Midwest Regional United Workers Comptroller Sentenced

On July 15, Robert Kurtycz, former comptroller for Workers United’s Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one day in prison (suspended) and three years of supervised release, including one year of home confinement, for conspiracy to commit commercial bribery and wire fraud in relation to his receipt of $85,962 in unauthorized expense reimbursements. He also must pay full restitution and a $200 special assessment. The Chicago-based Joint Board, like Workers United, is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. He had pleaded guilty this February after being indicted in May 2019. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.   … Read More ➡

Janus, Two Years On: More Necessary Than Ever

This June 27 marked the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a pivotal event in labor relations whose potential long-run impact is only beginning to be felt. The High Court’s upholding by a 5-4 margin of the constitutional right of Mark Janus (in photo), an Illinois state civil servant, to withhold dues from an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has enabled numerous nonmembers across a wide range of public-sector jobs to decline to pay without worrying about losing their jobs. In response, unions and their political allies are going to great lengths to circumvent the ruling. They know what is at stake. Their actions unintentionally underscore why the Court made the right call. And Mark Janus isn’t quite done yet.  

Government employee unions, especially at the state and local levels, have become a dominant force … Read More ➡

Dissenting Employees in Seattle Sue SEIU Locals for Beck Violations

For more than three decades, union leaders have done everything possible, legal or not, to skirt the Supreme Court’s Beck decision. Some very recent evidence comes from the Seattle area. Last Wednesday, June 17, Daniel Dalison, an employee of a building maintenance contractor, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local for misleading him about his right to withhold dues for functions unrelated to union business. Two months earlier, Dalison, at the time an employee at an area hospital, along with a fellow hospital employee, Roger White, had filed separate NLRB complaints against another Seattle-area SEIU local on similar grounds. Under Beck, a private-sector union must inform employees of this “opt-out” right. The dissenters appear to have a strong case, too.

Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, a labor union has the right of exclusive representation. That is, … Read More ➡

Workers United Midwest Board Comptroller Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Wire Fraud

On February 27, Robert Kurtycz, former comptroller for Workers United’s Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count of conspiracy to commit commercial bribery and one count of wire fraud in relation to his receipt of unauthorized expense reimbursements totaling $85,962. The Chicago-based joint board, like Workers United, is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. He had been indicted last May on the conspiracy count plus six counts of wire fraud. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.… Read More ➡

Benefits Consultant for Chicago-Area SEIU Affiliates Indicted for Bribery

On October 17, Rebecca Hedman, an agent for three Chicago-area health care providers, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on one count of conspiracy to commit commercial bribery via cellphone in an unspecified sum. The charge follows a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration. The action against Hedman follows the indictment in May of Robert Kurtycz, former comptroller of the Chicago chapters of Workers United and the Midwest Regional Joint Board, each an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, on one count of bribery conspiracy and six counts of wire fraud, one of which involved his receipt of $85,962 in union assets for fake reimbursements.… Read More ➡

Ex-Workers United/SEIU Official in Chicago Indicted for Conspiracy, Wire Fraud

On May 7, Robert Kurtycz, former comptroller for Workers United’s Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on one count of conspiracy to commit commercial bribery plus six counts of wire fraud. The wire fraud charges are related to Kurtycz’s electronic transfer of funds from the Chicago-based labor organization for his receipt of unauthorized expense reimbursements totaling $85,962. Workers United is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The indictments follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General, and Employee Benefits Security Administration.… Read More ➡

Washington State SEIU Affiliate Settles Suit Over Forged Signature

Service Employees International Union Local 775, it seems, would do anything for a buck, including collecting dues from a former member. It’s now learned its limitations. On March 29, the Seattle-based union reached an out-of-court agreement with a Spokane home caregiver, Cindy Ochoa, following its admission that one of its canvassers had forged her signature on a membership card. Ochoa, with the help of a nonprofit legal group, the Freedom Foundation, had filed a lawsuit in federal court in October alleging the union had violated her First Amendment rights, unlawfully withheld part of her wages, and caused emotional distress. Local 775 agreed to pay $15,000 in damages to her and $13,000 to the foundation to cover legal fees, plus send her a written apology.

SEIU Local 775 represents more than 45,000 long-term health care providers in Washington State and Montana, many of them operating out of their homes on behalf … Read More ➡

HHS Finalizes Rule Barring Union Medicaid Dues-Skimming

A half-decade ago, the Obama administration, in apparent defiance of federal statutes, issued a rule authorizing states to deduct union dues from home care providers whose income is partly or fully Medicaid-derived. The experiment now has ended. Yesterday, May 2, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule to protect non-joining independent providers from having a portion of their paychecks deducted and routed to a union. Public-sector unions have generated an estimated $200 million a year this way. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, calls the reversal “an encouraging action toward stopping union bosses from unlawfully using public payment systems to intercept tax dollars intended for providers caring for those in need.” The rule is set to take effect on or about July 5.

Union Corruption Update examined this issue at length last year. On July 12, HHS posted a Notice … Read More ➡

Kansas President of Government Employees Union Sentenced

On January 22, Robert Clearwater, former president of National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 14-8, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to three years of supervised probation for embezzling $11,681 in funds from the Topeka union. He also was ordered to pay full restitution plus a special assessment of $700. Clearwater had pleaded guilty to embezzlement and falsifying union financial records last April after being charged in February. NAGE is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Kamala Harris Goes to Bat for the SEIU

Kamala Harris, the junior U.S. senator from California, is a woman in a hurry. Elected in 2016, Harris today announced her candidacy for president in 2020. “I’m running for president of the United States, and I’m very excited about it,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Her track record, however, suggests she would be the kind of president who among other things would cut ethical corners on behalf of labor unions. Back in 2015, Harris, as California attorney general, helped a powerful affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) scotch the purchase of a half-dozen nonprofit health care facilities by a corporate buyer to protect union jobs. While a federal judge twice has dismissed allegations by the buyer, Prime Healthcare, that she abused her office, the case deserves another look.

Kamala Devi Harris, now 54, is a fast-rising Democratic Party star. Of Indian and Jamaican descent, she’s emerged … Read More ➡