West Virginia CWA Secretary Sentenced for Concealing Embezzlement

On June 2, Eric Childress, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 2276, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to five years of probation, and ordered to pay $30,611 in restitution and a $25 special assessment, for making a false entry in the financial records of the Bluefield, W.Va.-based union to conceal his embezzlement of funds. He had pleaded guilty last December to concealment after being indicted in September for embezzling $2,619. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Two Employees of Houston CWA Local Plead Guilty to Thefts

Beverly Davis and Evelyn Smith treated their union like a personal ATM machine. Eventually, their money supply ran out. On December 13, 2019, Davis and Smith, each an office employee of Communications Workers of America Local 6222, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to their roles in an embezzlement scheme that yielded a combined more than $135,000 over several years from the Houston-based union, which represents AT&T employees. The pleas follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Each woman faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine at sentencing on February 28.

Davis and Smith, each now 67, were employed by the union, respectively, during 2010-17 and 2005-18. Davis administered a special fund intended to help union members during financial hardships, while Smith served as secretary-treasurer. According to prosecutors, they used their positions to help themselves … Read More ➡

NLRB Restores Employer Right to Restrict Employee Email Organizing

An employer’s email system is as much private property as its computer equipment or real estate. The National Labor Relations Board once again, if belatedly, has affirmed this fact. On December 16, the board in Caesars Entertainment voted 3-1 to reestablish the right of an employer to restrict employee use of company email and other information technology during nonworking hours. The ruling overturns the board’s Obama-era ruling in Purple Communications, which had concluded employees have a statutory right to use employer email for union purposes. Employer groups see the decision as vindication of property rights, free speech rights, and especially cyber security. Union officials and supporters, understandably, are taking a different view.

With email having become established at the workplace, it was inevitable that disputes would arise over its availability to promote unions. Employers generally hold that their email systems ought to be used for workplace issues that advance … Read More ➡

Former CWA President in Connecticut Sentenced for Embezzlement

On November 7, Thomas Popillo, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 81266, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement, for embezzling $37,568.68 in funds from the Newington-based union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution and a $100 special assessment. Popillo had pleaded guilty in August following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Mississippi CWA President Sentenced for Embezzlement

The consequences of theft were far more expensive than Danny Woodcock had anticipated. On August 29, Woodcock, ex-president of Communications Workers of America Local 83770, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to 46 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $519,963.04 in restitution and a $100 special assessment for stealing more than $300,000 in funds from the Columbus, Miss. union. Woodcock had pleaded guilty in August 2018 after being indicted in November 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Communications Workers Local 83770 represents between 300 and 400 employees of L3 Vertex Aerospace, LLC, an engineering and maintenance contractor operating at Columbus Air Force Base. According to prosecutors, Woodcock, now 66, a resident of Caledonia (Lowndes County), Miss., not only headed the union but stole from it … Read More ➡

CWA Local Secretary-Treasurer in West Virginia Indicted

On September 4, Eric Childress, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America Local 2276, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on one count of embezzlement of funds in the sum of $2,619 from the Bluefield, W.Va.-based union. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

CWA President in Connecticut Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Thomas Popillo is a good example of what happens to a union when one person has total control over its finances. On August 7, Popillo, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 81266, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $37,568.68 from the union, which represents employees at the Fenn metal forming machinery plant in Newington. He was released on a $25,000 bond pending sentencing. The plea follows an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Popillo, now 61, a resident of Newington, headed the 90-member CWA Local 81266 during 2003-17, also serving as its secretary-treasurer during 2003-15. In effect, he enjoyed no oversight. That gave him a virtual license to steal. And he used that license frequently. According to prosecutors, he wrote unauthorized checks to himself from a union bank account and made … Read More ➡

CWA Secretary-Treasurer in Indiana Pleads Guilty; Sentenced

On August 20, Diana Brown, ex-financial secretary of Communications Workers of America Local 84807, pleaded guilty in Clark County, Indiana Circuit Court to 10 counts of forgery against the Jeffersonville, Ind. (near Louisville, Ky.) union. She then was sentenced to eight years in jail (six of those years suspended) and six years of probation. Brown had been charged with 10 counts of forgery and one count of theft in July 2015. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Mississippi CWA President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On August 17, Danny Woodcock, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 83770, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi to one count of embezzlement of funds from the Columbus, Miss.-based union. He had been indicted last November for stealing more than $300,000 by making unauthorized transfers of several thousand dollars each from the local checking account to his own personal account. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

CWA President in Mississippi Indicted for $300K+ Theft

Danny Woodcock tempted fate dozens of times. Fate was bound to catch up with him. And it did. On November 3, Woodcock, former president of Communications Workers of America Local 83770, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on 48 counts related to his embezzlement of more than $300,000 from the Columbus, Miss.-based union. He pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond. The indictment follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court records, Woodcock, now 64, a resident of Caledonia (Lowndes County), Miss., during February 2013-September 2016 made almost monthly unauthorized transfers, most commonly in sums of between $5,000 and $6,500, from the local checking account to his own personal account. The indictment read: “…Danny Woodcock, while an officer, that is, President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 83770, a labor organization engaged in an … Read More ➡