On July 1, Jerry Thomas Vincent Jr., former president of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 783, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on multiple counts of embezzlement, fraud and false record-keeping that enabled him to obtain more than $40,000 in purchases and loans from the Louisville union. Prosecutors allege Vincent, 53, a resident of Louisville, during October 5, 2009-June 17, 2011 embezzled $17,272.84 in funds through unauthorized credit card charges and $23,760 in illegal loans. They also accuse him of concealing these transactions in union financial records. An arraignment is scheduled for July 22. The indictment follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡
New York City residents finally are digging out of a devastating post-Christmas blizzard, aided by unexpectedly warmer weather. But a growing number are sounding as if they want to use their shovels against union snowplow workers and their supervisors. Various news outlets have reported that leaders of the Service Employees-affiliated Sanitation Officers Association ordered their Teamsters-affiliated work crews to slack off as a protest against recent City Department of Sanitation budget cuts and demotions. The apparent work slowdown not only paralyzed traffic, but also led to two deaths and any number of commuters trapped overnight in subway cars. On the hot seat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has demanded, and is getting, a full investigation. Union leaders deny culpability, insisting fiscal austerity had reduced manpower. But evidence appears to undercut such claims.
That a king-sized blizzard slammed New York during December 26-27 is something nobody debates. It was the sixth-most powerful in … Read More ➡
Stephen Laffey, mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, believes in his city. Armed with a combination of street smarts, populism and a Harvard M.B.A., for almost three years he’s been putting this heavily working-class community of about 80,000 on the road to sound fiscal footing. But certain local labor bosses are determined to make his job as difficult as possible.
Laffey, 43, and a Republican, was first elected mayor in this traditionally Democratic stronghold in 2002. Upon his taking office the following January, Cranston’s bond rating was the lowest of any U.S. city; bankruptcy loomed. Reluctantly, Laffey persuaded the city council to raise taxes. In return, he won spending concessions, including cutting costs of labor-intensive activities inflated by the demands of public-employees unions. “We were paying unionized crossing guards the equivalent of $129 per hour,” he recalls. “We had to do all those things. There was really no … Read More ➡
It began on June 15 of this year as a rump faction within the AFL-CIO. And now the Change to Win Coalition, on Tuesday, September 27, made it official: It is now a federation in its own right. The group split from the AFL-CIO after several years of growing acrimony. Change to Win (CTW) unions came to believe that the AFL-CIO was pouring enormous amounts of money and energy into political advocacy at the expense of organizing. The result of misguided priorities was a decaying labor movement. “Organizing is our core principle. It is our North Star,” declared Change to Win founding chair, Anna Burger, before a large, cheering convention in St. Louis. Burger, longtime (and still) political director for the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), added, “We will put our money where our mouth is, with three-quarters of our resources going to a groundbreaking organizing crusade.” … Read More ➡
Is it the truth or is it a whitewash? That’s the question rank-and-file members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ought to be asking in the wake of the release of the public portion of a new report prepared for the union, concluding that the IBT is free of organized crime. Union leadership, beginning with President James P. Hoffa, couldn’t be happier. But there’s an unpleasant reality: The report is in conflict with an earlier one released over a year ago. The extent to which the Teamsters can sway skeptics will determine how soon, if at all, the federal government will lift its more than decade-and-a-half of surveillance.
The new report, released on July 14, was prepared under the supervision of Ed McDonald, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner with the Dechert law firm in New York City. The Teamsters hired McDonald, who previously had led the … Read More ➡