The PRO Act Gives Unions Everything They Could Want

If there is a worse piece of legislation in the history of American labor relations than the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, one would be hard-pressed to find it. This gift to organized labor, introduced in May by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would dismantle virtually every existing safeguard against union monopoly in the private-sector workplace. Among its features, the measure would override state Right to Work laws protecting employees from being fired for withholding union dues; create an expansive “joint employer” standard to force employers to bargain alongside their contractors; and ban employment arbitration agreements. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the measure on September 25 in a party-line 26-21 vote, setting up a brutal battle in 2020 in the full House and likely the Senate.

Labor unions in this country regularly proclaim their solidarity with “working families,” also known as “working … Read More ➡

Upstate New York Steelworkers Financial Secretary Charged with Thefts

Brian Arnold had total authority over his union’s finances. That’s why the numbers didn’t add up. On October 29, Arnold, former financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 104M, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York with one count of embezzling more than $33,000 in funds from the Elmira-based union and one count of falsifying financial records to conceal the thefts. Local 104M represents about 75 employees at Anchor Glass Container Corporation. The charges follow an investigation by the FBI and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Arnold, now 48, a resident of Elmira, controlled all aspects of union finances. According to prosecutors, he used that control as a license to steal. During April 2016-August 2018, he allegedly embezzled funds in a variety of ways. He made unauthorized purchases totaling $14,639.13 at hotels, restaurants and retail stores with his local debit card; made unauthorized … Read More ➡

Philadelphia Teachers President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On October 23, James Young, president of American Federation of Teachers Local 4973, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to one count of embezzling $7,050 in funds from the Philadelphia union. He had been charged on October 1. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Steelworkers Secretary in Arkansas Sentenced for False Record-Keeping

On October 24, Deloistine Williams, former secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 929, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas to one year of probation for concealing thefts in the financial records of the West Helena, Ark.-based union. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $13,205. Williams had been charged in August following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Secretary-Treasurer of Machinists Local in Maine Indicted

On October 11, Jeffrey Phillips, former financial secretary-treasurer of International Association of Machinists Local 836, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine on one count of theft in a sum of more than $1,000 from the Kittery-based union, which represents workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Laborers Business Manager in New Hampshire Sentenced for Embezzlement

On October 10, Dennis Robertson, former business manager for Laborers International Union of North America Local 668, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire to three years of probation for embezzling $37,897 in funds from the Hookset union during the period August 2015-February 2017. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. He had pleaded guilty in June following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Couple Pleads Guilty to Ripping Off Texas LIUNA Local; Sentenced

Orville and Teri Rae Merritt aren’t married to each other anymore. They’re probably relieved, too. On October 18, Orville Merritt, ex-business manager and treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1168, pleaded guilty in the 78th District Court of Texas for his role in the theft of nearly $46,000 in funds from the Wichita Falls union, and was sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence reflects his creating a fake Facebook account in his wife’s name in order to defraud her. Teri Rae Merritt, now known as Teri Rae Coan, shouldn’t get much sympathy. On October 30, she was sentenced to 10 years of supervision for theft from the union, where she had been office manager. She had pleaded guilty on October 25 after being charged on October 4. Both must pay restitution. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Laborers Local … Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Official Pleads Guilty to Receiving Bribes, Kickbacks

The strike by nearly 50,000 United Auto Workers against General Motors ended after nearly six weeks on October 25. But Jeffrey Pietrzyk’s troubles are far from over. On October 22, Pietrzyk, a retired top aide to ex-UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, pleaded guilty in Ann Arbor federal court to honest services fraud and money laundering charges in connection with his acceptance of about $123,000 in bribes and kickbacks from union vendors. He had been charged on September 20. His offenses were part of a dozen-year, $2 million scheme in the union’s GM Department led by now-convicted ex-UAW official Michael Grimes. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update covered this scandal in August and September. The United Auto Workers’ General Motors Department, like its Chrysler Department, has been the focus … Read More ➡

Treasurer for Ohio Painters Local Indicted for Embezzlement

On October 10, Shannon Pemberton, former treasurer of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 238, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky for embezzling $6,403 in funds from the Cincinnati-based union. The alleged offenses occurred in neighboring Kentucky. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Teachers Union President in Philadelphia Charged with Embezzlement

On October 1, James Young, president of American Federation of Teachers Local 4973, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with embezzlement of funds from the Philadelphia union in the sum of $7,050. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