Monthly Archives: July 2009

Corrupt Union Bosses & Their Sticky Fingers Still Linger On…

The first half of June was a busy month for the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards, the agency responsible for catching corrupt union bosses.

It has been questioned whether or not the agency will be as enthused in catching corrupt union bosses in the future, since the agency is now in the hands of the union bosses’ minions.

However, before the inmates are set free to plunder their members, we thought it was important to share what the OLMS has been doing of late.

One interesting note: A cursory examination of the indictments below appear to show the bulk of the illegal activity occurred within public sector unions.

  • On June 15, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Michael Pagano, former Business Agent /Secretary-Treasurer of Roofers, Local 74 (located in West Seneca, N.Y.), was sentenced to one year probation and order to make full restitution of $9,264. In December 2008, Pagano pled guilty to one count of falsifying union records. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Buffalo District Office.
  • On June 11, 2009, in the Montgomery County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas, Monica Smalls, former Treasurer of AFGE Local 2209 (located in Dayton, Ohio), was sentenced to five years probation, ordered to make full restitution in the amount of $3,790, and required to attend the Montgomery County Theft Counseling Program. Smalls was indicted on April 10, 2009. On May 14, 2009, she pled guilty to theft of more than $500. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
  • On June 10, 2009, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Kathleen Fonti, former President of Health Professionals & Allied Employees (HPAE) Local 5030 (located in Emerson, N.J.), pled guilty to improperly receiving loans in excess of $14,500. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office.
  • On June 8, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Brian Brownlee, former Vice-President of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) 2nd District (located in Hot Springs, Ark.), pled guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $16,221.30. An OLMS investigation concluded that Brownlee falsified vouchers for travel, per diem, lodging and lost time. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.
  • On June 8, 2009, George Ortiz, a former New York City Department of Education School Bus Inspector, was sentenced to two and a half years incarceration to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to make restitution of $5,000. On February 17, 2009, Ortiz pled guilty to extorting and accepting bribes in a program receiving federal funds. The sentence follows a joint investigation of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 (the primary union that represents drivers for school bus companies in New York City) as well as the New York City school bus industry by the OLMS New York District Office, Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI.
  • On June 8, 2009, in the Oneida (N.Y.) City Court, Gail Shingler, former Treasurer of Steelworkers Local 53 (located in Oneida, N.Y.), was charged with two counts of grand larceny, in the fourth degree. Shingler was charged with taking union funds in the amount of $2,572. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Buffalo District Office.
  • On June 3, 2009, in the 79th District Court of Mason County, Michigan, Kimberly Drake, former Treasurer of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 3466 (located in Ludington, Mich.), pled guilty to one count of embezzlement of $200 or more but less than $1,000. Drake was immediately sentenced to two years probation, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,050 and fined $160. Drake previously made restitution in the amount of $450. The plea and sentencing follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.
  • On June 3, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Keith W. Hart, Jr., former Financial Secretary of Bakery Workers (BCTGM) Local 315G (formerly located in Mt. Vernon, Ind.), was indicted on one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $13,904.69. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.
  • On June 1, 2009, in Circuit Court for the City of Richmond, Va., Sylvia Grooms, Director of Industrial Relations for American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 199 (located in Richmond, Va.), was indicted on four counts of grand larceny associated with feloniously and unlawfully stealing the union’s property. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
  • On June 1, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Nicholas Maddalone and Paul Maddalone, former Executive Board Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 (the primary union that represents school bus drivers in New York City), were indicted on charges of extortion, unlawful labor payments, and participation in a conspiracy, for allegedly using their union positions to obtain cash bribes from employers. The indictment also included a forfeiture allegation in the amount of $1,000,000. The indictments follow a joint investigation by the OLMS New York District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI.

To read the full list of OLMS indictments (including a five-year history), go to 1-888-NO-UNION.COM’s page on union corruption here.

