Gary Jones’ tenure as head of the United Auto Workers was brief. But he and the union are preparing for what may be a long ordeal. On November 20, Jones, beset by a slew of federal corruption charges involving extensive illegal payoffs exacted from vendors by ex-officials of the UAW’s General Motors Department, abruptly resigned as president. Nine days later, he ended his union membership. The actions occurred shortly after the UAW executive board filed paperwork to expel him and a regional director, Vance Pearson. While Jones has not been accused of anything (yet), his home was one of several sites raided in August by federal agents. In a related event, GM last month filed a racketeering suit against Fiat Chrysler on grounds that the latter misused the collective bargaining process to facilitate a merger.
If these were normal times, the 400,000-member, Detroit-based United Auto Workers might be … Read More ➡
What’s green, worth tens of trillions of dollars, and makes corporations an offer they can’t refuse? The answer: Climate Action 100+, an institutional investor-led initiative that in its brief existence has emerged as a force for radical social transformation. The group already has secured commitments from more than 160 corporations worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to target levels set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015, a pact from which President Trump announced withdrawal plans in June 2017. Suppose a company doesn’t want to commit. Well…that could create problems.
Like any scientific controversy, climate change invites skepticism. Human activity may be responsible for increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations which raise temperatures and threaten ecosystems. Yet there is compelling evidence that global warming is due to non-human factors and that it alternates with global cooling in a recurring cycle. The issue, in other words, is far from … Read More ➡
Public agencies shouldn’t be in the business of coercion on behalf of a private-sector union. Apparently, that principle didn’t faze Kenneth Brissette or Timothy Sullivan. On August 7, Brissette and Sullivan, respectively, director of tourism, sports and entertainment and director of intergovernmental affairs for the City of Boston, were convicted of extortion by a jury following a two-week trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a concert promoter with the intent of forcing the promoter to hire workers from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11. The pair had been hit with superseding indictments in June 2016 following a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General.
The saga has its roots in the summer of 2014. The “Boston Calling” music festival had been scheduled for that September at City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston. An established concert … Read More ➡
John T. Coli Sr. has a saying: “Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.” He’s kind of feeling like a hog now. On July 30, Coli (in photo, on right), for years the most powerful Teamster in the Chicago area, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to one count each of receiving a prohibited payment and filing a false income tax return. The first charge refers to acts of extortion totaling $325,000 from an area employer in order to ensure “labor peace.” He had been slapped with a 13-count superseding indictment in September 2017 after being indicted on six counts that July. Coli resigned as head of Teamsters Local 727 on the day of the initial indictment, clearing the way for his son, John T. Coli Jr., to take over. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS, and the Labor Department’s Office … Read More ➡
For George Peltz, running a business and ripping off a union often meant the same thing. That’s why he’s no longer involved in either. On May 20, Peltz, a Philadelphia-area contractor, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to 18 months in prison and two years of probation for bribery, theft from a benefit fund, and tax fraud related to his dealings with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. He also paid nearly $1 million in restitution. Peltz had pleaded guilty in January. The actions are part of a larger federal and state joint probe of corruption in Philadelphia that thus far has implicated a city council member, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, a couple of contractors and several Local 98 officials.
Union Corruption Update earlier had analyzed a sweeping federal indictment unsealed on January 30 against eight persons in the overlapping worlds of … Read More ➡
There are few sights these days as pitiable as a corporation acceding to the demands of radical activists on the basis of an ostensibly insensitive comment made by one of its officials or employees. As the script normally dictates, the offending individual steps down, while the company profusely apologizes for its insensitivity and vows to redouble its commitment to “diversity.” That’s what makes Fox News Channel’s refusal to fire political talk show host Tucker Carlson in the face of an activist-triggered advertiser boycott so refreshing. By resisting the speech police, the network just might have set an example for other corporations.
Tucker Carlson, now 49, host of Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, isn’t one to back down from a controversial issue. Indeed, not backing down is pretty much his main job requirement. His blunt style won him the 8 P.M.-9 P.M., Monday through Friday time slot on Fox … Read More ➡
Obnoxiousness is a universal human trait. But for unions, it’s a tool of persuasion. Large employers, with good reason, are wary. A new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Hardball: The Tactics of Union Corporate Campaigns,” summarizes organized labor’s frequently aggressive, predatory shakedown tactics in the search to win concessions from supposedly morally errant employers. These campaigns, which seek to discredit a targeted firm’s brand name in hopes of winning concessions, involve extensive groundwork; these campaigns can last for years. Unions and their allies test the legal limits of protest, while raising the costs of business. Undeterred by reality, certain lawmakers on Capitol Hill, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are sponsoring bills to repeal safeguards against such behavior.
Corporate campaigns are no stranger to Union Corruption Update (see here, here and here). These projects of confrontation and negotiation took off … Read More ➡
Some of the worst travesties of justice occur when a lawbreaker manages to convince the public that he or she is actually the victim. This, in fact, appears to be the real story behind accusations that Donald Trump violated federal election laws by ordering “hush money” to be paid to stripper/porn star Stormy Daniels during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign to conceal the fact of their one-night stand a decade earlier. The reigning media view is that the $130,000 payment, transacted by President Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen, was a threat and thus a basis for Trump’s impeachment. Far closer to the truth, however, is that Ms. Daniels tried to blackmail Mr. Trump. Her current attempt to nullify a nondisclosure agreement underscores her self-serving motives.
Blackmail, which is closely related to extortion, is illegal. Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 873, states: “Whosoever, under a threat of … Read More ➡
On the surface, it looks like a compromise. Underneath, it is a capitulation. Yesterday the National Football League and its 32 team owners announced the establishment of a new policy on the issue of player ‘kneel-downs’ during the playing of the national anthem to express solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other radical groups who see America as the land of racial injustice. While the policy nominally bars players from kneeling down on the sidelines and gives owners the latitude to levy fines against violators, it also allows players to protest by remaining in their locker rooms. This is not a resolution. Indeed, it is a guarantee of further political melodrama.
Last November 29, as National Legal and Policy Center discussed at length days later, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement over this issue to ward off controversy. The league would provide $89 million … Read More ➡
With about $6 trillion of assets under management, BlackRock Inc. carries a lot of weight in the business world. And Laurence Fink, CEO and chairman of the New York-based investment firm, wants everyone to know that. In a letter dated January 12, Fink urged dozens of CEOs of publicly-traded companies to expand their horizons beyond the confines of profit. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Though such words sound reasonable, they epitomize a common error about the institutional role of the corporation.
For decades, corporations, prodded by government, nonprofit activists and their own shareholders, have been retooling themselves as social problem solvers. Under the doctrine of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies are behaving as policy-oriented philanthropies. … Read More ➡