Illinois Local Loses Appeal of Unfair Labor Practice Complaint

Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers Local 386 committed an unfair labor practice by distributing handbills that resulted in a secondary boycott at a construction site according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dist. of Columbia Circuit decision on Jul. 12.

Even though the handbill specifically stated that the union did not intend to encourage a work stoppage made little difference, the court said, citing substantial evidence in support of the inference that the union sought to induce the neutral employees to walk off the Warshawsky & Co. job site. Judge Laurence H. Silberman criticized the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision, which the Nat. Labor Relations Board adopted, for relying too heavily on the First Amendment in concluding that the union didn’t induce or encourage the employees to engage in a secondary strike.

According to the decision, Warshawsky & Co., which sells automobile parts and … Read More ➡

New Jersey Local Loses Appeal of Sexual Harassment Case

The N.J. Superior Court has ordered a new trial in a suit brought by three female construction workers who claimed they were sexually harassed by members of a rival union picketing their worksite. Reversing judgment for the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 on the women’s state law claims, the state’s appeals court held that they should not have been required by the trial court to prove that the harassment was the proximate cause of an injury to them.

In their 1990 suit against Local 825 and two of its members, the three women, George Harms Construction Co. employees and United Steelworkers of Am. members, claimed they were sexually harassed by IUOE members each day as they entered and left their worksite in Morristown, N.J. Local 825 picketed the highway construction project over an 18-month period because of a dispute over a collective bargaining agreement.

In Apr. 1997, after … Read More ➡

New York “Consultant” Paid $4,000 a Week

Bruce Gelbard, a N.Y.C. Board of Education official ousted in 1996, landed on the payroll of an AFSCME Dist. Council 37 Local 372 earning $24,000 in six weeks. Gelbard was booted by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Jul. 1996 for trying to block reforms. Officials at DC37 recently confirmed that Gelbard collected $4,000 a week for six weeks starting Oct. 31, 1996, as a “consultant” to Local 372. But no one can say what he did to earn the fee.  The person allegedly responsible for hiring Gelbard was Local 372’s ex-boss Charles Hughes who was indicted in May 1999 for embezzling $2.7 million from the union. [N.Y. Post 6/23/99]

Turnout 10% in Corrupt New York Local 
AFSCME lobbyist Veronica Montgomery-Costa won 1,123 votes Jun. 25 for president of AFSCME Local 372. The local was involved in the recent corruption wave that has indicted 27 DC37 bosses. Alisa Rogosin, an ally of … Read More ➡

Corrupt Ex-New York Boss’ Pension Cut

The Laundry & Dry Cleaners Union Local 168-39 in Buffalo recently cut the $30,000 pension paid to ex-boss Anna May Ervolino, who with her husband, Frank Ervolino, is accused by the federal monitor of the Hotel Employee & Restaurant Employee Int’l Union of over-paying herself in a variety of jobs at two other Buffalo unions. LDCU boss Edward Skibinski said that the union’s pension fund cut its payment by about $20,000 to Ervolino.

Until Oct. 1996, Ervolino was first vice-president of Local 168-39 and a trustee of its pension and health funds. In a letter to Ervolino, the pension fund puts the amount of overpayments to her at $87,000 and seeks immediate repayment. Failing that, the fund will reduce payments to $10,000 a year, from $30,000.

In Jan. 1999, federal monitor Kurt W. Muellenberg said the Ervolinos embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from two other unions under their control, … Read More ➡

Louisiana Union Sued for Harassment

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has filed state and federal suits against HERE saying the union has engaged in a pattern of intimidation intended to coerce the Center into providing space where food service employees can eat. Center officials alleged HERE had crossed the line into unlawful behavior by threatening the Center’s customers and members of the board that governs the Center. Among other actions, Center officials assert HERE has encouraged convention organizers not to hold conventions in New Orleans and in some cases has threatened violence against convention organizers. Center officials have affidavits signed by witnesses attesting to the threats.

