Top Cranston Officials’ Trial Set

On Aug. 4, nine months after two union members of the National Association of Government Employees Local 198 in Rhode Island were indicted on racketeering and bribery charges and suspended from Cranston city jobs, City Treasurer Kathleen DeLuca and her husband, Raymond, director of the city’s computer services had their criminal trial date set for Nov. 16. According to the Attorney General, the DeLucas are accused of accepting $188,771 in kickbacks in return for securing about $564,000 in city computer contracts for a company. The DeLuca case was another black eye for Mayor Michael A. Traficante’s administration that has been rocked by the kickback-and-bribery convictions of a Public Works Director and a Parks and Recreation Director. Traficante, who is not seeking reelection this year after 14 years in office, pleaded guilty himself in 1994 to nine campaign-finance misdemeanors. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 08/04/98 & 08/05/98]

Teamsters Cited for Illegal Dues CollectionRead More ➡

Militants Overrun University of Wisconsin Bookstore

On Jul. 31, about 150 militant Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees members raided the University of Wisconsin Bookstore claiming the clothing in the store was produced in “sweatshops.” UNITE protesters ripped open the doors and began marching into the store, chanting and shaking cans filled with pieces of metal as employees and patrons watched with “amazement and dismay.” At each level of the store, a contingent peeled off to march around that floor while the bosses continued to the administrative offices. Richard Metcalf, boss of the Midwest Regional UNITE demanded to see “someone in authority.” When denied, UNITE sat down in the halls and began singing a union anthem ”We Will Not Be Moved,” while on the floors below their followers continued to march and chant. As the Madison Police Department moved into positions around the store, UNITE marched out and briefly terrorized a second store up the … Read More ➡

SEIU Fails to Disclose Lobbying

San Francisco unions have never disclosed their lobbying of city officials despite a 10-year-old law aimed at eliminating back-room deal-making. SF’s Ethics Commission is now attempting to force compliance by the unions, particularly Service Employees International Union which is SF’s largest union and has led the lobbying effort this year on hotly-contested health care legislation. The unions face thousands of dollars in penalties if they are found to have knowingly not complied with the ordinance. Union bosses contend they were unaware the measure applied to them. They also argue it is wrong to lump them in with hired-gun lobbyists for corporate interests. And they have said the unions will resist city efforts to force them to make disclosures under the lobbying ordinance.

But that has not sat well with other lobbyists and elected officials. “Since I took office in 1993, the unions have been the strongest lobbying force and the … Read More ➡

Massachusetts Local Stoops “Pretty Low” in Negotiations

Local 254 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents Massachusetts probation officers, has told its members to stop volunteering for community-based probation plans because a contract dispute with the state court system. The following excerpts of a Jul. 25 Boston Herald editorial speaks for itself:

“As a negotiating tactic, this is pretty low. Local 254 of [SEIU], this week directed its members not to work after regular office hours. This could cripple the crucial ‘Night Light’ program in Boston, under which probation officers check up on their charges with visits to their homes and haunts at night, not to mention other important after-hours programs in many communities. Though the union claims ‘a couple’ of members haven’t joined this boycott, ‘they will get religion as well.’ We hope it’s more than a couple, and we hope for a growing apostasy. Probation officers in Brockton were reported to have decided to … Read More ➡

Attorney Challenges Feinstein’s Appointment

The appointment of former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein as an associate general counsel, followed immediately by his appointment as acting general counsel, has raised issues of evasion of law. In documents filed Jul. 21 with the NLRB, attorney Robert W. Tollen charged that the rapid appointment was an unlawful maneuver to keep Feinstein in office. Tollen is defending Contractors’ Labor Pool, a construction company, against unfair labor practice charges brought by the Int’l. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Denver. Feinstein issued a complaint, but the company contends he had no authority because he was unlawfully appointed acting general counsel.

