Attorney Challenges Feinstein’s Appointment

The appointment of former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein as an associate general counsel, followed immediately by his appointment as acting general counsel, has raised issues of evasion of law. In documents filed Jul. 21 with the NLRB, attorney Robert W. Tollen charged that the rapid appointment was an unlawful maneuver to keep Feinstein in office. Tollen is defending Contractors’ Labor Pool, a construction company, against unfair labor practice charges brought by the Int’l. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Denver. Feinstein issued a complaint, but the company contends he had no authority because he was unlawfully appointed acting general counsel.

During his 4-year term that expired on Mar. 2, Feinstein tripled the use of injunctions against employers and took positions generally seen as advancing the agenda of big labor. On Mar. 5, Feinstein asked the White House not to renominate him because he didn’t want protracted fight. Two days earlier, … Read More ➡

NLRB Loses Attack on 1st Amendment

Excerpts from the Detroit News’ Aug. 4 editorial: “The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed a stinging rebuke to the National Labor Relations Board for ignoring the First Amendment rights of the Midland Daily News . The federal appellate court…upheld a Detroit federal district court’s ruling quashing a subpoena to the mid- Michigan daily newspaper in the service of a speculative union complaint. The labor agency, which is supposed to be an impartial arbiter between unions and employers, had placed its subpoena power at the service of a union even when there was no definitive showing of a labor violation. In effect, it had turned itself into an agent of the union — and in so doing attempted to trample the First Amendment rights of the newspaper.

Two years ago, the Midland Daily News ran some anonymous ads seeking applications from electricians, with resumes to be sent … Read More ➡

Memphis AFSCME at War With Itself Over Counter Corruption Charges

Memphis’ American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 1733 bosses are locked in a bitter dispute over Executive Director Dorothy Crook. At Jul. 31 press conference, the Local Vice-President Johnny Dansberry said, “Members of the executive board…had received numerous complaints from members about [Crook’s] competency and ability to function as executive director… Questions were also raised about financial irregularities appearing in the books of the Local 1733.” The executive board voted in May to fire Crook.

Crook filed a grievance against the board contending she has been denied due process. Jeff A. Crow, Jr., hired by AFSCME to litigate the Crook case, said a grievance hearing likely will be scheduled this month. A court case pending in Shelby County Chancery Court is on hold pending the outcome of the union’s grievance procedure. Alfred Dowdy, a board member supporting Crook, filed the lawsuit last month against Local 1733 President … Read More ➡

Convoluted Corruption War Rages in Texas

A convoluted corruption case revolving around American Federation of Government Employees offical Joe Palazzolo may have entered its final stage on Jul. 27 at a Federal Labor Relations Authority hearing in Forth Worth, TX to determine if Palazzolo is eligible to continue holding his 2 union jobs, which he holds simultaneously, representing General Services Administration employees in an 11-state region. The probe has the attention of federal investigators in Dallas, Denver and Washington, as well as top AFGE union bosses. A decision is expected in Sept.

The case which has seen Palazzolo removed from and subsequently returned to office earlier this year began in Mar. 1997. A union mailbox has been seized; a union office has been locked-out; and several counter lawsuits have been filed — 2 by Palazzolo. Palazzolo has been forced into an extended leave from his GSA job and has been threatened with disciplinary action from GSA … Read More ➡

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 ➡

Probe of CA Teachers Association Concludes

San Bernardino Co., CA District Attorney’s Office’s investigation into embezzlement schemes involving local teachers unions concluded on Jul. 8, when San Bernardino Co. Superior Court sentenced Nancy Hooper to 180 days of electronic surveillance. Hooper had pled guilty to 8 counts of grand theft embezzlement and 1 count of receiving stolen property. Hooper stole more than $36,000 from the Fontana Teachers Association’s checking account for her personal use. The former Fontana City Councilwoman was also ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution, which is on top of $22,000 already paid. She will also pay the $400 monthly surveillance cost.

This comes less than a month after a Rialto, CA teachers union official was sentenced to 28 months in prison for embezzling about $110,000 from the Rialto Educators Association and Citrus Belt UniServ which oversees several area teachers unions including Fontana Teachers Association. Mary Jane Bronson pleaded guilty to 2 counts of … Read More ➡

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 ➡