Funding the WorldCom-MCI Foes?

On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.

Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol … Read More ➡

Boss Gets 1 Year for Embezzlement

On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kellas’ scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]

Union Corruption Studies Available
The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: “Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys” & “The Case Against Public Sector … Read More ➡

Disgraced NHL Boss’ Restitution to go to Defrauded Players

Announced Jul. 16, the $1 million (Canadian) in restitution paid by the founder of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, R. Alan Eagleson, will be divided among 1,400 players harmed by his embezzlement schemes. On Jan. 6, the NHL union boss pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to 3 counts of fraud and theft thereby avoiding prosecution on 32 counts which included stealing from players’ pension funds and insurance premiums, as well as cheating players out of disability money. The next day, he pled guilty in a Canadian court to 3 counts of fraud for skimming advertising money for tournaments and other hockey entities. On top of the restitution, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Canada, but was released Jul. 6 after serving only 6 months. [Boston Globe 01/06/98 & Toronto Star 07/17/98]… Read More ➡

Probe of CA Teachers Association Concludes

San Bernardino Co., CA District Attorney’s Office’s investigation into embezzlement schemes involving local teachers unions concluded on Jul. 8, when San Bernardino Co. Superior Court sentenced Nancy Hooper to 180 days of electronic surveillance. Hooper had pled guilty to 8 counts of grand theft embezzlement and 1 count of receiving stolen property. Hooper stole more than $36,000 from the Fontana Teachers Association’s checking account for her personal use. The former Fontana City Councilwoman was also ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution, which is on top of $22,000 already paid. She will also pay the $400 monthly surveillance cost.

This comes less than a month after a Rialto, CA teachers union official was sentenced to 28 months in prison for embezzling about $110,000 from the Rialto Educators Association and Citrus Belt UniServ which oversees several area teachers unions including Fontana Teachers Association. Mary Jane Bronson pleaded guilty to 2 counts of … Read More ➡

Dissention in the Teamsters Ranks in A-B Strike Vote

Some Teamsters are angry at the way their union is handling negotiations with Anheuser-Busch (A-B) and have successfully delayed the counting of votes on the latest strike proposal. The ballots mailed to 8,000 Teamsters were supposed to be counted on Jul. 15, but the challenges delayed the mailing of ballots and pushed back the count to Jul. 30. Bosses at 8 of the 16 locals that represent the A-B workers asked the Teamsters to call off the vote. The opponents said they were confused about what they were voting on because of additional proposals. But the Teamsters systematically rejected all the opponents’ challenges. Officers of the Baldwinsville, NY and Williamsburg, VA locals hoped the Teamsters would reconsider its decision; otherwise, court action is possible according to Steve Richmond, a member of the Baldwinsville union’s negotiating team. He said that federal law guarantees workers the right to an “informed vote” in … Read More ➡

Improper Election of Rhode Island Boss

RI’s American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 94 has been ordered to rerun election of top officers because it allegedly failed to ensure a secret-ballot vote. The investigation was sparked by self-styled dissident Linda C. Riendeau who lost to incumbent union boss J. Thomas Chellel at the Apr. convention. Chellel has run Council 94 since 1979. AFSCME’s judicial panel in Washington questioned whether 71 delegates to the convention, who voted on behalf of 8,000 union members, were able to vote by secret ballot. The panel was also troubled by a plan to change the formula for determining the size of Council 94’s executive board which the panel said was improperly adopted and didn’t allow Riendeau a chance to organize her own board slate. Announced Jul. 10, the rerun will be Aug. 12. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 07/09/98 & 07/11/98]

Lazy Unions In Springfield, IL
Poor work habits by … Read More ➡

AFL-CIO’s Candidate Evades Sanctions

Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Poshard (D-IL) will not face sanctions for improperly handling contributions from the AFL-CIO. Poshard’s campaign “acknowledged it failed to properly report nearly $109,000 in advertising on its behalf by the AFL-CIO,” according to State Board of Elections (SBE) documents released Jul. 16. Under an agreement with the IL Republican Party, which filed the complaint, and accepted, by the SBE, Poshard’s campaign will not be punished as long as it doesn’t repeat the violation. [Chicago Daily Herald 07/17/98]

AFL-CIO Attack Ads Roll Again
In a preview of their preferred plan of attack against Republicans, the militant and corrupt Sweeney-Trumka AFL-CIO has started another irresponsible nationwide television campaign. The union ads attack Republicans on the HMO reform/patients rights issue, wrongfully distorting Republican proposals. According to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the union ads are running in at least 9 media markets including Birmingham, Louisville and Boise – very … Read More ➡

MD Senators Bought With $150,000 from UFCW & Others

On Jul. 22, NLPC blasted MD Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Paul S. Sarbanes (D) for becoming mouth-pieces of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the fight against the Giant Foods and Royal Ahold merger. Mikulski & Sarbanes have taken $153,700 in political action committee (PAC) contributions since the 1980 elections from union organizations which have a vested interest in Giant Foods. “It should be no surprise why Mikulski & Sarbanes entered the fray on the side of the unions,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. “They’ve been bought and paid for with union PAC money. When union bosses crack the whip, the politicians shamelessly obey — especially when tens of thousands of dollars are involved.”
 
UFCW Local 27 President Buddy Mays issued a media released on Jul. 14, in which he accused Royal Ahold of secretly targeting only unionized Giant stores for divestiture as a way … Read More ➡

Hoekstra Victorious in Obtaining UNITE Records

On Jul. 15, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) finally got the documents from the Mademoiselle Knitwear Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Hoekstra’s committee is investigating how well workers are protected under current labor law. The documents contain information about liquidated damage payments made by Liz Claiborne, former Mademoiselle customer, to the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textiles Employees. UNITE initially contested Hoekstra subpoenas for the records which have a confidentiality seal imposed by bankruptcy judge. UNITE agreed to allow Mademoiselle to turn over the documents after 2 weeks of negotiations with Hoekstra’s staff and after court approval on Jul. 13. Liquidated damages are a long-standing feature of apparel union contracts. They are penalties paid by apparel manufacturers when they violate union contracts by using nonunion producers. Mademoiselle has claimed in a lawsuit against Claiborne and UNITE that the charges represented a “bribe” so that Claiborne could get out of obligations to provide … Read More ➡

New York Unions Riot

An estimated 40,000 protesters from the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, including Teamsters, Laborers, Electrical Workers and others, strangled the morning rush-hour on Jun. 30 with a militant rally and march through midtown Manhattan.

Union violence was widespread. Officially, 21 people were injured. The violence included: an attempt to turn over a parked van; punching a police horse; bottle-throwing; climbing on cars, vans and street lights; frequent bouts
of shoving and scuffling. Police, in riot gear, were forced to used nightsticks to control the unions and pepper spray before handcuffing some of the 33 union extremists that were arrested. Traffic came to a standstill and many businesses opened late due to the union fracas. It’s alleged that a larger melee is planned.

Why the uproar? The unions were upset over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarding a project to a non-union contractor who happened to be the … Read More ➡