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Filed under Amalgamated Transit Union, American Postal Workers Union, Bakery Workers Union, Roofers, United Steelworkers

UNION LOAFERS…

A priceless clip harkening back to the days…

Sent from a friend.

Thanks, Songbird.

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Filed under Bakery Workers Union, union loafers

SEIU Members Allege Election Fraud

These days, whenever we hear about “election fraud,” it is usually used in the same sentence as the word ACORN. However, now, a local union of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)–the same union that is seemingly joined at the hip with ACORN–is being accused of “[m]ultiple violations of law and irregularities” in an election to choose the local’s leadership.

According to blogger Adios Stern:

the folks down at SEIU 221 had themselves an election. Boy was it a doozy, too. Out of a total voting population of 7600 or so eligible members, only 750 (that’s roughly 9% of all eligible members) decided to cast a ballot. The results, not surprisingly, favored the incumbent Stern-appointed president and her slate…

However, that is not the end of the story. A group of SEIU members are calling for a new election stating (in part):

Many members did not receive mail ballots, notice of election, and/or the candidate statements voter information booklet, which were supposed to be mailed to all members of Local 221. Many members who did not receive said election materials report that they have not changed their address and have received other mailings from SEIU Local 221, including a mailing done by the Unity Slate to campaign for this election. Mailings for candidates/slates were done by Select Mailing, using member name and address data provided by Local 221.

Matthew Fitch stated in an email of July 22, 2009, that 7137 mail ballots were mailed out (fewer than the 7,692 members reported in the local’s 2008 LM-2) and that 652 of these were returned by the post office. Thus, it appears that 1207 members in good standing did not receive a mail ballot. It is likely that these same members also did not receive the mailed notice of election and did not receive the mailed candidate statements voter information booklet (which also contained the notice of in-person polling locations and their dates and hours of operation). With only a total of 750 ballots cast, this 1207 number would clearly be determinative of the outcome.

To read the entire post, go here.

It seems the union doesn’t fall far from the ACORN in this case.

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Filed under ACORN, election fraud, SEIU, Service Employees International Union

Shocking: Leaked SEIU E-Mails Illustrate Union’s War Mentality

In a rare (and perhaps a first ever) glimpse into how today’s union bosses attempt to silence their critics, SEIU-critical blogger Perez Stern has uncovered some internal e-mails among three SEIU bigwigs, including SEIU spokeswoman Danielle Ringuette, targeting academics who signed a letter opposing the SEIU’s raid on UNITE-HERE.

What is startling are tactical terms used in the e-mail exchange, as well as the cold and calculated way these union bigs talk of targeting specific individuals.

Below is the text of the leaked e-mails, as reported on Perez Stern (with emphasis in bold italic):

From: Javier Morillo JMorillo@seiu26.org
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:18 PM
To: Jo-Ann Mort; Michelle Ringuette; Jo-Ann Mort
Subject: RE: would love to touch base with you

So here’s my thought — in addition to the general info spam they’ll be receiving from now, I suggest we send to each of these academics a brief communication that;

  • Shames them just a little bit for signing onto something without knowing all the facts – subtly, of course, while also talking about the productive relationship SEIU and the labor movement have had and should have with academia. I can work on that in a way that also makes the point that theory and praxis can coexist but only when there is open, honest communication (Nothing guilt-trips an academic more than reminding them how isolated they are, in this country, from the world of policy, politics, and activism. It’s why I left).
  • Gives a few key facts. I like today’s letter from Andy to Willhelm because it hits directly to the charges in their open letter.
  • Most importantly, I think we should invite them to something. We say something like “we have members and leaders across the country. Please give us the opportunity to talk with you about the issues your letter brings up as well as our broader concerns about20the labor movement.” We can offer a variety of venues — one on one meetings, conference calls, etc.

Then we organize these meetings. I do think it’s important that we dedicate the time and energy to this. Get leaders and members from each state to volunteer to hold the meetings that are requested (I actually doubt few will take us up on it). It would be more work on the front end, but especially for the more prominent names maybe we have this communication signed by leaders and members from their state.

