Illinois Dissident Wins Office On Appeal

Union Dissident Darren Fish is now officially the president of the AFSCME Local 494 in Pontiac, Ill., after an AFSCME “judge” in Washington, D.C. announced his decision Apr. 11. Fish and incumbent bosses, Danny Jarrett, finished as the top two vote-getters in the Dec. 1998 election. In a runoff Fish defeated Jarrett by 14 votes. But, Jarrett filed a protest with the local’s board and a new election was held in Feb. 1999, which Jarrett won by 22 votes. Fish then filed a protest with the local and parent union. Fish criticized the revote due to the fact that only 80 out of 750 members caused the second runoff. Fish also said questionable methods were used in the second runoff. Jarrett plans to appeal. [Pantagraph 4/12/99]… Read More ➡

Dissidents Testify to Lack of Union Democracy

On Apr. 9, the Dep’t of Justice filed suit in Kansas City against the Int’l Bhd. of Boilermakers on behalf of two union dissidents allegeding that IBB placed restrictions on their local that amounted to an illegal trusteeship in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959.

On Apr. 15, the dissidents, Ernest “Skip” Patterson, president of the Nat’l Transient Lodge, and Gary W. Boring testified before Rep. John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) House subcommittee about why it took two years for the Dep’t of Labor to take any action on their complaint that rights of NTL members of IBB are being violated. Both called for Congress members’ rights under LMRDA to ensure that unions are being run democratically. Patterson testified that as the elected president of the NTD, he has virtually no authority. “We don’t elect our negotiating committee…We don’t elect our representatives. We don’t elect our stewards. We … Read More ➡

New York Local 384 Bosses Indicted for Stealing $240,000

Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert Morgenthau’s probe of the scandal-ridden Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees’ Dist. Council 37 won his first two indictments on Mar. 31. DC37 Local 384 president Francine Autovino and treasurer Connie Lango were indicted for stealing over $240,000 from union coffers. Both pled not guilty at their arraignments on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records. Reportedly, both blamed the other for the missing thousands of dollars.

According to Morgenthau, Lango stole over $190,000 from May 1994 to Sep. 1995. She allegedly asked Local 384’s bank to write checks payable to herself, credit-card companies and car leasing firms. Reportedly, Autovino took over $50,000 by double-dipping on car expenses, filing false receipts and giving her friends and relatives freebie trips. Her alleged schemes included submitting invoices for printing union brochures and then named herself as the payee. Investigators are still looking into jewelry purchases … Read More ➡

In Bevona’s Wake, Corruption Questions Linger in New York

Union dissidents who helped overthrow corrupt union boss Gus Bevona as head of the Service Employees Int’l Union Local 32B-32J in N.Y. are now under fire themselves from other dissidents who claim the union’s new leadership, appointed from Washington, has co-opted them. While the new leadership has stopped the lavish spending, it has done little to restore democracy or encourage the membership to get involved in union affairs.

SEIU president Andrew L. Stern, who is himself tainted by corruption linked to the Ron Carey-Teamsters scandal, took over the Local last month after Bevona retired as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by dissidents. The Local is now run by Thomas Balanoff. Dissidents said they were angry because they thought that the new leadership would change the dictatorial ways of the union.

“I see Gus Bevona. He was a dictator. I see Thomas Balanoff as a benevolent dictator, so … Read More ➡

California Boss Sentenced to 21 Months

James E. Jackson, ex-boss of the Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 45 in Hollywood, was sentenced Apr. 5 to 21 months in prison for embezzling union funds. Prosecutors allege that he embezzled over $259,000, but Jackson was also ordered to pay only $217,878 in restitution to IBEW. He pled guilty to using the union’s credit cards for unauthorized purposes from 1994-97. Jackson said he charged $1,200 to IBEW to pay for repair work done on his Mercedes-Benz and spent another $1,207 for a Caribbean cruise. He also had the union pay for auto maintenance and insurance and for his adult daughter’s health insurance. [Hollywood Reporter 4/6/99]

$212,500 Punitive Damages for Violence in Alaska
The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed an order Mar. 26 that Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 1547 in Anchorage pay $212,500 in punitive damages to a nonunion firm for violence on picketing lines in 1986. Local … Read More ➡

Maryland AFSCME’s Mandatory Non-Member Fee Bill Stopped

Md. Gov. Parris N. Glendening’s (D) proposal for a mandatory union fee for all state employees appears defeated after a Md. House subcommittee removed it Mar. 17 from a collective bargaining bill. The controversial “agency fee” intended to compensate government employee unions for the costs of representing employees whether or not they are members. Glendening spokesman Ray Feldmann said the governor would continue to seek approval of the mandatory fee in the full committee and the Senate. But Rawlings said the frosty reaction to the compromise shows the depth of the committee’s opposition to agency fees.

