Urbana Officers Ousted

The Laborers’ International Union of North America has ousted all officers of Local 703 in Urbana, IL as part of the “internal reform effort” which is part of the controversial Operating Agreement between LIUNA and the government allowing LIUNA to “reform” itself. Officials alleged that the local’s officers failed to comply with orders for new elections and misspent union money. The action was facilitated by Robert D. Luskin, LIUNA’s in-house prosecutor; however, recent questions about his qualifications and possible conflicts of interest raise concerns about Luskin’s objectivity in the matter. [AP 07/03/98]

Hate-Crime Case May Expand
When 3 white youths were accused of brutally beating a black 13-year-old who had ventured into a mostly white Chicago neighborhood, the criminal case seemed clear. Even President Clinton spoke of the “savage, senseless assault driven by nothing but hate.” 16 months later, prosecutors are struggling to bringing a case to trial. The case … Read More ➡ “Urbana Officers Ousted”

Kickback Scheme sends 4 to Prison

The former head of the NYC transit police union and top union lawyers were sentenced to prison on Jun. 30 for their roles in a kickback scheme involving millions of dollars in union funds. Ronald Reale, the former union boss, was sentenced to 7 years, and Richard Hartman, a leading negotiator for the union, was sentenced to 5 years. They were convicted for a racketeering conspiracy that involved the payment of more than $400,000 in bribes to transit union officers in return for more than $2 million in union money paid to the law firm of Lysaght & Kramer, which represented the transit union and other local police unions. The former sole partners in the law firm, James J. Lysaght and Peter Kramer were sentenced to 27 months each. Although the charges involved the transit police union, the lawyers and Hartman had also worked for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which … Read More ➡ “Kickback Scheme sends 4 to Prison”

Chaos continues in Puerto Rico

Waves of terrorism and sabotage have continued to plague Puerto Rico since Jun. 18 when the 2 telephone unions went on strike protesting privatization of their company. As reported in the last UCU , violence, destruction of infrastructure, bombings, injuries & arrests have been widespread.

The strike expanded on Jul. 7 when 500,000 members from 50 unions went on a general strike for 48 hours. In San Juan, several thousand union extremists faced-off with 200 riot police. Again saboteurs disconnected telephone
service to 500,000 homes and businesses. Much of the thriving tourism industry has been shut down and the airport was at standstill. Protesters ran through streets smashing windows of the Banco Popular that is connected to the
privatization.

Sadly, union bosses in the U.S. could not resist giving their support to violence. AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney and Communications Workers of America president Morton Bahr issued statements of support … Read More ➡ “Chaos continues in Puerto Rico”

From Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorial [06/23/98]: “Unreasonable concessions lead to more demands”:

“It is good that a prolonged bus strike has been averted in Worcester. But the question is: at what price?
[The] one-day strike, staged by the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, was described as an “illegal” job action by Robert E. Ojala, administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. That may have been an understatement. The specter of labor action by this union has been lingering for some time. It threatened to picket the Worcester Centrum Centre during the Democratic State Convention, but a last-minute compromise negotiated by the city manager and the mayor saved the city from embarrassment.
 
Evidently, this time the union was determined to call a strike, no matter how flexible management has been. And management has been flexible to a fault. Some of the concessions the WRTA made to avert a strike – often under political pressure – are outright unreasonable. For … Read More ➡ “From Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorial [06/23/98]: “Unreasonable concessions lead to more demands”:”

Court Denies Hoekstra Sealed Papers

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Cornelius Blackshear has denied a request by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) for sealed documents pertaining to the bitter dispute involving Mademoiselle Knitwear, a union contractor; Liz Claiborne Inc., and UNITE. In an Jun. 8 order, Blackshear did not give a reason for his denial other than to say that his court, where Mademoiselle is in Chapter 11 proceedings, “is primarily concerned with maintaining the sanctity of the confidentiality agreement and the fidelity of the case.”
 
