Eleven New York Building Trades Union Officials Charged in Bribery Racket

New York City-area construction unions are well-known for being on the take. An announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice won’t likely alter that reputation. On October 1, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest and indictment of 11 officials of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council for various charges related to their receipt of over $100,000 in bribes from nonunion contractors in return for bid-rigging, in the process selling out the dues-paying union members whom they represented. Led by Trades Council President James Cahill, the defendants are current or former members of two local affiliates of the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters. Aiding in the probe was the Suffolk County (Long Island), N.Y. district attorney’s office. All the defendants pleaded not guilty at arraignment.

It’s a common form of back-scratching in the world of organized labor: An employer, … Read More ➡

West Virginia Construction Trades Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzlement

Nobody is too old to go to prison if the offense is serious enough. Joan Matthews has learned that lesson the hard way. On Wednesday, October 17, Matthews, former bookkeeper for the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council (CBCTC), was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to a year and a day in prison for embezzling $183,667.11 in funds from the Charleston-based, AFL-CIO-affiliated council. She also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $141,325.78. Matthews had pleaded guilty this June after being indicted in January. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to prosecutors, Matthews, now 70, a resident of South Charleston, W.Va., began stealing labor council funds sometime in 2010 and would continue to do so until September 2014, when certain fellow office employees alerted the Department of Labor to the fact of … Read More ➡