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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Strike-Happy CWA in 35 States?

If the Communications Workers of America has its way, it may disconnect America in Aug. as strikes near at 3 regional telephone giants. On Aug. 3, CWA members authorized strikes at BellSouth and US West, and CWA’s board authorized a strike against Bell Atlantic. CWA President Morton Bahr smugly proclaimed, “We have serious problems, much negotiating to do and very little time to go.” Contracts expire at Bell Atlantic and BellSouth on Aug. 8 and US West on Aug. 15. If CWA doesn’t compromise: 73,000 workers at Bell Atlantic in DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV & DC; 48,000 at BellSouth in AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC & TN; and 36,000 at US West in AZ, CO, ID, IA, MN, MT, NE, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WA & WY will be on strike.

Boss Doctors Union’s Books
Louis DiFiore, the … Read More ➡

Top Cranston Officials’ Trial Set

On Aug. 4, nine months after two union members of the National Association of Government Employees Local 198 in Rhode Island were indicted on racketeering and bribery charges and suspended from Cranston city jobs, City Treasurer Kathleen DeLuca and her husband, Raymond, director of the city’s computer services had their criminal trial date set for Nov. 16. According to the Attorney General, the DeLucas are accused of accepting $188,771 in kickbacks in return for securing about $564,000 in city computer contracts for a company. The DeLuca case was another black eye for Mayor Michael A. Traficante’s administration that has been rocked by the kickback-and-bribery convictions of a Public Works Director and a Parks and Recreation Director. Traficante, who is not seeking reelection this year after 14 years in office, pleaded guilty himself in 1994 to nine campaign-finance misdemeanors. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 08/04/98 & 08/05/98]

Teamsters Cited for Illegal Dues CollectionRead More ➡

Militants Overrun University of Wisconsin Bookstore

On Jul. 31, about 150 militant Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees members raided the University of Wisconsin Bookstore claiming the clothing in the store was produced in “sweatshops.” UNITE protesters ripped open the doors and began marching into the store, chanting and shaking cans filled with pieces of metal as employees and patrons watched with “amazement and dismay.” At each level of the store, a contingent peeled off to march around that floor while the bosses continued to the administrative offices. Richard Metcalf, boss of the Midwest Regional UNITE demanded to see “someone in authority.” When denied, UNITE sat down in the halls and began singing a union anthem ”We Will Not Be Moved,” while on the floors below their followers continued to march and chant. As the Madison Police Department moved into positions around the store, UNITE marched out and briefly terrorized a second store up the … Read More ➡

SEIU Fails to Disclose Lobbying

San Francisco unions have never disclosed their lobbying of city officials despite a 10-year-old law aimed at eliminating back-room deal-making. SF’s Ethics Commission is now attempting to force compliance by the unions, particularly Service Employees International Union which is SF’s largest union and has led the lobbying effort this year on hotly-contested health care legislation. The unions face thousands of dollars in penalties if they are found to have knowingly not complied with the ordinance. Union bosses contend they were unaware the measure applied to them. They also argue it is wrong to lump them in with hired-gun lobbyists for corporate interests. And they have said the unions will resist city efforts to force them to make disclosures under the lobbying ordinance.

But that has not sat well with other lobbyists and elected officials. “Since I took office in 1993, the unions have been the strongest lobbying force and the … Read More ➡

Massachusetts Local Stoops “Pretty Low” in Negotiations

Local 254 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents Massachusetts probation officers, has told its members to stop volunteering for community-based probation plans because a contract dispute with the state court system. The following excerpts of a Jul. 25 Boston Herald editorial speaks for itself:

“As a negotiating tactic, this is pretty low. Local 254 of [SEIU], this week directed its members not to work after regular office hours. This could cripple the crucial ‘Night Light’ program in Boston, under which probation officers check up on their charges with visits to their homes and haunts at night, not to mention other important after-hours programs in many communities. Though the union claims ‘a couple’ of members haven’t joined this boycott, ‘they will get religion as well.’ We hope it’s more than a couple, and we hope for a growing apostasy. Probation officers in Brockton were reported to have decided to … Read More ➡

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 ➡