What do you think?

javier

—–Original Message—–
From: Jo-Ann Mort joannmort@mac.com
Sent: Thu 7/23/2009 7:12 AM
To: Michelle Ringuette; Jo-Ann Mort; Javier Morillo
Subject: Re: would love to touch base with you

I still think we sadly need to target Nelson in a positive way-most of these academics really are not worth it-but spamming them sounds like what they deserve!!

On 7/23/09 8:07 AM, “Michelle Ringuette” mailto:Michelle.Ringuette@seiu.org%20wrote:

And just to add in here, last night we discussed setting a few workers loose on people and lettling them call some of the academics. I know these aren’t high value targets, but I firmly believe people should not be permitted to do drive bys. They are all getting a letter this am and they all bought spot on our spam list.

Michelle A. Ringuette
Service Employees International Union
202 730 7234 w
202 341 7057 m

—–Original Message—–
From: Jo-Ann Mort joannmort@me.com
Sent: Thu 23-Jul-09 3:51 AM
To: Javier Morillo
Cc: Michelle Ringuette
Subject: would love to touch base with you

hey Javier,I am in Israel until next week but I am also working for SEIU while here. Michelle mentioned that you would like to help out re the academic/lefty mess re WU and SEIU, etc-i would love that!! I can call you from Israel if you want to talk or we can talk on email. I would like to start with you writing something that i can place and then, maybe we should think about you and a couple of other SEIU/WU leaders starting to meet with academics and others on the left to talk about moving forward-in a serious fashion. I just went through that list of 200 academics on the most recent letter and most of them are labor notes types-the ones I picked out whom we need to reach out to are Nelson Lichtenstein (for better or worse…), Jack Metzgar, who is a friend of mine and Mark Levinson’s but has been hard on this topic , Andrew Ross, whom I already emailed and Andrew has worked very closely with UNITE in the past on sweatshops, and Jennifer Klein who is close to Nelson I know-and I know you
talked to her-she is also a former student of Josh Freeman’s- and why Alice Kessler Harris is on this list I don’t know-we need to get to her too-look forward to working on this with you.

best,

jo-Ann
Jo-Ann Mortjoannmort@me.com
Israel phone: (0)547-269-886
US phone: 718-954-0352
skype: jomort

This may be the first time that the public is catching a glimpse of the type of war machinations that go on behind the closed doors of the SEIU’s Purple Palace. Although Perez Stern has a disclaimer on his blog, his posts, thus far, have been uncannily insightful and this one bears greater exposure.

For more information on the Service Employees International Union, go here.

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IN ARIZONA, THE UFCW’S WAR ON WORKERS RIGHTS TAKES ITS TOLL

An Arizona Icon Falls Prey to the UFCW’s Thuggery

“If we can’t organize [nonunion supermarkets],” Tom McNutt, president of Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers once stated, “the best thing to do is to erode their business as much as possible.”

According to UnionFacts.com: This is the slash-and-burn theory driving UFCW’s political-style PR offensive against Wal-Mart. Because the union has failed to organize workers at the chain, its leaders want to harm the company’s bottom line and its employees.

“Organizing is war,” according to longtime UFCW leader Joe Crump, and that means harassing nonunion employers and “costing them enough time and energy and money to either eliminate them or get them to surrender to the union.” He added that employers must be made to “pay for operating nonunion.” In an article titled “The Pressure is On: Organizing Without the NLRB,” Crump wrote:

After a three-year struggle, the battle with Family Foods is over. Do we represent the employees? No. The company went out of business … Perhaps even more important is the message that had been sent to nonunion competitors: There is no “free lunch” in our jurisdiction.

Speaking about the same campaign, former UFCW president Doug Dority argued that his union “must either reduce these chains’ market share … or we must put them out of business. There is no other option.”


