Office Employee of Dallas-Area Plumbers Local Indicted for Theft

On May 17, Claudia Beltran, former office assistant for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 100, was indicted in Kaufman County, Texas court for misapplication of fiduciary property in the sum of between $2,500 and $30,000. The union is based in nearby Garland (Dallas County). The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Operating Engineers Secretary in Tennessee Sentenced for Embezzlement

On May 17, Caroline Phelps, former office secretary of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 369, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to three years of probation for embezzling funds from the Cordova (Shelby County) union. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $36,823 plus a $100 special assessment. Phelps had pleaded guilty in February. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Florida NSO Treasurer Indicted for Embezzlement

On May 7, Amy Barber (Rodman), former treasurer for the Florida state affiliate of the National Staff Organization, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on one count of embezzling funds of an unspecified sum from the union and one count of filing a false financial report to cover up the theft. The NSO represents employees of various unions. The charges follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Kansas City-Area Boilermakers Local Boss Arrested in Knife Attack

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, as Union Corruption Update has noted in the past, is a union that spends lavish sums on salaries and benefits for its top officials. One of its affiliates is earning disrepute of a different sort. Early last month, Scot Whitney Albertson, business manager for the Kansas City, Mo.-based Boilermakers Local 83, was arrested in Council Bluffs, Iowa for causing bodily injury in connection with his alleged stabbing of two men. Neither injury was considered life-threatening. No word is yet available on whether the attack was over union business. Union international headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas refused to comment on the matter, claiming it did not have sufficient facts. So let us look at some material facts.

According to court records, just after midnight on May 5, Council Bluffs police were called to a crime scene near Albertson’s residence. Upon arrival, two injured men told … Read More ➡

Michigan Lawmaker Charged with Seeking Bribe from Carpenters Officials

Larry Inman’s vote apparently was for sale. But what does that say about who was paying? On May 15, Inman, a three-term Republican in the Michigan House of Representatives, was indicted in Grand Rapids federal court for attempted extortion, solicitation of a bribe, and lying to the FBI related to his seeking cash payments from a Carpenters union affiliate in exchange for a favorable vote on a prevailing wage bill. He is declaring his innocence, but has an uphill climb. House Speaker Lee Chatfield, also a Republican, wants him to resign. And Mike Jackson, executive secretary for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, is glad Inman “is being brought to justice.” Yet the details are far from completely known. Inman pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on May 28. And the union may have ulterior motives.

Organized labor long has supported the federal Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 and … Read More ➡

Washington State SEIU Affiliate Settles Suit Over Forged Signature

Service Employees International Union Local 775, it seems, would do anything for a buck, including collecting dues from a former member. It’s now learned its limitations. On March 29, the Seattle-based union reached an out-of-court agreement with a Spokane home caregiver, Cindy Ochoa, following its admission that one of its canvassers had forged her signature on a membership card. Ochoa, with the help of a nonprofit legal group, the Freedom Foundation, had filed a lawsuit in federal court in October alleging the union had violated her First Amendment rights, unlawfully withheld part of her wages, and caused emotional distress. Local 775 agreed to pay $15,000 in damages to her and $13,000 to the foundation to cover legal fees, plus send her a written apology.

SEIU Local 775 represents more than 45,000 long-term health care providers in Washington State and Montana, many of them operating out of their homes on behalf … Read More ➡

TCU Treasurer in Ohio Charged with Embezzlement

On or a little before May 9, Bud Sherwood, former secretary-treasurer of Transportation Communications Union Lodge 6546, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio with embezzling about $10,800 in funds from the Bellevue (near Sandusky)-based union, which represents railroad and other transportation employees. The alleged offenses occurred during February 2014-November 2016. TCU is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists. The action follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Northern Virginia Union Official Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Kickbacks

This March, Union Corruption Update made mention of an unnamed union official who enabled a convicted Maryland contractor, Howard Janoske, to siphon funds from his unnamed union for his own personal use. At least the official now has a name, and a criminal conviction to go along with it. On May 16, Michael Carney, a former facilities and real estate manager for the Herndon, Va.-based union, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, theft and embezzlement of funds over a three-year period. Carney’s conviction, like that of Janoske, follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Michael Carney, now 63, a resident of Ashburn, Va., who handled physical plant issues for the union, also saw his job as an opportunity to score some illegal money. … Read More ➡

Court Rejects Employer Challenge to ‘Ambush Election’ Rule, Rewards Unions

The Obama-era National Labor Relations Board, with its built-in pro-union majority, gave organized labor plenty of organizing and bargaining advantages, but none perhaps as far-reaching as the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule. Now an appeals court has upheld it. On April 19, a three-judge panel for the District of Columbia federal circuit court, in UPS Ground Freight Inc. v. NLRB, rejected an employer challenge to the rule, which, when put in place in April 2015, dramatically shortened the time available for employers to convey to employees their objections to potential union representation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that the board’s directive to UPS to bargain with a Teamsters local lay outside the scope of its authority and that the rule “values speed at all costs.” And they were right.

Unions, like all organizations, seek to maximize membership. And that requires on some level persuading workers at nonunion sites to see the … Read More ➡

Former ILWU Official in Hawaii Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft, Tax Fraud

It wasn’t exactly the classiest behavior. On March 28, Nathan Lum, former director of the Longshore Division of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to one count each of aggravated identity theft and income tax evasion. The offenses, unrelated to operations of the Honolulu-based union, had a lot to do with his misuse of his late father’s stream of income. The guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Sentencing is scheduled for July.

Court records show that Lum, now 61, a powerful, well-paid boss of the more than 1,000-member ILWU Local 142, cashed Social Security checks made out to his father, who died in June 2013, and diverted the money to his own use. In addition, he failed to file federal income tax returns for … Read More ➡