Hoekstra sought access to the documents as part of a congressional probe he is leading into the adequacy of U.S. labor law. A key element in the Mademoiselle controversy consists of multimillion-dollar payments made by Claiborne to UNITE under the practice of liquidated damages — penalties paid by union manufacturers to UNITE when they turn to nonunion production — and the issue of liquidated damages has become a focal point in … Read More ➡ “Court Denies Hoekstra Sealed Papers”

Poshard & AFL-CIO Dance Around Disclosure Laws

U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard (D-IL) has filed papers acknowledging help from a union, but he continues to deny GOP charges that he violated campaign finance disclosure laws. The Democrat’s gubernatorial campaign filed a statement with the Illinois State Board of Elections Jun. 23 disclosing the spending of $108,000 by the AFL-CIO to run radio ads boosting Poshard near the end of the primary campaign.
 
The Illinois Republican Party filed a complaint with the state board charging that Poshard failed to disclose the in-kind contribution within the required 2 business days. The GOP is claiming that Poshard’s filing of the statement is an admission that he violating the law by not filing it earlier. The federation spent more than $200,000 on radio spots for Poshard in the last 2 weeks before the Mar. 17 primary.
 
Poshard takes pride in refusing to accept donations from corporations, political action committees and … Read More ➡ “Poshard & AFL-CIO Dance Around Disclosure Laws”

Rep. Norwood Holding Program Accountable

The Labor Department’s removal of Guess? Inc. from its list of apparel manufacturers and retailers that have voluntarily taken steps to ensure their goods are not made in sweatshop conditions drew criticism at a Jun. 19 congressional hearing. The so-called “Trendsetters List” came under scrutiny as part of an ongoing congressional review of the agency’s program administration and law enforcement efforts. At issue is whether the Labor Department acted arbitrarily in designating companies for the list, possibly running afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.
 
How department officials decided which companies met its criteria for inclusion on the list was the focus of the hearing by the Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations. Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), who chaired the hearing, questioned both the agency’s decisions as to which companies to place on the list as well as its subsequent move to put Guess on “probation.”
  … Read More ➡ “Rep. Norwood Holding Program Accountable”

Election Monitor Tries to Blackmail Congress

Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed Teamsters election monitor sent a strongly-worded letter to U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein on Jun. 24 threatening to end all federal supervision of the election unless the court can resolve a standoff over election funding. Cherkasky’s threats come on the heals of a major setback for taxpayers in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit refused to reconsider its Mar. 30 ruling that forces taxpayers to fund the upcoming rerun election.

Congress, led by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), passed legislation barring taxpayer funding of the rerun election because the nearly $20 million 1996 election was a disgrace and Congress is unconvinced that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent another corrupted election. The Justice Department, under Congressional pressure, has argued that the Teamsters should pay for the election. Cherkasky’s costs for the rerun is now estimated at $8.6 million which is … Read More ➡ “Election Monitor Tries to Blackmail Congress”

Cherkasky’s Other Job Going Well

Cherkasky doesn’t only work for the government monitoring the Teamsters. He has remained the President & Chief Operating Officer of Kroll Associates which is part of the Kroll-O’Gara Company (NASDAQ: KROG), a worldwide private investigator & security firm based in N.Y. On Jun. 18, Cherkasky spent the day in Toronto closing a $16 million deal on Kroll’s latest acquisition of a Canadian forensic accounting firm. “It’s hard to beat them so we had to buy them… We can expand very rapidly across the world,” Cherkasky boasted to the Toronto media. The merger builds Kroll’s presence to 40 cities in 16 counties. Apparently, Cherkasky doesn’t have his hands full because he said he is looking to further expand his Moscow office’s work against burgeoning crime syndicates in Russia. [Toronto Star 06/18/98]
 
UP SHOT: How does Cherkasky have time to run his multi-million dollar business and still ensure the upcoming Teamsters … Read More ➡ “Cherkasky’s Other Job Going Well”

The GM Strikes: An Eye-Opening Perspective

From Investor’s Business Daily’s editorial [06/22/98]: “It takes a lot of effort to put on a strike. Bodies are needed for the picket lines from dawn ’til after dusk. Somebody has to work the telephones. And the media message must be honed. That’s almost as much coordinated work as it takes to build cars. So we want to know: Why don’t members of the United Auto Workers direct their energy to making a superior product, instead of striking General Motors. There are many reasons, but one big one is that the union bosses wouldn’t like it. Workers would learn that they don’t need the union. They could earn high wages by simply turning out a car that buyers prefer…

The Flint stamping facility is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to productivity. It has about half the output per hour worked of similar GM facilities. And the … Read More ➡ “The GM Strikes: An Eye-Opening Perspective”