The UFCW’s “Indecent Joy” at Taking Another Company Down

Bashas Supermarkets, Inc. had 14,000 employees not so long ago. To the UFCW, Bashas’ 14,000 employee workforce meant approximately $420,000 (at $30 per month) in union dues every month, or $5,040,000 every year. [The chain is now down to 10,000 employees.]

The problem was, the UFCW didn’t want the employees to vote on union representation through a secret-ballot, the UFCW wanted the Company to agree to “neutrality” and “card-check.” In essence, like a gang of rustlers trying to steal a rancher’s herd in the dead of night, the UFCW wanted the Bashas’ family to turn their employees over to the union without a fight.

Well, in Arizona, the land of the famous Apache Warrior-Chief Geronimo, the home of Wyatt Earp during the days when cowboys would settle scores with their pistols like at the gunfight at the OK Corral, companies are not too keen on selling their employees out to pushy union bosses, just because the union wants their dues.

The stage was set for an old-fashioned showdown. The mud was slung, the rustlers used their dirty tricks and, unfortunately in this case, the gang of rustlers outnumbered the rancher and his cowhands.

As a result, the UFCW can now claim victory in causing more grocery workers to lose jobs as an Arizona icon, Bashas Supermarkets, Inc., filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

According to the Arizona Republic, here is what this grocery chain has had to tolerate during the UFCW’s war to take away Bashas’ employees’ right to a secret-ballot:

Bashas’ is tormented…by an international labor union that now is taking indecent joy in the company’s woes.

The 1.4 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has conducted a years-long campaign to punish Bashas’ for daring to resist its efforts to unionize company workers.

The union manufactured a dubious “scandal” about baby food sold at Bashas’ stores. It launched a remorseless campaign, especially in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, to turn loyal Bashas’ customers away from the company.

It has organized rallies alleging, egregiously and falsely, that the Basha family is somehow anti-immigrant. It has spread baseless rumors about the cleanliness of Bashas’ warehouses. And it has conducted a leaflet campaign characterizing Bashas’ as a higher-cost supermarket than its competitors.

It would be one thing if any of the allegations against Bashas’ were proved. They are not. It would be another thing if the Bashas’ employees the union seeks to represent are underpaid compared with unionized workers elsewhere. They are not. Bashas’ workers actually make slightly more than local union-represented supermarket employees. [Emphasis added.]

No, the UFCW has worked diligently to hound customers out of Bashas’ stores because it has been denied what it desperately seeks: the estimated $30 to $50 per month it would reap in dues from each of Bashas’ 12,000 workers.

Did the union’s campaign play a significant role in driving Bashas’ into bankruptcy?

Certainly Proulx and Senior Vice President Edward “Trey” Basha believe so. They have collected a thick stack of union-produced anti-Bashas’ hate literature.

But while the true effect of UFCW’s campaign is (and, likely, will remain)unquantifiable, the level of union hostility directed toward the company, and even toward the Basha family directly, is indisputably astonishing.

Anti-immigrant? Anti-minority? Bashas’ food stores operate in neighborhoods and regions of the state where no other supermarket chain will go. The company has an entire division – Bashas’ Diné – devoted exclusively to Navajo Nation stores.

Bashas’ has much work to do to escape Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It would be good if it could climb out of its deep economic hole without fearing that union thugs will be waiting, laden with lies, up top.

A History of Dirty Tactics Used on Arizona’s Union-Free Chains

As the Republic notes:

The union lost a bid in 2002 to represent workers at Bashas’ Food City Hispanic markets and tried to organize the whole company in 2006 when Bashas’ changed its health-care plan without consulting the union.

In its bid to represent Bashas’ employees, the UFCW has used boycotts, pickets, tactics designed to scare customers and a raft of federal complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other agencies, Manning said.

Bashas’ countered with a 2007 defamation/racketeering lawsuit against the union that recently amended to include extortion. The suit alleges the union threatened to “destroy” Bashas’ with the same tactics it used on Southwest Supermarkets and MegaFoods, if it didn’t allow the UFCW in to represent its employees.