The mandatory fee had been widely perceived as a reward to the Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees for its generous support of Glendening in the Nov. election. It was also portrayed as a serious threat to the Md. Classified Employees Ass’n, which supported Glendening’s opponent Ellen R. Sauerbrey. AFSCME, because it … Read More ➡

Rep. Boehner Looks to Expand Landrum-Griffin to Government Employee Union

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, opened a new round of union democracy hearings Mar. 17. The first hearing focused on extending financial reporting and other requirements of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Act) of 1959 to cover public-employee unions such as the scandal-ridden Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees. Testifying before subcommittees was 1) Professor Clyde Summers, Univ. of Pa. Law School, 2) Herman Benson, co-founder of the Ass’n for Union Democracy and 3) Professor Stanley Aronowitz of City Univ. of N.Y. The three stressed the necessity of the statute, while conceding that it has not always prevented abuses from occurring or stopped union officials from violating the spirit of the law, if not the letter.

Boehner said he has not decided whether he will reintroduce ex-Rep. Harris W. Fawell’s (R-Ill.) union democracy bill as … Read More ➡

Federal Grand Jury Investigation of Boss Coia?

As reported in the last issue, the Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am.’s “internal reform effort” whitewashed its investigation of LIUNA boss Arthur A. Coia, and the Dep’t of Justice finally showed some signs of disbelief that LIUNA could reform itself. Shortly thereafter, new information was disclosed at a Mar. 11 news conference held by Dep. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder. An unidentified reporter asked Holder:

“One of his findings of fact in the ruling is that Mr. Coia avoided $42,000 worth of federal taxes. But he goes on to say that’s not a felony that’s within his province to investigate.  But it has been presented to your people in the Justice Department, and reportedly it’s been presented to a grand jury in Boston. What can you tell us about that case? Are you going to indict Mr. Coia?”

This is the first news that Coia may be under a federal … Read More ➡

Wisconsin Dues Collector Charged with $118,000 Theft

The ex-dues collector for the Milwaukee & So. Wis. Dist. Council of Carpenters was criminally charged Mar. 18 with stealing over $118,000 from the United Bhd. of Carpenters affiliate. Joanne Manojlovic worked for the union seven years and spent the last four as dues collector, seizing dues from eight locals and depositing them into a union bank account. At first, she allegedly took cash from collections then covered what she took. But, she allegedly stopped repaying her takings from Jan. 1996 to Sep. 1998. She faces 10 years in prison. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/19/99]

Ex-Boss Admits to Using Union Funds for Golf Expenses
Michael J. Brennan, ex-Iron Workers Political Action League offical, admitted Mar. 19 to spending about $7,000 in union funds on personal expenses at Avenel Tournament Players Club in Maryland. From Jan. 1994 to Oct. 1996, Brennan entertained other bosses, family and friends at the posh club. Brennan … Read More ➡

First Guilty Plea in New York Vote Scam

Manhattan Dist. Atty Robert M. Morgenthau won his first guilty plea in a vote-rigging scam involving the Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employee’s scandal-ridden Dist. Council 37. The vote was on DC37’s 1996 contract with N.Y. City. Mark Shaplo, a top associate to ex-DC37 boss Stanley Hill, implicated Mar. 24 himself, two other Hill associates and AFSCME Int’l Vice-President Albert A. Diop. But, Shaplo didn’t implicate Hill. Reportedly, Shaplo said the scheme worked by bosses 1) printing thousands of extra blank ballots, 2) marking them to show approval of the contract, 3) mixing the fake ballots with authentic ones, helping to ensure approval of the contract.

Shaplo also pled guilty yesterday to receiving more than $50,000 in kickbacks from the sale of hundreds of holiday turkeys each year at inflated prices to DC37 Local 1251. Shaplo faces six years in prison and must repay the union $80,000. Morgenthau … Read More ➡