During his 4-year term that expired on Mar. 2, Feinstein tripled the use of injunctions against employers and took positions generally seen as advancing the agenda of big labor. On Mar. 5, Feinstein asked the White House not to renominate him because he didn’t want protracted fight. Two days earlier, … Read More ➡

NLRB Loses Attack on 1st Amendment

Excerpts from the Detroit News’ Aug. 4 editorial: “The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed a stinging rebuke to the National Labor Relations Board for ignoring the First Amendment rights of the Midland Daily News . The federal appellate court…upheld a Detroit federal district court’s ruling quashing a subpoena to the mid- Michigan daily newspaper in the service of a speculative union complaint. The labor agency, which is supposed to be an impartial arbiter between unions and employers, had placed its subpoena power at the service of a union even when there was no definitive showing of a labor violation. In effect, it had turned itself into an agent of the union — and in so doing attempted to trample the First Amendment rights of the newspaper.

Two years ago, the Midland Daily News ran some anonymous ads seeking applications from electricians, with resumes to be sent … Read More ➡

Memphis AFSCME at War With Itself Over Counter Corruption Charges

Memphis’ American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 1733 bosses are locked in a bitter dispute over Executive Director Dorothy Crook. At Jul. 31 press conference, the Local Vice-President Johnny Dansberry said, “Members of the executive board…had received numerous complaints from members about [Crook’s] competency and ability to function as executive director… Questions were also raised about financial irregularities appearing in the books of the Local 1733.” The executive board voted in May to fire Crook.

Crook filed a grievance against the board contending she has been denied due process. Jeff A. Crow, Jr., hired by AFSCME to litigate the Crook case, said a grievance hearing likely will be scheduled this month. A court case pending in Shelby County Chancery Court is on hold pending the outcome of the union’s grievance procedure. Alfred Dowdy, a board member supporting Crook, filed the lawsuit last month against Local 1733 President … Read More ➡

Convoluted Corruption War Rages in Texas

A convoluted corruption case revolving around American Federation of Government Employees offical Joe Palazzolo may have entered its final stage on Jul. 27 at a Federal Labor Relations Authority hearing in Forth Worth, TX to determine if Palazzolo is eligible to continue holding his 2 union jobs, which he holds simultaneously, representing General Services Administration employees in an 11-state region. The probe has the attention of federal investigators in Dallas, Denver and Washington, as well as top AFGE union bosses. A decision is expected in Sept.

The case which has seen Palazzolo removed from and subsequently returned to office earlier this year began in Mar. 1997. A union mailbox has been seized; a union office has been locked-out; and several counter lawsuits have been filed — 2 by Palazzolo. Palazzolo has been forced into an extended leave from his GSA job and has been threatened with disciplinary action from GSA … Read More ➡

Top Boss Goes to Prison for Union Embezzlement

“[H]e thought of himself first and the union members second. He and other members of his family used the union as a personal asset,” said U.S. Labor Department’s Joseph S. Wasik in discussing Joseph C. Talarico, the now-former Int’l. Secretary-Treasurer (i.e. #2 post) of the United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l. Union. Talarico was sentenced Jul. 28 in U.S. District Court to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million restitution to UFCW Local 1 in Utica, NY, for embezzling over $925,000 from union members. He was banned from union office for 13 years.

But the scheme that ran 1984-97 went beyond Joseph Talarico, who was the Local 1 president before he took his int’l. union post in 1995, to include his brother, son, daughter and brother-in-law. The Talaricos illegally used union funds for a wide range of personal purposes, including landscaping and lavish renovations to their homes. … Read More ➡

Funding the WorldCom-MCI Foes?

On Jul. 15, the Justice Department approved WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI over the protests of rivals, unions and left-wing activists. The merger has one more regulatory hurdle: a “public interest review” by the Federal Communications Commission where an alliance of self-interested opponents will put up their strongest fight. In addition to the Communication Workers of America, the AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have entered the fray. And GTE, hoping to revive its own efforts to acquire MCI, has fought the merger. WorldCom & MCI are largely non-union companies. If this merger is overturned and GTE gets MCI, CWA stands to inherit a hefty amount of defenseless workers ripe for unionizing.

Evidence is growing that corporate dollars are supporting the union and left-wing activist’s PR battle. GTE’s PR firm Powell Tate, a D.C. firm which is also working with Nader on an anti-Microsoft campaign, held a Capitol … Read More ➡