The union calls them “service fees.” In practice, they amount to dues. And public school teachers are among those who believe that it is a distinction without a difference. On November 13, Thomas Few, a special education teacher in Los Angeles, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District challenging their tandem practice of deducting a large fee from salaries of teachers who remain employed but leave the union. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, Few had informed the union of his intent to resign, but was told that he would have to pay an annual “service fee” equivalent to monthly dues. The union, an affiliate of the state chapters of both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, … Read More ➡
There are few sights these days as pitiable as a corporation acceding to the demands of radical activists on the basis of an ostensibly insensitive comment made by one of its officials or employees. As the script normally dictates, the offending individual steps down, while the company profusely apologizes for its insensitivity and vows to redouble its commitment to “diversity.” That’s what makes Fox News Channel’s refusal to fire political talk show host Tucker Carlson in the face of an activist-triggered advertiser boycott so refreshing. By resisting the speech police, the network just might have set an example for other corporations.
Tucker Carlson, now 49, host of Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, isn’t one to back down from a controversial issue. Indeed, not backing down is pretty much his main job requirement. His blunt style won him the 8 P.M.-9 P.M., Monday through Friday time slot on Fox … Read More ➡
Looking back, Nancy Adams Johnson probably doesn’t think the money was worth it. On December 18, Johnson, former chief negotiator for the United Auto Workers with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in Detroit federal court to a year and a day in prison, and ordered to pay restitution and a $10,000 fine, for conspiring with certain UAW and Chrysler officials to receive more than $40,000 in cash payments and gifts in return for dropping certain issues during contract talks a few years ago. Johnson, who had been slapped with a five-count indictment this March, pleaded guilty in July. She is the seventh person to be sentenced in the scandal, which first came to light in July 2017. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Nancy Johnson, now 57, … Read More ➡
On December 10, Johnnie Nicholas, former financial secretary of United Mine Workers Local 4994, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to seven days of incarceration and three years of supervised release for embezzling $37,900 from the New Philadelphia, Ohio-based union. He also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, and pay a $10,000 fine and a $100 special assessment. At sentencing, he paid residual restitution in the sum of $17,650. Nicholas had pleaded guilty in May following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
Juan Diaz de la Torre, until recently the head of the Mexican teachers union Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion (SNTE), may have done the impossible by creating nostalgia for his predecessor, Elba Esther Gordillo Morales. Late in October, a group of member teachers filed a criminal complaint against de la Torre, accusing him of embezzling millions of pesos. “There are thousands of teachers in the country who are in the dark because they don’t know what their money is being used for,” said spokesman Venancio Morales Zuniga. The SNTE countered with its own suit, claiming the charge is “totally false and devoid of reality.” But with pressure on him growing, de la Torre stepped down a month later. The main beneficiary of all this – perish the thought – may be Ms. Gordillo, released from house arrest in August. Her supporters, regrettably, include teachers.
Established in 1943, … Read More ➡
Considering what he stole, Gregory Normand should be feeling a bit lucky. On December 4, Normand, former secretary-treasurer of Local 324 of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Transportation Division, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to 18 months in prison for embezzling funds from the Marysville, Wash.-based union. He also was ordered to pay $217,260 in restitution. Normand had been indicted in October 2017 for embezzling $443,000, and had pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and two counts of making false statements this past July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to prosecutors, Gregory Normand, now 58, a resident of Marysville (Snohomish County, near Seattle), used his union position, which he had held for six years, to steal funds in a variety of ways. First, he reimbursed … Read More ➡
For almost a decade, Ivar Carlson used his union bank account as it were a personal one, and without anyone noticing. People now have noticed. On December 6, Carlson, former business agent and treasurer for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local B-935, was arrested and then charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with one count of embezzling $37,014 in funds from the union, which represents workers at the DCU Center in Worcester. The charge follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.
According to federal prosecutors, Carlson, now 58, a resident of Auburn, Mass., during March 2007-September 2016 used his positions at IATSE Local B-935 to write checks from the union bank account, cash the checks, and use the funds for unauthorized purchases. After appearing in court, he was released on conditions. Carlson faces up to five years in prison, up to … Read More ➡
Should a corporation be forced to negotiate alongside contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set their workplace standards? Once again, the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to clarify this contentious issue. On September 14, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would assign a company ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ employer status along with its affiliate “only if the two employers share or codetermine the employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction.” In effect, the board wants to restore a longstanding, and more realistic, definition that predated its Obama-era ruling in Browning-Ferris. Unions, by contrast, want to retain the widened the definition to expand the possibilities for corporate liability for unfair labor practices.
Michael Avenatti, plaintiff’s attorney, media presence and sworn enemy of all things Donald Trump, for the past year has been inflicting himself on the public via CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets. It’s part of his campaign to remove Trump from office on behalf of his star client, porn star Stormy Daniels. Yet Avenatti’s main issue for now appears to be whether he can avoid oblivion despite his receipt of online crowdfunding donations. His longtime former law firm, Eagan Avenatti LLP, received a final eviction notice last month from an Orange County, Calif. court despite bagging numerous outsized awards and verdicts. And he’s facing a costly divorce settlement and a domestic battery charge. His many enemies might be thinking that all this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Michael Avenatti, now 47, a native of the St. Louis area, didn’t invent self-promotion within the legal profession. But … Read More ➡
On November 28, Dennis and Dorian Nicely, respectively, former vice president and former business agent for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 264, were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to 10 months in prison, to be followed by 180 days of home detention and three years of probation, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzlement from the Hampton, Va.-based union. The husband-and-wife couple also were ordered to pay the remaining $53,704 in restitution from the $57,310 stolen. Each had pleaded guilty in July after being charged in June. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.… Read More ➡