Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

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  1. Union Lawyer David Rosenfeld Reveals His True Motives

    For months, we’ve suspected that union attorney David Rosenfeld is not truly interested in “conflict of interest” at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He’s just opposed to any rulings that are not overwhelmingly pro-union.

    Well, our suspicions were recently confirmed. A partner at the pro-union law firm Weinberg, Roger, & Rosenfeld and longtime Elizabeth Warren ally, Rosenfeld has now publicly declared that all of the NLRB’s Republican members should sit out board cases. In his words: “Chairman Ring and members Emanuel and Kaplan should immediately cease deciding any board cases.” Describing the NLRB’s Republicans as “outrageous[ly] pro-employer,” Rosenfeld found time to express support for the Board’s two Democratic members—Lauren McFerran and Mark Gaston Pearce—and defend their right to preside over future NLRB cases because “they will not put up with this self-expressed prejudice.”

    Rather than upholding decades of legal precedent, Rosenfeld’s modus operandi is to smear NLRB members whom he deems a threat to his union clients—if you disagree with him, just go away. This is the same union lawyer who was publicly “admonished” by the Board for “continually referring to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation as the ‘Right to Freeload Committee,’ ‘The National Right to Shirk Legal Defense Foundation,’ or variations thereon.” As we’ve covered before, Rosenfeld referred to National Right to Work attorneys as “Shirkers.”

    The NLRB was not amused. According to the NLRB’s Executive Secretary at the time, the Board “found such offensive epithets inappropriate and a manifest disrespect for the Board’s processes.” Rosenfeld was warned that, if the behavior continued, he could face “possible prosecution” by the Justice Department. (You can see the NLRB documents here.)

    It takes a special (and shockingly biased) kind of labor lawyer to be condemned by a bipartisan NLRB. Rosenfeld somehow accomplished it.

    Categories: NLRB
  2. Labor Racket Weekly: Spring Sadness

    Spring is here, but it’s only brought sadness for the labor movement. Over the last few weeks, the Department of Labor has noted numerous criminal enforcement actions involving longtime union officials. You can read them here:

    • On April 4th, 2018, in the Superior Court of New Jersey (Passaic County), Sharon Williams-Savage, Former President of AFGE Local 2425, (located in East Orange, N.J.) pled guilty to one count of fourth-degree theft by unlawful taking, in violation of NJSA 2C: 20 – 3.
    • On March 29th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division, Tyler Farrar, former Financial Secretary for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 88C (located in Bastrop, La.), was charged in a one count indictment for embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    • On March 28th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, Ronald Coldren, former Financial Secretary of Steelworkers Local 207 (located in Findlay, Ohio), pled guilty to one count of embezzlement in the amount of $30,639, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    • On March 26th, 2018, in the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, Paul Moe Sr., a former general foreman and member of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), Local 1804-1 (located in North Bergen, N.J.) was sentenced to 24-months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Moe was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $749,000.  On October 31, 2017, after a seven-day trial, a jury found Moe guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 13 substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 1343, stemming from his no-show job at the Port of Elizabeth terminal in New Jersey, with an annual salary of $500,000.
    • On March 23rd, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Estes Evans, former treasurer of International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local R7-33 (located in Milwaukee, Wis.), was sentenced to six months of home confinement and five years of supervised release. Evans was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $44,446.86 and a $100 special assessment. On December 22, 2017, Evans pled guilty to one count of embezzling $44,446.86 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    • On March 20th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Michael A. Taylor, former General Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 815 (located in Joliet, Ill.), pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with embezzling $24,868.80 in union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    Categories: Labor Racket WeeklyUFCW
  3. Newt Gingrich: Pass the ERA

    In a recent FoxNews.com op-ed column, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised the Employee Rights Act’s (ERA) reforms, noting their popularity across party lines. Gingrich urged Congress to pass the ERA this year. Here’s what he wrote:

    Another good legislative goal for Republicans would be passing the Employee Rights Act. This is a no-brainer for GOP candidates running in union-controlled states because–among other things–it guarantees most employees’ rights to have secret paper ballot elections, prevents unions from pressuring employers against such elections, and requires routine secret ballot referendums to let employees decide if they want to remain unionized.

     

    Nationally, a poll by the Opinion Research Corporation found that protecting secret-ballot elections is supported by 79 percent of union households and 81 percent of non-union households. Even 81 percent of Democrats polled agreed that most employees should have the right to secret ballot elections. The ORC poll also found that 71 percent of union households supported periodic elections to recertify unions, and 83 percent of non-union households supported these referendums.

