The year 2018 saw the indictment, conviction and sentences of plenty of organized labor scams. New York City played host to some of the largest. For sheer magnitude, nothing anywhere could match the network of union fraud surrounding the construction of Hudson Yards, a large-scale, mixed-use development on Manhattan’s West Side. Set for completion in 2024, the project from the start has been a source of easy money for labor organizations affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. The general contractor, Related Companies, having reached the limits of frustration, filed suit last March with the State Supreme Court against the council and its president for promoting or allowing illegal practices that allegedly have added over $100 million to the total project cost.
Should a corporation be forced to negotiate alongside contractors or franchisees even if it doesn’t set their workplace standards? Once again, the National Labor Relations Board is attempting to clarify this contentious issue. On September 14, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would assign a company ‘joint’ or ‘dual’ employer status along with its affiliate “only if the two employers share or codetermine the employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction.” In effect, the board wants to restore a longstanding, and more realistic, definition that predated its Obama-era ruling in Browning-Ferris. Unions, by contrast, want to retain the widened the definition to expand the possibilities for corporate liability for unfair labor practices.
Sometimes a marriage can be a partnership in crime. That was the case of Scott and Nancy Alexander. On August 24, the husband and wife, respectively, ex-president and ex-office administrator for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 50, received identical sentences in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois of six months in prison and six months of home confinement, to be followed by three years of probation, for embezzlement and fraud against the Belleville, Ill.-based (near St. Louis) union. They also were ordered to pay $44,576.04 in restitution and a $200 special assessment. The couple had pleaded guilty in May after being indicted in June 2017. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Labor Racketeering.
A union can be counted on to react poorly in the face of news that its members are leaving. It may even break the law to prevent attrition. On June 20, the National Labor Relations Board, upholding an administrative court ruling, ordered International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 385 to reimburse former members for dues deducted from their paychecks after those members had submitted resignation requests. Moreover, concluded the NLRB, the union must post a message on its premises informing workers of their right to withdraw their consent to be represented. The decision was handed down amid allegations by members of the Orlando, Fla. local that their leaders have stolen funds and covered up the thefts. The international union is investigating these charges.
Teamsters Local 385 represents bus drivers and costumed characters at Walt Disney World. Yes, even Goofy, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and the transporters of tourists to … Read More ➡
Congressman William Jefferson has a knack for attracting the wrong kinds of people with money. That skill earned him a high-profile federal indictment a year and a half ago. The Louisiana Democrat is going to need his friends, too, which include labor chieftains, when he goes on trial in Alexandria, Virginia early next year. Voters in his New Orleans district also are showing their loyalty. This November they handed him a runoff victory over his rival, Helena Moreno, in the Democratic primary. And they’re overwhelmingly likely to return him to Congress when he faces Republican challenger Anh Cao in the December 6 general election, which, like the primary, is being held late due to Hurricane Gustav. The man’s been leading a charmed life – at least if one ignores the possibility of a prison sentence of up to 235 years.
Back in June 2007 a federal grand jury indicted … Read More ➡
When a union’s president and a close associate wind up in federal prison, there aren’t too many places for its new leadership to go but up. Local 25 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters during the Nineties and the early part of this decade had been the scourge of the Boston area. Led by current President Sean O’Brien, the local wants to expand membership. For the time being, it has its eye on an independent municipal employees’ union in Somerville, Mass. In an August 17 letter to members of the Somerville Municipal Employee Association (SMEA), O’Brien wrote that his union “has been approached by a large number of your fellow city employees who are very unhappy with the leadership of SMEA.” The association, which includes school nurses, clerical workers, traffic clerks and other public-sector employees, seems warm to the idea.
In his letter, O’Brien revealed that the 250-member SMEA … Read More ➡