The Labor Department’s removal of Guess? Inc. from its list of apparel manufacturers and retailers that have voluntarily taken steps to ensure their goods are not made in sweatshop conditions drew criticism at a Jun. 19 congressional hearing. The so-called “Trendsetters List” came under scrutiny as part of an ongoing congressional review of the agency’s program administration and law enforcement efforts. At issue is whether the Labor Department acted arbitrarily in designating companies for the list, possibly running afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.
How department officials decided which companies met its criteria for inclusion on the list was the focus of the hearing by the Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations. Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), who chaired the hearing, questioned both the agency’s decisions as to which companies to place on the list as well as its subsequent move to put Guess on “probation.”
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Michael G. Cherkasky, the court-appointed Teamsters election monitor sent a strongly-worded letter to U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein on Jun. 24 threatening to end all federal supervision of the election unless the court can resolve a standoff over election funding. Cherkasky’s threats come on the heals of a major setback for taxpayers in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit refused to reconsider its Mar. 30 ruling that forces taxpayers to fund the upcoming rerun election.
Congress, led by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), passed legislation barring taxpayer funding of the rerun election because the nearly $20 million 1996 election was a disgrace and Congress is unconvinced that adequate safeguards are in place to prevent another corrupted election. The Justice Department, under Congressional pressure, has argued that the Teamsters should pay for the election. Cherkasky’s costs for the rerun is now estimated at $8.6 million which is … Read More ➡
Cherkasky doesn’t only work for the government monitoring the Teamsters. He has remained the President & Chief Operating Officer of Kroll Associates which is part of the Kroll-O’Gara Company (NASDAQ: KROG), a worldwide private investigator & security firm based in N.Y. On Jun. 18, Cherkasky spent the day in Toronto closing a $16 million deal on Kroll’s latest acquisition of a Canadian forensic accounting firm. “It’s hard to beat them so we had to buy them… We can expand very rapidly across the world,” Cherkasky boasted to the Toronto media. The merger builds Kroll’s presence to 40 cities in 16 counties. Apparently, Cherkasky doesn’t have his hands full because he said he is looking to further expand his Moscow office’s work against burgeoning crime syndicates in Russia. [Toronto Star 06/18/98]
UP SHOT: How does Cherkasky have time to run his multi-million dollar business and still ensure the upcoming Teamsters … Read More ➡
From Investor’s Business Daily’s editorial [06/22/98]: “It takes a lot of effort to put on a strike. Bodies are needed for the picket lines from dawn ’til after dusk. Somebody has to work the telephones. And the media message must be honed. That’s almost as much coordinated work as it takes to build cars. So we want to know: Why don’t members of the United Auto Workers direct their energy to making a superior product, instead of striking General Motors. There are many reasons, but one big one is that the union bosses wouldn’t like it. Workers would learn that they don’t need the union. They could earn high wages by simply turning out a car that buyers prefer…
The Flint stamping facility is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to productivity. It has about half the output per hour worked of similar GM facilities. And the … Read More ➡
According to Rep. Hoekstra’s subcommittee, the bosses of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees are profiting from their members job losses due to a special industry proviso in federal labor law.
The May 27 report states UNITE receives “liquated damages” from companies for contract breaches which include relocating production overseas. UNITE treats the payments as its own since no explicit obligation exists to distribute the money to its members.
