According to the Ohio auditor’s office, the president of the Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3984 owes Ohio $8,217 that she admitted stealing last year while working in the Butler Co. Clerk of Courts office. Lori Lutes, who is also a motor-vehicle dep’t bookkeeper, pled guilty in Jul. to “theft in office,” a felony. [Cincinnati Enquirer 9/10/98]
LIUNA Boss Accused of Harassment
Two female construction workers who alleged that a union boss demanded sex for job assignments have won probable cause findings from the Mass. Comm’n Against Discrimination. Ruth Ann Niemeyer and Pamela J. Corey alleged James M. Porter, LIUNA Local 243 business manager, made the women perform sex in return for work. Winning the Sep. 3 decision was the women’s first legal hurdle. Despite complaining about Porter’s behavior, LIUNA refused to take action. The alleged actions are quite sick. Niemeyer alleges Porter forced her … Read More ➡
The election of president of central California’s largest union “has been a cakewalk” for Don Hunsucker for nearly the past two decades, but fellow United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1288 member, Candelaria Arroyo, could change that in this month’s election. Arroyo has blasted Hunsucker and his staff for their lavish expense accounts, but stopped short directly criticizing Hunsucker for his $120,000 a year base salary. Hunsucker has been Local 1288’s boss for 20 years and has run unchallenged in every election since 1981. “There are some people who have been in office for so long that they’ve forgotten about the working people,” Arroyo said. [Fresno Bee 9/7/98]
Boston Bosses Monitored for Unfair Practices
The Service Employees Int’l Union has begun monitoring Boston’s SEIU Local 254 following a hearing last spring on allegations that the Local unfairly represented members. SEIU spokeswoman Jill Gallagher confirmed Sep. 16 that Thomas Balanoff … Read More ➡
A contract employee for the U.S. Labor Dep’t and a co-conspirator embezzled over $500,000 from DOL’s Division of Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation. Jennifer M. Spraitz and Rachel Lea Gratton pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and theft from a federal program. The Division administers compensation benefits, medical payments and vocational rehabilitation services to injured workers and is funded by the federal government and private employers. Spraitz created false vocational rehabilitation counselor invoices, making up the names of allegedly injured workers who were supposedly receiving services she listed on the invoices. Spraitz used Gratton’s name as the fictitious rehabilitation counselor on the invoices and listed addresses that were under their control. From Oct. 1993 to Nov. 1997, Spraitz submitted 150 fraudulent invoices which generated government checks totaling $524,722. Spraitz retrieved the checks for Gratton who then returned personal checks for half the amount to Spraitz. Both used the … Read More ➡
Frustrated by over 135 illegal union actions that have continually idled West Coast ports since 1996, the Pacific Maritime Assn. is seeking a court order to prevent dockworkers from violating contract provisions prohibiting strikes and slowdowns. PMA filed suit Sep. 11 in U.S. Dist. Court in L.A. to halt an alarming trend of improper walkouts, demonstrations and stoppages that have cost shippers and consumers tens of millions of dollars.
“Illegal slowdowns, gimmicks and games have become daily fare for the [Int’l] Longshore & Warehouse Union,” the suit states. “[M]illions of dollars are lost each week by the ILWU’s contemptuous behavior.” Named defendants include ILWU, Locals 13 in L.A. and Local 63 in Long Beach. The suit doesn’t seek financial damages. Instead, PMA attorneys want a permanent injunction to force ILWU to comply with existing contracts. The suit cites seven major work stoppages that were deemed illegal by arbitration authorities.
The … Read More ➡
From Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel’s Sep. 10 editorial: “Unionized longshoremen are making a serious and disruptive mistake by trying to block criminal background checks at Port Everglades. Local 1526 of [ILWU] had ample time to protest specifics of the security measure before it was agreed on, and evidently said during earlier discussions it wouldn’t oppose the checks. Now, late in the process, the union is filing a federal lawsuit. The unacceptable result could well be to enhance and prolong the flow of illegal drugs through the port and into Florida’s streets.
This issue is about cocaine, heroin and marijuana in large quantities being smuggled through the Broward County port. For years, the port has been a sieve and therefore a favorite destination of drug smugglers who bring narcotics here from Colombia, usually with stops in the Caribbean.
One reason for the easy path through Port Everglades has been the disturbing number … Read More ➡
A 1973 Supreme Court decision effectively made vandalism, assault and even murder by union officials exempt from federal anti-extortion law, and “the result has been an epidemic of union-related violence,” according to a new study from the Cato Institute (www.cato.org). In “Freedom from Union Violence,” author David Kendrick traces the history of labor law and union violence during the 20th century, beginning with the notorious case of a former Idaho governor murdered in 1905 by union mine workers who felt he had betrayed them by calling in federal troops during a strike.
In 1946 Congress passed the Hobbs Act, aimed at a wide spectrum of union violence. Among other things, it defined criminal extortion as “the obtaining of property . . . by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence or fear [emphasis added].” In using the word “wrongful,” Kendrick says, “Congress left a narrow opening through which the … Read More ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡
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 ➡