Union Shutout in Jacob’s Field

Food service workers at the Cleveland Indian’s Jacob’s Field rejected union representation Sep. 11, handing the local union bosses a high-profile defeat. The voting ended just minutes before the start of the Indians’s game and a mere 37% of Cleveland Sportservice employees voted to join Local 10 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. Sandy Golden, a commissary worker, said, “I don’t have any complaints about the way things are now. I feel my wages are fair, and I’m treated respectfully.” Historically, HERE is one of America’s most corrupt unions, and Cleveland has been the home of some of the most corrupt locals in America. [Plain Dealer 9/12/98]… Read More ➡

Nevada Boss Indicted for $72K Theft

Johnie M. Williams, former secretary-treasurer of the Am. Fed’n of Gov’t Employees Local 1199 was arrested Aug. 27 on charges that he embezzled over $72,000 from AFGE. A federal grand jury in Nev. indicted him on 162 counts of embezzlement from AFGE’s bank accounts and 3 counts of filing false financial reports with the Labor Dep’t. The 1993-96 scheme entailed checks written to cash, Williams and personal creditors. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 8/29/98]

Md. Boss Pleads Guilty to Cover Up
 John Mosley, former treasurer of AFGE Local 29 in Clinton, Md., pled guilty Aug. 24 to making false statements to the government to cover up his personal use of union funds. He controlled union finances, conducted all business in cash and maintained virtually no records from 1988 to 1996. He took around $40,000 from union coffers for his own use. Mosley faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. … Read More ➡

No Restitution for 2 Embezzlers

Two former union bosses embezzled more than $74,000 from Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Local 1-5476 in Lawndale, Cal. and were incarcerated Sep. 3 after pleading guilty Aug. 24. Former int’l rep. Kevin Geddes and secretary-treasurer Robert Redmerski filed false “lost time” claims for reimbursement. According to the Labor Dep’t, the scheme induced local stewards to file false claims and turn over union reimbursements to Geddes, and Redmerski knowingly approved and paid the false claims. Geddes was sentenced to 3 months in prison, 3 months in a halfway house and 3 years probation and was ordered to obtain substance abuse and psychiatric treatment. Redmerski was sentenced to 6 months in a halfway house and 3 years probation. Fines and restitution of union members’ lost funds were waived in exchange the for guilty pleas, as were conspiracy and extortion charges. [BNA 9/4/98]

Oregon Boss Embezzled $88K
Association of Western Pulp … Read More ➡

Union Violence in U.S. West Strike

 Before U.S. West won a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America on Aug. 30, the 2-week strike was marred by union violence. On Aug. 21 U.S. District Judge Stephen L. Henriod issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting CWA from threatening and intimidating people entering or leaving U.S. West buildings. The order came after the company submitted a half dozen affidavits of threats and intimidation:

  • A contractor was approached at his motel by 3 people, including one who threatened to “take you out if I see you working.” The contractor said the person making the threat had a gun. Police have charged a CWA member with public intoxication and making threats with a gun in the incident.
  • Militants at a rally blocked the entrance to a company parking lot.
  • A company manager working to maintain service during the strike was struck in the head with a rock. His car
Read More ➡

Members Move to End Local

 Asserting rising disgust with their union, nearly 100 KCAL-TV employees in L.A. have decided they no longer want to be represented by the Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers due in part to union corruption. Members petitioned the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. Aug. 5 requesting Local 45 be removed. The petition was withdrawn, but they are still looking for alternatives. In a complaint letter to Local 45 bosses, members stated their motivation includes “the financial mismanagement of our money” and the strike fund “which we’ve paid into for years, is now non-existent, and no one from IBEW has satisfactorily answered our questions as to where the money has gone.” The corruption reference is to James E. Jackson (see: UCU 1.6 8/24/98), Local 45 business manger, who was recently indicted for allegedly embezzling over $63,000. [Daily Variety 8/25/98]

45 Days & $21K for N.Y. Boss
 James T. Russo was sentenced Sept. … Read More ➡

Union Bosses Lavish Hawaiian Junket

The Am. Fed’n of State, County & Municipal Employees held its 1998 national convention in Honolulu. Aug. 24-28, and Newsday  ran an excellent article demonstrating its scandalous and costly behavior.  The article focused only on AFSCME locals in N.Y., so the insights gained here can be multiplied at least 50 fold.

