There are few workplaces in this country that can match the shipping terminal when it comes to wage and hour fraud – especially if the dockworkers are unionized. Back in December, Columbia Export Terminal in Portland, Oregon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and more than 150 of its members, accusing them of participating in a conspiracy to inflate their on-the-clock time in a variety of ways. The schemes allegedly cost the terminal over $5 million. The union, the suit reads, “organized and orchestrated the scheme to submit falsified time sheets.” A court spokesperson told National Legal and Policy Center yesterday afternoon that the case remains active, though a pretrial hearing has yet to be scheduled.
More than once, Union Corruption Update has described the workings of a well-organized scam on the Boston docks. Members of the International Longshoremen Association would place young adults and children, typically sons, on union payrolls for part-time work so as to qualify them for “seniority,” and hence a higher starting pay grade, if and when they become full-time workers. They also allegedly submitted bogus unemployment claims. Then-Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly in April 2005 initiated an investigation. The following year a Suffolk County grand jury returned 118 indictments against 20 persons. In Reilly’s words, the probe had uncovered “a system of fraud and corruption on Boston’s waterfront…where a few insiders gamed the system to benefit themselves and their friends and took opportunities and benefits away from other longshoremen who played by the rules.” One of the alleged insiders was Joseph J. Picard, Jr., who’d been head walking boss at the … Read More ➡
Boston Longshoremen don’t like people poking around into the way they do business. It’s a world of tightly-knit Irish ethnic families where work on the docks is passed on from one generation to the next. And if breaking the law is what it takes to make a good living, some of these people will do just that, especially if it involves group cooperation – i.e., a racket. Cracking this kind of racket is far from easy. But it appears that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, with some outside help, has done just that.
On August 9, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced a combined 118 indictments against 20 individuals, almost all of whom are or have been affiliated with locals of the International Longshoremen’s Association. He was flanked by Massachusetts Port Authority (“Massport”) Executive Director Thomas Kinton, Jr., U.S. Labor Department official Marjorie Franzman, and members of the Massachusetts Department of … Read More ➡