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 ➡

UFCW’s Undemocratic Convention

While the Talarico scandal exploded, UFCW held its int’l. convention in Chicago. UFCW dissidents, using the disgraced former Secretary-Treasurer Talarico as a rallying point, were barred from the convention. At a Jul. 30 press conference, UFCW President Douglas H. Dority was asked about why dissident leader Louis Anderson was barred; Dority responded, “He has no right at this convention. When he writes stuff that undermines our organizing campaign, he has no right to be at this convention.”

According to dissidents, two-thirds of the nearly 2,000 delegates and alternates at the convention are either local union bosses or paid staff who will not oppose the bosses to whom they owe their jobs. Thus, incumbent officers were reelected Jul. 28, including Dority, Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Hansen and 49 vice presidents. All were unopposed and elected by acclamation. A potential challenge to Dority from Canton, OH Local 17A President Gary Feiock was smashed when … Read More ➡

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 ➡

Money-Laundering Scandal Briefs

  • Aug. 4: U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that Congress allowed the Justice Department to spend $4 million of the $8.4 million estimated cost on the rerun election. [BNA 08/05/98]
  • Aug. 3: Teamsters presidential candidate and Carey supporter, Tom Leedham accused Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) of using his Congressional investigation into the Teamsters scandal to aid rival candidate James P. Hoffa. Hoekstra’s spokesman said it was “ridiculous.” [BNA 08/04/98]
  • Jul. 27: Ron Carey, who was elected in 1991 with a motto “no corruption, no excuses, no exceptions,” was permanently expelled from the union almost a year after revelations of his 1996 campaign’s schemes that funneled over $538,000. The court-appointed Independent Review Board also expelled disgraced Teamsters political director William W. Hamilton who has been indicted for his role in the scandal. [Wash. Times 07/28/98]
  • Jul. 24: Teamsters Vice President Aaron Belk’s
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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 ➡