“Undeterred by subpoenas issued in a grand-jury investigation of union spending, hundreds of officials of the city’s largest municipal union are in Hawaii…for a conference expected to cost its members $2 million to $3 million.”  AFSCME District Council 37 sent nearly 800 union officials; all were staying at the Sheraton Waikiki for “$185 daily, payable by the union.” Airfare and meals will be reimbursed as well. “The ‘Aloha AFSCME’ agenda include[d] a speech…by Vice President Al Gore [and] sightseeing tours…”

In comical defense, District Council 37’s executive director, Stanley Hill told Newsday, “This is not a junket. … Read More ➡

Victory for Freedom from Union Bosses

In a clear defeat for union bosses, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sep. 1 that Ohio may constitutionally ban public employers from administering automatic payroll deductions for political purposes.  Union bosses challenged the 1995 campaign finance statute which included a ban on payroll “checkoffs.” The decision reversed a lower court ruling that the ban violated the unions’ free speech and free association rights under the First Amendment. Writing for the court, Judge Danny J. Boggs said that even the unions conceded that they had no affirmative right to wage checkoffs to support political causes. “The wage checkoff ban simply does not impinge in a constitutionally significant manner on any First Amendment rights,” Boggs wrote. The “privilege” of checkoffs was not being denied to harm or condition constitutional rights, he explained. Moreover, Ohio had an interest in “removing partisan politics from places of public employment.” [BNA 9/2/98]… Read More ➡

Coia Accused of Favoritism in Union Election

General President of the Laborers Int’l Union of North Am., Arthur A. Coia, was accused in a lawsuit filed Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court of helping allies of a corrupt and ousted boss gain an unfair advantage in an upcoming election. Just before LIUNA Local 190 in Albany was to begin filling the vacancy left by ousted business manager Samuel Fresina, a legal battle erupted over allegations that Fresina’s loyalists were attempting to control the outcome. Fresina was forced out last month due to alleged ties to organized crime (see: UCU 1.6 8/24/98).

Carmen Francella, Jr., a candidate for the job, filed the suit seeking the nomination meeting be postponed until late-Sep. The complaint said he was denied membership lists that prevent him from properly campaigning and that he has been personally threatened. The nominations meeting was moved from its longtime location in Albany to LIUNA offices in … Read More ➡

Two Turn on Boss, Make Deal to Save Themselves

Daniel J. Bielat and William P. Yarma settled embezzlement charges Aug. 27 with a federally appointed investigator, leaving Frank H. Ervolino, Buffalo-area union boss, the sole target of a federal investigation. After helping Ervolino run 3 locals, Bielat and Yarmal made agreements that dropped embezzlement charges against them. The investigator, Kurt W. Muellenberg, was appointed under 1995 settlement of racketeering charges against the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union.

Muellenberg will decide by Oct. if he will proceed with charges that the Ervolino family funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds into their own pockets in 1990-95. Allegedly, Ervolino collected $1.5 million from the unions in salary and pension benefits; his wife collected $529,610 and his daughter $246,018. Sources included unauthorized raises and bonuses, and according to the charges, Ervolino benefited from union-paid insurance policies and entered into deals between the union and businesses run by his … Read More ➡

A Fourth, Blitz, Pleads Guilty in Teamsters Scandal

Charles Blitz, a CA businessman and liberal campaign fundraiser, pled guilty Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court to lying to a court-appointed election monitor about the money-laundering schemes that ruined Teamsters President Ron Carey. Blitz is the 4th person to plead guilty. Blitz faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 2. No one involved in the scandals has been sentenced to date. [Detroit News & Newsday 8/18/98]

According to court records, the scheme, that Blitz was a part, illegally raised $110,000 and $75,000 for “Teamsters for a Corruption Free Union” from the liberal Citizen Action and Project Vote, respectively. In return, the Teamsters “donated” $475,000 to Citizen Action and $175,000 to Project Vote. An additional $85,000 to the National Council of Senior Citizens garnered $42,500 for Carey. The total, $227,500, covered Carey’s direct mail expenses.… Read More ➡