UFCW Strike Puts Meatpacker Out of Business

Broken by a 2-week UFCW Local 271 strike, meatpacker BeefAmerica said Jul. 28 that it is going out of business. It will close its only plant putting 1,300 UFCW members and managers in Norfolk, NE, out of work. “The strike [was] something the company did not expect or anticipate and [was] very costly,” said a company spokesman. The company lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” each week of the strike. [Des Moines Register 07/29/98]

Union Boss Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
Janet Brown, the now-former president of American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 599 in Beaver Falls, PA, pled guilty Jul. 29 to embezzling more than $3,000 from union coffers. U.S. Attorney’s Office said the union boss took members’ money by writing checks to herself and falsifying union records. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 07/30/98]

Organized Crime Boss Convicted of Racketeering
A federal jury in Trenton, NJ, Jul. 27 found reputed organized … Read More ➡

AFSCME Conspiracy in Massachusetts

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, minutes before his trial on Jul. 27, Am. Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees member Abraham Aly, in-house architect of Newton, MA, pled guilty to 9 counts of bribery, 5 counts of mail fraud, 3 counts of embezzlement and 1 count of conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern stated, “Newton was bilked by Aly for construction…work at 2 high schools, 2 elementary schools and at City Hall itself. This was done so that the defendant could pocket cash kickbacks and put a new roof on his own house. The losers were the taxpayers of the City of Newton and the public trust.” Aly admitted that during 1993-95 he used his position to extract personal favors and cash from a vendor. The vendor overbilled the city about $50,000 and kicked-back about $25,000, in cash, to Aly. Payments were typically made at job sites and … Read More ➡

Probe of CA Teachers Association Concludes

San Bernardino Co., CA District Attorney’s Office’s investigation into embezzlement schemes involving local teachers unions concluded on Jul. 8, when San Bernardino Co. Superior Court sentenced Nancy Hooper to 180 days of electronic surveillance. Hooper had pled guilty to 8 counts of grand theft embezzlement and 1 count of receiving stolen property. Hooper stole more than $36,000 from the Fontana Teachers Association’s checking account for her personal use. The former Fontana City Councilwoman was also ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution, which is on top of $22,000 already paid. She will also pay the $400 monthly surveillance cost.

This comes less than a month after a Rialto, CA teachers union official was sentenced to 28 months in prison for embezzling about $110,000 from the Rialto Educators Association and Citrus Belt UniServ which oversees several area teachers unions including Fontana Teachers Association. Mary Jane Bronson pleaded guilty to 2 counts of … Read More ➡

Dissention in the Teamsters Ranks in A-B Strike Vote

Some Teamsters are angry at the way their union is handling negotiations with Anheuser-Busch (A-B) and have successfully delayed the counting of votes on the latest strike proposal. The ballots mailed to 8,000 Teamsters were supposed to be counted on Jul. 15, but the challenges delayed the mailing of ballots and pushed back the count to Jul. 30. Bosses at 8 of the 16 locals that represent the A-B workers asked the Teamsters to call off the vote. The opponents said they were confused about what they were voting on because of additional proposals. But the Teamsters systematically rejected all the opponents’ challenges. Officers of the Baldwinsville, NY and Williamsburg, VA locals hoped the Teamsters would reconsider its decision; otherwise, court action is possible according to Steve Richmond, a member of the Baldwinsville union’s negotiating team. He said that federal law guarantees workers the right to an “informed vote” in … Read More ➡

Improper Election of Rhode Island Boss

RI’s American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 94 has been ordered to rerun election of top officers because it allegedly failed to ensure a secret-ballot vote. The investigation was sparked by self-styled dissident Linda C. Riendeau who lost to incumbent union boss J. Thomas Chellel at the Apr. convention. Chellel has run Council 94 since 1979. AFSCME’s judicial panel in Washington questioned whether 71 delegates to the convention, who voted on behalf of 8,000 union members, were able to vote by secret ballot. The panel was also troubled by a plan to change the formula for determining the size of Council 94’s executive board which the panel said was improperly adopted and didn’t allow Riendeau a chance to organize her own board slate. Announced Jul. 10, the rerun will be Aug. 12. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 07/09/98 & 07/11/98]

