Frustrated by over 135 illegal union actions that have continually idled West Coast ports since 1996, the Pacific Maritime Assn. is seeking a court order to prevent dockworkers from violating contract provisions prohibiting strikes and slowdowns. PMA filed suit Sep. 11 in U.S. Dist. Court in L.A. to halt an alarming trend of improper walkouts, demonstrations and stoppages that have cost shippers and consumers tens of millions of dollars.
“Illegal slowdowns, gimmicks and games have become daily fare for the [Int’l] Longshore & Warehouse Union,” the suit states. “[M]illions of dollars are lost each week by the ILWU’s contemptuous behavior.” Named defendants include ILWU, Locals 13 in L.A. and Local 63 in Long Beach. The suit doesn’t seek financial damages. Instead, PMA attorneys want a permanent injunction to force ILWU to comply with existing contracts. The suit cites seven major work stoppages that were deemed illegal by arbitration authorities.
The … Read More ➡
From Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel’s Sep. 10 editorial: “Unionized longshoremen are making a serious and disruptive mistake by trying to block criminal background checks at Port Everglades. Local 1526 of [ILWU] had ample time to protest specifics of the security measure before it was agreed on, and evidently said during earlier discussions it wouldn’t oppose the checks. Now, late in the process, the union is filing a federal lawsuit. The unacceptable result could well be to enhance and prolong the flow of illegal drugs through the port and into Florida’s streets.
This issue is about cocaine, heroin and marijuana in large quantities being smuggled through the Broward County port. For years, the port has been a sieve and therefore a favorite destination of drug smugglers who bring narcotics here from Colombia, usually with stops in the Caribbean.
One reason for the easy path through Port Everglades has been the disturbing number … Read More ➡
A 1973 Supreme Court decision effectively made vandalism, assault and even murder by union officials exempt from federal anti-extortion law, and “the result has been an epidemic of union-related violence,” according to a new study from the Cato Institute (www.cato.org). In “Freedom from Union Violence,” author David Kendrick traces the history of labor law and union violence during the 20th century, beginning with the notorious case of a former Idaho governor murdered in 1905 by union mine workers who felt he had betrayed them by calling in federal troops during a strike.
In 1946 Congress passed the Hobbs Act, aimed at a wide spectrum of union violence. Among other things, it defined criminal extortion as “the obtaining of property . . . by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence or fear [emphasis added].” In using the word “wrongful,” Kendrick says, “Congress left a narrow opening through which the … Read More ➡
Food service workers at the Cleveland Indian’s Jacob’s Field rejected union representation Sep. 11, handing the local union bosses a high-profile defeat. The voting ended just minutes before the start of the Indians’s game and a mere 37% of Cleveland Sportservice employees voted to join Local 10 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. Sandy Golden, a commissary worker, said, “I don’t have any complaints about the way things are now. I feel my wages are fair, and I’m treated respectfully.” Historically, HERE is one of America’s most corrupt unions, and Cleveland has been the home of some of the most corrupt locals in America. [Plain Dealer 9/12/98]… Read More ➡
Johnie M. Williams, former secretary-treasurer of the Am. Fed’n of Gov’t Employees Local 1199 was arrested Aug. 27 on charges that he embezzled over $72,000 from AFGE. A federal grand jury in Nev. indicted him on 162 counts of embezzlement from AFGE’s bank accounts and 3 counts of filing false financial reports with the Labor Dep’t. The 1993-96 scheme entailed checks written to cash, Williams and personal creditors. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 8/29/98]
Md. Boss Pleads Guilty to Cover Up
John Mosley, former treasurer of AFGE Local 29 in Clinton, Md., pled guilty Aug. 24 to making false statements to the government to cover up his personal use of union funds. He controlled union finances, conducted all business in cash and maintained virtually no records from 1988 to 1996. He took around $40,000 from union coffers for his own use. Mosley faces 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. … Read More ➡