“So as contracts leave the country and UNITE’s members lose their jobs, UNITE itself continues to receive ‘a piece of the action’… Over the past few decades garment unions have lost more than half of their membership to overseas competition. Yet during that same time, UNITE and its predecessors became the richest of all unions, as measured on an assets per member basis. UNITE not only on owns the Amalgamated Bank of New York, but also owns much prime … Read More ➡
In a June 2 letter, the Developmental Disabilities Council, a New Jersey watchdog group on state policy, accused the Communications Workers of America of threatening to expose the names of group home residents who have criminal records or a history of behavior problems in order to halt the closing of state institutions for the disabled. The group’s director Ethan Ellis said, “This degrades the public images of people with developmental disabilities irreparably. It is going to take years to repair that damage.” [Bergen Co. Record 06/03/98]
Tainted Ex-President Reinstated
On June 3 in St. Louis, a U.S. District Judge had Service Employees Int’l. Union Local 50 to reinstated its ex-president William Stodghill. He was ousted from office and the union in 1996 amid allegations of wrongly spending the union’s funds for his personal expenses. Current local president Don Rudd said, “Stodghill was found guilty of improperly using members’ money at … Read More ➡
In N.Y., Lawrence Germano former associate director and executive director of Council 82 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was indicted on Jun. 5 on federal charges of defrauding union members through a computer-consulting scam in 1993-94. The 14-count indictment included Germano’s two brothers-in-law. This same AFSCME council had four bosses ousted in 1995 for misusing about $450,000 of union funds for out-of-state trips and visits to strip bars. [Albany Times Union 06/06/98]
VP Consorting with AFSCME Boss Implicated in Teamsters Scandal
Vice-President Albert Gore, Jr. had an “unusual” close-door meeting on Jun. 5 with 3 union bosses including AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney and AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee to discuss opposition to the proposed Freedom From Government Competition Act. McEntee has been implicated in the Teamsters money-laundering scandal. According U.S. District Court records, McEntee raised $20,000 for Ron Carey’s reelection campaign which allegedly violated … Read More ➡
L.A. Police arrested 37 members of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union, many disguised in caps and gowns, for unruly demonstrations during the University of Southern California’s commencement. The demonstration was part of an on-going strike against USC. USC spokesman James Elmendorf said, “it’s extremely tragic that this group would destroy, or attempt to destroy, one of the most significant days in the lives of the students and their families.” [City News Service 05/08/98]
Herman’s Independent Council Named
Announced May 26, Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman will be investigated by Independent Counsel Ralph I. Lancaster, Jr. for an alleged swap scheme that traded campaign contributions to the DNC for favors to a business in which she had a financial interest during her time on the White House staff. Herman is the 7th top Clinton administration official to be investigated by an independent counsel over suspected criminal activity. [Washington … Read More ➡
Due to the campaign money-laundering scandal which funneled at least $538,100 into the disgraced Carey reelection campaign, Teamsters will vote this fall for a new president. On Jun. 3, U.S. District Judge David Edelstein set Oct. 14 as the date for the mail-in ballots to be tallied. The Court has already disqualified Carey from the rerun. Likely candidates for president are James P. Hoffa, Carey’s 1996 opponent, and Tom Leedham who has the support of the influential liberal-activist group, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, as well as many other Carey supporters.
Related news: Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), chairman of the House committee looking into Teamsters corruption, told the Detroit News on Jun. 9, “I don’t want the election to go forward with the conditions that exist today. I just don’t know how you can run an honest election in this environment.” His concerns are a reminder of the $20 million … Read More ➡
Business Week [06/15/98] reported that top DNC/Clinton-Gore fundraiser Terrence McAuliffe’s conversations with 2 Democratic party staffers about a possible swap scheme with the Teamsters during the 1996 election are now “the focus of a federal grand jury in Manhattan that is investigating whether Democratic fundraisers conspired to find donors for Carey’s campaign in hopes of getting back hefty union contributions.”
Business Week also said sources “close to the investigation said the U.S. Attorney is interested in whether [an AFL-CIO] credit-card deal played a role in the swap schemes.” McAuliffe and Carey campaign consultant Martin Davis, who plead guilty to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements to the court-appointed Teamsters election officer, were both under contract to “lobby the AFL-CIO Executive Council to switch its union credit card program” to Household International bank.
In a Jun. 3 ruling, Judge Edelstein rejected a Carey appeal of his disqualification … Read More ➡