The Center asked the courts to order the union to quit contacting convention organizers and Center officials and employees. “We’d just like them to stop, that’s all,” said Ralph Brennan, a New Orleans restaurateur who is also president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans … Read More ➡

McManus on New York’s Corrupt DC37

Excerpts from Bob McManus column in Jun. 21 N.Y. Post:

“Once upon a time, and not all that long ago, New York was proudly and unambiguously union country. No more. As recently as 1983, more than 31% of the statewide private-sector workforce was organized – and all that it took to stir panic among New York City pols was a baleful glance from a municipal union boss. Last year, a scant 15.4 percent of New York’s private-sector workers carried union cards – and fewer than that if publicly supported health-care unions are factored out of the equation.

And as for the public-sector unions – well, the less said the better. Scarcely a week goes by without another bunch of New York City labor bigs being hauled off in handcuffs. And the investigation continues.
 Last week, Manhattan DA Bob Morgenthau indicted Al Diop and Marty Lubin of District Council 37 for … Read More ➡

Buffalo Pension Fund in Trouble

The pension fund of United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 9 in Cheektowaga, N.Y., faces a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall and is predicted to go broke in nine years. Local 9 boss and head of the Buffalo Carpenters Pension Fund, Thomas W. Burke alleged there was no wrongdoing, but the fund hired the law firm Levy, Ratner & Behroozi to investigate the debacle. The fund has $25.7 million in assets and owes $58 million to retirees. The fund expenses outpaced its income by $1.7 million a year. [Buffalo News 6/21/99]… Read More ➡

Florida NEA Appeals Pro-Work Ruling

The Florida Teaching Profession-Nat. Education Ass’n has appealed a recent ruling by the Fla. Elections Commission that, if upheld, could have far-reaching implications in the way labor unions collect political contributions. The Commission ruled that teacher unions are breaking the law when they give employees forms at work to make campaign donations.

FTP-NEA has halted its statewide practice of asking new members, while at work, to make donations to
political accounts. Campaign solicitations are sent instead to employees at their homes. The union has not refrained from collecting political funds through payroll deductions, which many contend is illegal under the ruling.

Behind the policy is a Commission decision charging the Marion County Education Ass’n, an affiliate of the NEA, with violating a state law designed to avoid corruption. The law, similar to statutes in other states, bans the solicitation of campaign funds in schools and other government offices. The nine-member … Read More ➡

Indiana Dems Flip Out over Endorsement

The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, angered that the Marion County Democratic Party has accused it of
corruption and cronyism, is demanding an apology. A defiant party chairman Steve Laudig has refused to apologize. And, no apology, means no recommendations of endorsements for Democratic City-County Council candidates says FOP boss Dave Young. The brouhaha began when FOP voted to endorse Republican Sue Anne Gilroy for mayor over Democrat Bart Peterson.

Democrats immediately raised questions about how the vote was conducted. The decision was by a voice vote at a firefighters’ union hall rather than at their own lodge, with at least some members mistakenly told the vote would be taken over three hours. The Democrats issued a media release sent by e-mail by Laudig on Jun. 14: “Thirty years of cronyism, corruption and incompetence were underlined by the questionable FOP endorsement of the Republican mayoral candidate,” Laudig wrote. The release … Read More ➡

Questionable Boss wins spot in New York Run-Off

Members of N.Y.’s Uniformed Firefighters Ass’n did not reelect Kevin Gallagher president Jun. 11, but he did get a plurality of the votes, forcing a run-off. Gallagher received 2,978 votes and will face ex-boss John Aragona, who won 2,211 votes. Sources familiar with the union, which has had five presidents in the 1990s, said the strong showing by Aragona was surprising, given his questionable past. The N.Y. Fire Commissioner Tom Von Essen, said in 1994 while he was union president that Aragona, then treasurer, was responsible for hiring a bookkeeper who was later indicted for embezzling at least $375,000 from the union. [Newsday 6/19/99]… Read More ➡