Two former union bosses embezzled more than $74,000 from Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Local 1-5476 in Lawndale, Cal. and were incarcerated Sep. 3 after pleading guilty Aug. 24. Former int’l rep. Kevin Geddes and secretary-treasurer Robert Redmerski filed false “lost time” claims for reimbursement. According to the Labor Dep’t, the scheme induced local stewards to file false claims and turn over union reimbursements to Geddes, and Redmerski knowingly approved and paid the false claims. Geddes was sentenced to 3 months in prison, 3 months in a halfway house and 3 years probation and was ordered to obtain substance abuse and psychiatric treatment. Redmerski was sentenced to 6 months in a halfway house and 3 years probation. Fines and restitution of union members’ lost funds were waived in exchange the for guilty pleas, as were conspiracy and extortion charges. [BNA 9/4/98]
Oregon Boss Embezzled $88K
Association of Western Pulp … Read More ➡
Before U.S. West won a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America on Aug. 30, the 2-week strike was marred by union violence. On Aug. 21 U.S. District Judge Stephen L. Henriod issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting CWA from threatening and intimidating people entering or leaving U.S. West buildings. The order came after the company submitted a half dozen affidavits of threats and intimidation:
- A contractor was approached at his motel by 3 people, including one who threatened to “take you out if I see you working.” The contractor said the person making the threat had a gun. Police have charged a CWA member with public intoxication and making threats with a gun in the incident.
- Militants at a rally blocked the entrance to a company parking lot.
- A company manager working to maintain service during the strike was struck in the head with a rock. His car
… Read More ➡
Asserting rising disgust with their union, nearly 100 KCAL-TV employees in L.A. have decided they no longer want to be represented by the Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers due in part to union corruption. Members petitioned the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. Aug. 5 requesting Local 45 be removed. The petition was withdrawn, but they are still looking for alternatives. In a complaint letter to Local 45 bosses, members stated their motivation includes “the financial mismanagement of our money” and the strike fund “which we’ve paid into for years, is now non-existent, and no one from IBEW has satisfactorily answered our questions as to where the money has gone.” The corruption reference is to James E. Jackson (see: UCU 1.6 8/24/98), Local 45 business manger, who was recently indicted for allegedly embezzling over $63,000. [Daily Variety 8/25/98]
45 Days & $21K for N.Y. Boss
James T. Russo was sentenced Sept. … Read More ➡
The Am. Fed’n of State, County & Municipal Employees held its 1998 national convention in Honolulu. Aug. 24-28, and Newsday ran an excellent article demonstrating its scandalous and costly behavior. The article focused only on AFSCME locals in N.Y., so the insights gained here can be multiplied at least 50 fold.
“Undeterred by subpoenas issued in a grand-jury investigation of union spending, hundreds of officials of the city’s largest municipal union are in Hawaii…for a conference expected to cost its members $2 million to $3 million.” AFSCME District Council 37 sent nearly 800 union officials; all were staying at the Sheraton Waikiki for “$185 daily, payable by the union.” Airfare and meals will be reimbursed as well. “The ‘Aloha AFSCME’ agenda include[d] a speech…by Vice President Al Gore [and] sightseeing tours…”
In comical defense, District Council 37’s executive director, Stanley Hill told Newsday, “This is not a junket. … Read More ➡
In a clear defeat for union bosses, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sep. 1 that Ohio may constitutionally ban public employers from administering automatic payroll deductions for political purposes. Union bosses challenged the 1995 campaign finance statute which included a ban on payroll “checkoffs.” The decision reversed a lower court ruling that the ban violated the unions’ free speech and free association rights under the First Amendment. Writing for the court, Judge Danny J. Boggs said that even the unions conceded that they had no affirmative right to wage checkoffs to support political causes. “The wage checkoff ban simply does not impinge in a constitutionally significant manner on any First Amendment rights,” Boggs wrote. The “privilege” of checkoffs was not being denied to harm or condition constitutional rights, he explained. Moreover, Ohio had an interest in “removing partisan politics from places of public employment.” [BNA 9/2/98]… Read More ➡