Southwest and MegaFoods were non-union stores, like Bashas’, that earlier filed for Chapter 11 protection and ultimately went out of business.

“We can’t force union representation on our employees,” Proulx said of the company’s decision not to let the union in. “That’s something they have a right to vote on.”

Sadly, while this Arizona icon falls, the biggest losers of all are Bashas’ employees and the citizens of the Grand Canyon state.

Note: The writer of this post grew up in Arizona and, from time to time, would shop at Bashas’.

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Filed under Arizona, Bashas, UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers

After Five Week Strike, UAW Returns to Bell Helicopters Unhappy

The United Auto Workers who had been on strike for five weeks against their employer Bell Helicopters voted to ratify their employer’s latest offer on Wednesday by a two to one margin.

However, according to the Dallas Business Journal, the only changes from the company’s previous offer was of the contract’s length and a lower ratification bonus.

Joe Graham, President of UAW 218 told the Dallas paper that “the union tested the water for almost six weeks waiting for a better deal, but sometimes the final offer from the company is the one that stands.”

Graham said the contract’s main change is the fact that it runs for four years instead of three. The contract includes a 3 percent general wage increase in the second, third and fourth years. The ratification bonus included in the contract has been lowered to $3,500, which is down from the $4,500 bonus proposed in the original offer, Graham said.

Graham told the Dallas Business Journal he believes the contract was ratified because workers wanted to return to their jobs. When asked if the contract was the union’s ideal, he said, “Not by a long shot. I had to endorse it because people wanted something to vote on,” he added. “It’s not the best contract, it’s just the best one we had to vote on this time.”

According to Star-Telegram.com:

By a ratio of 2-to-1, members of United Auto Workers Local 218 approved a deal that almost all agreed is less attractive than the one they rejected by a nearly identical vote June 14.

Tom Wells, chairman of Local 218, conceded that the strike didn’t result in a better contract. “It got worse,” Wells said.

A midlevel union member making $24.94 an hour would have lost nearly $1,000 a week in wages during the strike. That was only partially replaced by union strike benefits of about $200 a week. They were also without health insurance.

“I think it’s the worst contract we could ever have,” said David McKee, a bonding inspector with 10 years at Bell, who said he voted no. “They took away part of our bonus, and they took away part of our insurance.”

Unlike their UAW counterparts in Detroit, at least these Texans have jobs to go back to.

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Filed under Bell Helicopters, UAW, United Auto Workers

AMERICA’S NEXT BAILOUT BEGINS: 70,000 UAW-Negotiated Pensions Dumped on U.S.

Our federal government just acquired new debt on Wednesday when Delphi and General Motors dumped 70,000 (mostly) UAW workers onto the underfunded Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC).

The PBGC, itself $33.5 Billion underfunded, will assume control of the retirees pensions and, unfortunately the taxpayers will likely be picking up the tab.

According to ABCNews12, who broke the story:

UAW Local 699 President Troy Newberry says the phone has been ringing off the hook at the union hall since word got out.

He says the No. 1 concern is whether retirees under the age of 62 will keep their supplemental pension benefits.

Those benefits are paid until a retirees reaches their social security age. According to the PBGC, that supplement likely will not be continued.

But the UAW folks say they’re still not sure about that. We’re also told that the international union is working on what to do next.

And while the hourly UAW workers and retirees say this is a complete shock, the salaried folks feared this day was coming for months.

Wednesday a few hundred salaried retirees met to talk about the loss of their health and life insurance benefits that they lost back on April 1.

Since that time, many worried cuts to their pensions would be next. Wednesday that concern become a reality.

Unfortunately, for these workers, they may only receive pennies on the dollar owed to them unless President Obama promises to make them whole in order to appease the UAW once again. In either case, the American taxpayers are going to be footing the bill.

To make matters worse, this is just the beginning as more and more union pension funds begin to go belly up.

For a current list of pension funds in critical status, go here.

Hat-tip to Jim Gray.

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Filed under PBGC, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, UAW, United Auto Workers