North Carolina UFCW Ex-President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

A slaughterhouse presents potential health and safety hazards for its workers. Union representation, unfortunately, can present economic hazards. On January 28, Keith Ludlum, former president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to conspiracy to steal more than $200,000 from the Tar Heel, N.C. union, which represents about 3,600 employees of Smithfield Foods-owned pork processing plants in North Carolina and South Carolina. The aptly-named Terry Slaughter, who served as local secretary-treasurer, pleaded guilty a year ago. Ludlum would be indicted two months later following a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Union Corruption Update covered this case following the February 2019 guilty plea of Slaughter. UFCW Local 1208 had been formed and recognized about a decade ago in the wake of an unusually bitter and prolonged campaign by union organizers against Smithfield. … Read More ➡

Genovese Mobster Sentenced for Brooklyn UFCW Racketeering, Another Convicted

New York City’s Genovese crime family is traveling a little lighter these days. And members of United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 1D and 2D are sleeping a little more easily. On November 15, Steven Arena, a longtime Genovese soldier, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to one year in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in racketeering conspiracies involving two now-convicted Brooklyn UFCW officials, Frank Cognetta and Vincent D’Acunto. A few weeks later, on December 4, another Genovese made man, Frank Giovinco, was convicted by a trial jury in the same court of racketeering conspiracy related to the locals. These four persons along with another Genovese wiseguy, Vincent Esposito, had been indicted in January 2018 following a probe by the FBI, the Labor Department and the NYPD.

Union Corruption Update has covered this saga several times since the indictments of two years ago. United … Read More ➡

Another Brooklyn UFCW Boss Sentenced for Racketeering

These last few months haven’t been good to the mob-connected former leaders of two Brooklyn, N.Y. affiliates of the United Food and Commercial Workers. One of them, Vincent D’Acunto, head of UFCW Local 2D, was sentenced in August. Now it’s Frank Cognetta’s turn. On September 6, Cognetta, former secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1D, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for racketeering conspiracy related to his fleecing the Brooklyn union in return for kickbacks from a benefits consultant. Cognetta, like D’Acunto, had pleaded guilty this March after being indicted in January 2018. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the NYPD, and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

According to prosecutors, Cognetta, a resident of Staten Island, “engaged in multiple schemes to defraud his union…by, among other things, soliciting and accepting bribes … Read More ➡

UFCW President in Louisiana Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On September 17, Mark Douglas, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to embezzling funds from the Arabi (near New Orleans) union. According to court records, during November 2011-January 2015 Douglas, now 72, a resident of New Orleans, had filed fraudulent claims for “lost time” reimbursement totaling $6,280.91. He had been charged this April with embezzling $7,078.35. AFGE Local 1101 represents employees of Domino Sugar Company. The plea follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Food & Commercial Workers Boss in Brooklyn Sentenced for Racketeering

Once your mob partners start going to prison, it’s hard to stay out yourself. Vincent D’Acunto has learned the hard way. On August 9, D’Acunto, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 2D, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to 10 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a racketeering conspiracy involving members of the Genovese crime family. A Genovese soldier, Vincent Esposito, was sentenced this July to two years in prison for running an extortion racket on behalf of the union. These and related actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the NYPD and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Union Corruption Update has been covering this sequence of events since the initial indictments were handed down in January 2018. Two of … Read More ➡

NLRB General Counsel Rules on Behalf of Harassed Workers

Pressuring employees into giving a union permission to deduct dues from paychecks is a common practice. This “dues checkoff,” however, soon may become uncommon. On July 12, the National Labor Relations Board’s Office of the General Counsel, in separate cases, announced that it had ruled on behalf of two workers who refused to sign dues authorization forms as a condition of employment. The employees, Kacy Warner, a Kansas City-area nurse, and Shelby Krocker, a West Virginia supermarket employee, each experienced union retaliation. Their cases previously had been dismissed by an NLRB regional office. The West Virginia case is especially disturbing because the legislature in that state a few years ago enacted a Right to Work law barring unions from exacting such payments.

Kacy Warner is a nurse at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri who was dissatisfied with the representation that she and fellow employees had been getting from … Read More ➡

New Orleans-Area UFCW President Charged with Theft

Mark Douglas billed his union for reimbursements for nonworking hours. Unfortunately for the union, that amounted to theft. Yesterday, April 9, Douglas, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101, was charged in an information count in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana with embezzling $7,078.35 in funds from the Arabi (near New Orleans)-based union related to his alleged filing of fake “lost time” claims over a more than three-year period. The union represents employees of Domino Sugar. The charge follows an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

According to court documents, Douglas, now 71, a resident of New Orleans, during November 11, 2011-January 17, 2015 filed “lost time” claims for a variety of unauthorized purposes. Normally, only business-related activities such as arbitration, visits to an attorney, or negotiations with Domino Sugar are eligible for reimbursement. These claims were unrelated to work. … Read More ➡

UFCW Secretary-Treasurers in Brooklyn Plead Guilty to Racketeering

Vincent D’Acunto Jr. knew a lot of Mafia guys who got things done. But even the mob couldn’t bail him out this time. On March 18, D’Acunto, former secretary-treasurer of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2D, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering conspiracy. A week earlier, on March 11, Frank Cognetta, former secretary-treasurer of the UFCW Local 1D, also Brooklyn-based, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering. Each had been arrested and indicted in January 2018, along with two Genovese crime family enforcers, Vincent Esposito and Steven Arena, who did D’Acunto’s dirty work, plus another Genovese mobster. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the NYPD and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 1D and 2D each represent wine and distillery workers. They also were corrupt. According to … Read More ➡

UFCW Secretary-Treasurer in North Carolina Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

There is something weirdly fitting about a labor official named Slaughter who represents slaughterhouse workers. But whether fate or coincidence, it is no longer. On February 25, Terry Slaughter, former secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to embezzling $62,315.38 from the union, which represents employees of the sprawling Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C., about an hour and a half’s drive south of Raleigh. Slaughter had been charged in early January following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. Evidence indicates that a far larger sum of missing funds is attributable to a former president.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1208 was born of trauma, in this case one of the most bitter labor disputes in recent U.S. history. The union in the early-90s launched a … Read More ➡

New Report Describes Dirty Union ‘Corporate Campaign’ Tactics

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 ➡