Lazy Unions In Springfield, IL
Poor work habits by … Read More ➡

AFL-CIO’s Candidate Evades Sanctions

Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Poshard (D-IL) will not face sanctions for improperly handling contributions from the AFL-CIO. Poshard’s campaign “acknowledged it failed to properly report nearly $109,000 in advertising on its behalf by the AFL-CIO,” according to State Board of Elections (SBE) documents released Jul. 16. Under an agreement with the IL Republican Party, which filed the complaint, and accepted, by the SBE, Poshard’s campaign will not be punished as long as it doesn’t repeat the violation. [Chicago Daily Herald 07/17/98]

AFL-CIO Attack Ads Roll Again
In a preview of their preferred plan of attack against Republicans, the militant and corrupt Sweeney-Trumka AFL-CIO has started another irresponsible nationwide television campaign. The union ads attack Republicans on the HMO reform/patients rights issue, wrongfully distorting Republican proposals. According to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the union ads are running in at least 9 media markets including Birmingham, Louisville and Boise – very … Read More ➡

MD Senators Bought With $150,000 from UFCW & Others

On Jul. 22, NLPC blasted MD Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D) and Paul S. Sarbanes (D) for becoming mouth-pieces of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the fight against the Giant Foods and Royal Ahold merger. Mikulski & Sarbanes have taken $153,700 in political action committee (PAC) contributions since the 1980 elections from union organizations which have a vested interest in Giant Foods. “It should be no surprise why Mikulski & Sarbanes entered the fray on the side of the unions,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. “They’ve been bought and paid for with union PAC money. When union bosses crack the whip, the politicians shamelessly obey — especially when tens of thousands of dollars are involved.”
 
UFCW Local 27 President Buddy Mays issued a media released on Jul. 14, in which he accused Royal Ahold of secretly targeting only unionized Giant stores for divestiture as a way … Read More ➡

Hoekstra Victorious in Obtaining UNITE Records

On Jul. 15, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) finally got the documents from the Mademoiselle Knitwear Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Hoekstra’s committee is investigating how well workers are protected under current labor law. The documents contain information about liquidated damage payments made by Liz Claiborne, former Mademoiselle customer, to the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textiles Employees. UNITE initially contested Hoekstra subpoenas for the records which have a confidentiality seal imposed by bankruptcy judge. UNITE agreed to allow Mademoiselle to turn over the documents after 2 weeks of negotiations with Hoekstra’s staff and after court approval on Jul. 13. Liquidated damages are a long-standing feature of apparel union contracts. They are penalties paid by apparel manufacturers when they violate union contracts by using nonunion producers. Mademoiselle has claimed in a lawsuit against Claiborne and UNITE that the charges represented a “bribe” so that Claiborne could get out of obligations to provide … Read More ➡

2 Plead Guilty to AFSCME Embezzlement Scheme

Two union bosses of the American Fed. of State, County & Municipal Employees pled guilty Jul. 23 to embezzlement charges, admitting to stealing over $830,000 from union coffers. From 1991 to 1996, Thomas W. Waters and Barbara T. Wood embezzled funds while employees at AFSCME’s District Council 20 which represents 6,700 employees from the Washington, D.C. government, American Red Cross & Howard University Hospital. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Waters opened a secret bank account in the union’s name and had dues checks deposited into the account. Then both used the unions members’ money for personal expenses. They also took money from another AFSCME account. Waters, Council 20’s secretary-treasurer, admitted taking more than $761,000 and faces a 3-year prison term. A U.S. District Court Judge ordered Waters jailed immediately after his guilty plea, saying he was a danger to the community. Wood, the finance director, admitted taking $73,500 and … Read More ➡

Rerun Election Funds Still Up in the Air

In the hour-by-hour saga over how the Teamsters’ rerun election will be funded, the latest twist on Jul. 23 came from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK). Stevens, over Subcommittee Chairman Judd Gregg’s (R-NH) objections, endorsed a Justice Department proposal, called by some “the least lousy choice,” that has the taxpayers paying about half of the $8.6 million estimated rerun costs. This comes after the U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein’s multiple deadlines for Justice to secure funding have passed, and after the Teamsters, emboldened by a favorable U.S. Appeals Court ruling, have said they will contribute no more than $1 million towards the rerun. If there is no resolution, Edelstein has no choice but to allow the Teamster to conduct an unsupervised election. This entire sad situation is due to Ron Carey’s 1996 campaign’s $538,100 money-laundering schemes. [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/24/98]

Libel Suit Against Teamsters ContinuesRead More ➡