In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 5-4 Janus decision last June, which barred public-sector unions from forcibly exacting dues from nonmembers, various states have gotten creative in circumventing the ruling. Oregon is emerging as a leader. Early in the year, a state lawmaker, acting on a request by a school employees union, introduced House Bill 2643, authorizing the establishment of a special fund from which public employers would collect dues and then pass them along to unions. A dissenting worker would have no way to opt out. Aside from showing contempt for worker liberty, the measure runs contrary to the law. The bill for now is in committee, but given the Democratic Party (i.e., pro-union) majority in both legislative houses, passage is a distinct possibility.
Mark Douglas billed his union for reimbursements for nonworking hours. Unfortunately for the union, that amounted to theft. Yesterday, April 9, Douglas, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101, was charged in an information count in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with embezzling $7,078.35 in funds from the Arabi (near New Orleans)-based union related to his alleged filing of fake “lost time” claims over a more than three-year period. The union represents employees of Domino Sugar. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to court documents, Douglas, now 71, a resident of New Orleans, during November 11, 2011-January 17, 2015 filed “lost time” claims for a variety of unauthorized purposes. Normally, only business-related activities such as arbitration, visits to an attorney, or negotiations with Domino Sugar are eligible for reimbursement. These claims were unrelated to work. … Read More ➡
Ivar Carlson apparently pushed his luck too long. On March 26, Carlson, former business agent and treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local B-935, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to one count of embezzling funds from the now-defunct Worcester union in the sum of $37,014. He had been arrested and charged in December following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
IATSE Local B-935 represented about 30 workers at the DCU Center in downtown Worcester. With Ivar Carlson handling their dues money, those workers were ripped off. Court records indicate that Carlson, 58, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 used his positions to write checks from the union bank account, cash the checks, and use the funds for unauthorized purposes. Eventually, the Department of Labor traced the shortfall of funds to Carlson and referred … Read More ➡
Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., doesn’t hesitate to express her scorn for America, Jews and capitalism – not necessarily in that order. Indeed, her most enduring legislative achievement to date has been to send a February 10 tweet referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as being “all about the Benjamins” (i.e., $100 bills). Yet it appears the Somalia-born Muslim freshman congresswoman, now 37, has ethics issues that are coming back to haunt her. They might not jeopardize her political career, but they just might dim the halo over her head in the eyes of her admirers.
At the start of this month, news reports surfaced that the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board has been zeroing in on Omar for possibly diverting nearly $6,000 from her campaign war chest to personal uses while serving as a member of that state’s legislature. Among the cited unauthorized purposes were travel to Boston and … Read More ➡
Vincent D’Acunto Jr. knew a lot of Mafia guys who got things done. But even the mob couldn’t bail him out this time. On March 18, D’Acunto, former secretary-treasurer of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2D, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering conspiracy. A week earlier, on March 11, Frank Cognetta, former secretary-treasurer of the UFCW Local 1D, also Brooklyn-based, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering. Each had been arrested and indicted in January 2018, along with two Genovese crime family enforcers, Vincent Esposito and Steven Arena, who did D’Acunto’s dirty work, plus another Genovese mobster. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the NYPD and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 1D and 2D each represent wine and distillery workers. They also were corrupt. According to … Read More ➡
For a while, Norwood Jewell managed to avoid prosecution in the Fiat Chrysler-United Auto Workers pay-to-play scandal that so far has produced over a half-dozen convictions. But his run of good luck has ended. Yesterday, April 2, Jewell, a UAW vice president until last year, pleaded guilty in Detroit federal court to illegally accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from Chrysler executives via the employer-funded National Training Center. He had been charged on March 18. His offenses were part of a wide-ranging probe into a years-long pattern of bribery and embezzlement involving an estimated $4.5 million in NTC funds. Jewell is set for sentencing in August. The latest charges loom especially significant given that the UAW’s current contract with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford expires in September.
On March 15, Charlotte McDaniel, former secretary-treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3826, was indicted in Marion County, Indiana Superior Court on three counts of theft from the Indianapolis union in a sum of between $750 and $50,000. The union represents Indianapolis public school bus drivers. The indictment follows a probe by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Ms. McDaniel, it should be noted, has a “history.” Back in August 2015, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery for hitting an unruly 14-year-old female student with a broom handle while on her afternoon bus route about a year and a half earlier. One wonders if she has a future.… Read More ➡
On February 27, Darin Kingrey, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 706, pleaded guilty in Vermillion County, Indiana Circuit Court to two counts of theft totaling $7,464 from the Cayuga, Ind.-based union. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, as NLPC readers well know, has identified and helped prosecute much union corruption over the years. But the agency’s efforts would be even better realized if it finalized a pair of dormant rules promised two years ago. The first would establish a new financial reporting form, T-1, requiring unions with at least some private-sector members to disclose financial data for pension funds and other trusts. The second would impose financial reporting upon intermediate-level unions. Each had been proposed during the first term of the Bush presidency but shelved under President Obama. Contrary to frequent assertions from labor leaders, these regulations would not be burdensome. But they are likely to make unions more responsive to dues-paying members.
Could the fall of Michael Avenatti be at hand? For those who have been in the crosshairs of this manic, headline-addicted lawyer, it would be a welcome moment. Early yesterday afternoon, Avenatti, best-known for having represented Stormy Daniels in her civil lawsuits against President Donald Trump and Trump’s ex-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was charged in Manhattan and Los Angeles federal courts with crimes that could land him up to 97 years in prison. In Manhattan, where he was arrested, Avenatti allegedly had tried to extort over $20 million from Nike Inc. in return for a promise not to savage the company’s reputation. In Los Angeles, he faces separate fraud charges of diverting funds from a client settlement to his personal use and of grossly overstating his income to obtain a bank loan. He is now free on $300,000 bond with travel restrictions.