but the winner might be Roland Bedwell. On August 8, Bedwell, business manager for United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to attempting to shake down a nonunion paving contractor several years ago. The offense was part of a mobster-enforced union pattern of blocking work sites, assaulting workers and coaxing builders into awarding contracts to the Roslyn Heights (Long Island), N.Y. local. The plea follows a probe by the FBI, the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and the NYPD. FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney Jr. remarked: “The subject in this case bragged he should be in prison for his crimes. Now that’s exactly where he’s headed.”
United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, an affiliate of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT), has a “bad boy” … Read More ➡