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 ➡

UAW Settles Racial Harassment Suit for $75K

St. Louis United Auto Workers Local 25 agreed on Jul. 16 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $75,000. The suit contended that the UAW failed to stop “severe and pervasive” harassment of 3 black General Motors supervisors by now-former union boss Robert Wilson in the period 1992-94. The EEOC’s statement called it a “landmark case” and said it was “the first to hold that a federal employment discrimination statute prohibits unions from allowing their officers to racially or sexually harass company managers.” [BNA Daily Labor Report 07/21/98]

Election Fraud Case Stays Secret
A KY judge rejected prosecutors’ bid on Jul. 13 to release secret grand-jury testimony about Gov. Paul Patton’s (D) 1995 campaign, the AFL-CIO and other union groups’ alleged effort to circumvent the spending limit candidates adopt in return for taxpayer financing under an ill-designed law limiting campaign contributions and free speech. … 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 ➡

Boss Gets 1 Year for Embezzlement

On Jul. 20, the U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Robert Kellas, former-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 843 in Bellingham, WA, to a year and a day in prison and ordered him to pay $78,248 in restitution on top of $70,000 already paid. He will also serve 3 years of supervised release after facing a maximum of 5 years in prison. On Apr. 23, Kellas pled guilty to embezzling between $70,000 and $120,000 from Local 843 and the ATU Legislative Council of Washington State. He was president of Local 843 from 1990-97 and secretary-treasurer of the Legislative Council from 1994-97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Kellas’ scheme was simply writing checks to himself from the 2 unions. [Seattle Times 04/24/98 & 07/21/98]

Union Corruption Studies Available
The Public Service Research Council just published 2 timely studies: “Fraud Prevalent in Prevailing Wage Surveys” & “The Case Against Public Sector … Read More ➡

Power Company Sues Union

A 2-year fight between Public Service Company of OK and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1002 is headed to court. PSO filed a complaint on Jun. 30, in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, stating that IBEW has not kept its end of a collective bargaining agreement. The suit claims IBEW, through a union manual called “The Inside Game,” has been encouraging union workers to decrease productivity, flooding employer phone lines and avoiding work when on call. PSO officials said union workers’ use of strategies contained in “The Inside Game” is a breach of the current agreement and “has caused PSO to incur substantial monetary damages.” [Tulsa World 07/01/98]

SEIU Gravediggers on Strike
Gravediggers & groundskeepers of Service Employees International Union Local 74 & 365 in NY have been in involved in a violent strike since Apr. The estimated 340 strikers walk picket lines demanding increased benefits and 18 … Read More ➡

SEIU Sues Cleveland

From a Crain’s Cleveland Business editorial [07/06/98]: “It’s hard to fathom why, after all the months of legal wrangling over the Cleveland mayor taking control of the city’s public schools, why the local NAACP chapter and a union would again file suit to block the move. Last week, lawyers for the NAACP and for the Service Employees International Union filed suit in federal court seeking to delay a law that allows Mayor White to appoint a 9-member school board and a chief executive to run the long-troubled school system. Their logic, apparently, is that since U.S. District Judge George White’s Mar. 6 ruling that such a move is constitutional is being appealed, then the takeover by the mayor should be delayed during the appeals process. I hope the judge denies the request. There has been more than enough foot dragging on this issue, and much of it seems to come … Read More ➡

UFCW Locals Lack Democracy

In a disturbing display of old-guard tactics, 2 United Food & Commercial Workers locals “elected” their leadership in unopposed elections. According to their media release, on Jul. 1, UFCW Local 1776 in Central Pennsylvania “reelected” President Wendell W. Young for the 17th consecutive time. He and his slate had no opposition and were elected by acclamation. In West Berlin, NJ, a slate of officers including UFCW Local 1360 President Clay Brown were also reelected by acclamation on Jul. 2. Their media release proudly reported: “In stark contrast to a bitterly [yet democratically] contended election three years ago,… no nominations except for the current leadership team were received.”

UPS, The Sequel?
On Jul. 9, Teamsters bosses from 39 locals representing 3,650 members announced that they had unanimously authorized a nationwide strike that would attempt to shut down 43 of Overnite Transportation Company’s 166 depots. Teamsters have been attempting to organize Overnite’s … Read More ➡

Rep. Fawell Probes Rank-and-File’s Troubles

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations held the second in a series of hearings Jun. 25 that could lead to reform of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. According to Rep. Harris W. Fawell (R-IL), the purpose is to explore concerns brought to the panel’s attention by rank-and-file union members regarding “problems they are having in retaining a full, equal and democratic voice in their union affairs.” This hearing focused on the restructuring program implemented in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters following Douglas McCarron’s election as president in 1995. McCarron imposed a program to merge local unions and district councils into regional councils. Now local union members no longer elect their local officials. Instead, local union officials are appointed by regional council officials who have been elected by delegates. McCarron placed the union’s district council in NY in trusteeship in Jun. 1996. Frederick DeVine, … Read More ➡

New York Unions Riot

An estimated 40,000 protesters from the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, including Teamsters, Laborers, Electrical Workers and others, strangled the morning rush-hour on Jun. 30 with a militant rally and march through midtown Manhattan.

Union violence was widespread. Officially, 21 people were injured. The violence included: an attempt to turn over a parked van; punching a police horse; bottle-throwing; climbing on cars, vans and street lights; frequent bouts
of shoving and scuffling. Police, in riot gear, were forced to used nightsticks to control the unions and pepper spray before handcuffing some of the 33 union extremists that were arrested. Traffic came to a standstill and many businesses opened late due to the union fracas. It’s alleged that a larger melee is planned.

Why the uproar? The unions were upset over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarding a project to a non-union contractor who happened to be the … Read More ➡

Rerun Election Funding Still Uncertain

On Jul. 6, U.S. District Judge David N. Edelstein gave U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White until Jul. 15 to attempt to secure the estimated $8.6 million for a government-supervised, Teamsters rerun election. On Jul. 1, White told Edelstein that the government needed more time to try to end the impasse the rerun funding. White also suggested that, if sufficient funds are not found, the Court should consider the possibility of either appointing a special master to supervise the balloting or ordering the Teamsters to conduct the rerun on its own without government supervision.

The impasse is due to an U.S. Appeals Court ruling forcing taxpayers to pay for the rerun. Congress passed legislation barring taxpayer funding of the rerun because nearly $20 million was wasted on the 1996 election due to the Ron Carey campaign’s scandals, and Congress, led by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), is unconvinced that safeguards are in … Read More ➡