Iron Workers Business Agent in Indiana Sentenced for Extortion

To Thomas Williamson Sr., assault was just a way to do business – nothing personal. Given his new residence, he may need that skill. Last Monday, May 3, Williamson, former business agent for Portage, Ind. -based Iron Workers Local 395, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to 54 months in prison for organizing and leading a violent assault against nonunion workers at a construction site in nearby Dyer back in 2016. He and ex-Local 395 President Jeffrey Veach each had pleaded guilty in January 2020 to one count of extortion conspiracy in the attack, which left several people injured. Williamson also will have to pay $30,869 in restitution to the victims. The pair had been charged in 2018 following an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, and the Dyer Police Department.   

Union Corruption Update has covered this Read More ➡

Southern California UFCW Secretary-Treasurer Pleads Guilty

On April 22, Kurt Kittleson, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 151D, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to one count of making a false statement in a financial report on behalf of the Rancho Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County) union. He had been charged in March. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-Head of IBEW Credit Union in Western Pennsylvania Pleads Guilty to $2M+ Theft

How Stacey Shaw managed to avoid detection isn’t certain. But it is fair to say that the union whose interests she allegedly represented isn’t happy. On April 16, Shaw, former president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 712 Federal Credit Union, pleaded guilty in Pittsburgh federal court to one charge each of embezzlement and tax evasion in connection with her theft of more than $2 million from the western Pennsylvania institution over a nearly three-year period. She had made numerous unauthorized charges and cash advances for her personal use. As a result of her actions, the credit union went out of business. If indirectly, union members will be paying the tab. Shaw had been charged in a three-count information on March 15 following a joint investigation by the FBI and the IRS. Sentencing is scheduled for August 10.

Credit unions, like banks, offer a wide range of financial services … Read More ➡

Western New York Treasurer Charged with Embezzlement; Pleads Guilty

Scott Merritt had plenty of time to steal from his union. Now he may be facing time of a different sort. On April 22, Merritt, former financial secretary of Ironworkers Local 470, was charged in a one-count information in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York with embezzling funds from the Jamestown-based union in the sum of $50,850.71. He then pleaded guilty. The charge and plea follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Merritt, now 40, a resident of nearby Celoron, N.Y., served as Local 470 treasurer during May 2011-August 2018. According to prosecutors, he used most if not all of that period to enrich himself at dues-paying member expense, writing union checks to cover personal expenses. Sentencing is set for August 18. Merritt faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but his guilty plea virtually ensures a … Read More ➡

AFSCME Local Treasurer’s Daughter in New Jersey Sentenced

On April 20, Jennifer Rogers, former member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2254, was sentenced to six months of electronically monitored home confinement and two years of probation for aiding and abetting her mother’s embezzlement of $40,455 in funds from the Jersey City union. She also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a $100 special assessment. The mother, Linda Rogers, who was union treasurer, pleaded guilty in January. The pair had been charged last August. AFSCME Local 2254 represents employees at Jersey City Medical Center, including clerical workers, therapists and housekeepers. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  … Read More ➡

Treasurer of AFGE Local in Louisiana Charged with Forgery

On April 16, Michael Wood, former treasurer of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3957, was charged in an information with one count of forgery against the Grant, La. union. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.   … Read More ➡

New Orleans-Area AFGE Local President Sentenced for Forgery

On April 21, Matthew Cuomo, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1047, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to three years of probation for forging more than 50 checks totaling about $15,000 from the Kenner-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. He had pleaded guilty last September after being charged that July. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Brooklyn Carpenters President Convicted in Bribery Conspiracy

Joining Sal Tagliaferro’s union was easy: Just pay the man in cash. Now it’s the boss’ turn to pay. Yesterday, Tagliaferro, president of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 926, was found guilty by a Manhattan federal jury of one count each of conspiracy, honest services fraud and conversion of union assets for his role in a scheme to solicit bribes from hundreds of prospective members of the Brooklyn-based union as the price of admission. He and John DeFalco, vice president of Carpenters Local 157 in Manhattan, had been arrested and indicted in June 2019. The offenses generated more than $140,000 for the pair. DeFalco already has pleaded guilty. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the New York City Department of Investigation.

According to prosecutors, Salvatore “Sal” Tagliaferro, a resident of Staten Island, N.Y., … Read More ➡

NLRB Rules Against Dissenting Delaware Poultry Workers in Dispute with UFCW Local

One of the more enduring principles of labor law in America is that workers who are unhappy with their union representation have the right of exit. The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seems determined to narrow if not eliminate this right. On April 21, the board, by 3-1, ruled in Mountaire Farms Inc. that all ballots cast by about 800 Delaware poultry workers as part of an effort to decertify a local affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) must be destroyed. A number of workers at the plant had challenged the basis for applying the “contract bar,” which prevents workers from holding a vote until at least three years into the contract period. After the ruling, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix accused the board of using labor law as “a protection racket for incumbent union officials.”  

Workers often … Read More ➡

Michigan Health Care Union President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

The thefts by Hasan Zahdeh from his union were apparently a lot more than originally suspected. On April 13, Zahdeh, president of the Michigan Union of Healthcare Workers, an affiliate of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzling funds from the Muskegon-based union in the sum of $140,498. He had been arrested and charged last December, and then indicted by a grand jury on January 7. Much of the stolen money was used to finance personal jet travel. The charge and guilty plea follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.  

Union Corruption Update covered this case early this year. Hasan Zahdeh, a cardiovascular technician with Mercy Health Partners (Hackley Campus) in Muskegon, part of Trinity Health, several years ago was a reformer who challenged his union’s corrupt leadership when … Read More ➡