     

    Importantly, these ideas polled high in some important states–Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Seventy-two percent of union households in these states supported secret ballots, and 68 percent approved of routine recertification elections.

     

    Republicans in right-to-work states should also support the Employee Rights Act. According to the Center for Union Facts, unions directed more than $1.1 billion in union dues to liberal political groups from 2010 to 2016. The Democratic Governors Association and Planned Parenthood were among the top ten recipients. Much of this money is being spent to strengthen union influence and bring more and more states under union control.

     

    The Employee Rights Act would require unions to get prior permission from workers before union dues are spent on anything other than collective bargaining. This political protection provision has resounding support–81 percent in union households, 85 percent in non-union households, and 79 percent in union homes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

    Categories: Employee Rights Act
  4. Labor Racket Weekly: More March Misery

    In union America, corruption is par for the course. Just visit the Department of Labor’s (DOL) website, which keeps tabs on various forms of union wrongdoing. March was yet another busy month for the DOL:

    • On March 14th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, John Hamilton, former business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 324 (located in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), was sentenced to 24 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release.  Hamilton was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $250,000 and a $100 special assessment.  On August 18, 2017, Hamilton pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 and 18 U.S.C. 1951.
    • On March 9th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Kimberly Steinhoff, former Secretary-Treasurer of Steelworkers Local 2-87 (located in Munising, Mich.), was sentenced and ordered to immediately pay $10,651.52 in restitution, a $2,500 fine, and a $25 special assessment.  On January 11, 2018, Steinhoff pled guilty to a one-count information of falsification of financial records required to be kept by a labor union, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 439(c).
    • On March 7th, 2018, in the City of Chicago, IL, Cook County Court, Milton Thomas, former Shop Chairman of Auto Workers Local 890 (located in Morton Grove, Ill.), was indicted on one count of Theft, Class 2 of between $10,000 to $100,000 in violation of Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(2) and Forgery 720 ILCS 5.0/17-3(a)(2) for making unauthorized checks payable to himself for lost wages and for forging union disbursement vouchers.
    • On March 6th, 2018, in the Summers County West Virginia Court, Steven Brumit, former secretary treasurer of the Locomotive Engineers, IBT, West Virginia State Legislative Board (formerly located in Hinton, W. Va.), was indicted on one count of embezzling in excess of $6,433.76 in violation of West Virginia Code 61-3-20 and felonious fraudulent scheme for writing 13 unauthorized checks to himself.
    • On March 2nd, 2018, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Rocky DeFilippo, former delegate of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 189 (located in Metuchen, N.J.), was found guilty by a federal jury of:  one count of making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349; and one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343.
    • On March 1st, 2018, in the Montana First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, Mackenzie Dworshak, former Treasurer for American Federation of Teachers Local 6105 (located in Helena, Mont.), pled guilty to one count of Theft of Property by Embezzlement in violation of Montana Code Annotated (2015) 45-6-301(7)(a).
    Categories: Labor Racket Weekly
  5. NUMMI Anniversary Puts Spotlight on UAW Woes

    This weekend marks the eighth anniversary of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) closing its Fremont, California plant. It’s a sobering reminder of the UAW’s less-then-favorable legacy.

    NUMMI opened in 1984 as a joint venture of General Motors and Toyota, a successor to a GM plant that opened in 1962 and closed in 1982 under UAW oversight. In its original incarnation, the plant was one of GM’s worst. According to University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Liker, who interviewed workers and management for his research on NUMMI, the plant was a cesspool of alcohol, drugs, sex, and other illicit behavior. In his words: “One of the expressions was, you can buy anything you want in the GM plant in Fremont. If you want sex, if you want drugs, if you want alcohol, it’s there. During breaks, during lunch time, if you want to gamble illegally—any illegal activity was available for the asking within that plant.”

    And it all happened under the UAW’s watch. If anything, the union only made things worse: “Under the union contract, it was almost impossible to fire anybody, and if management ticked off the union, workers could just shut the plant down in minutes.” The UAW also encouraged employees to file unnecessary grievances. As NPR reporter Frank Langfitt put it: “Someone who isn’t your boss asks you to clean something up? Hit him with a grievance. A manager steps in to do a job that isn’t his? Grievance. The strategy was simple. Pile up grievances real or imagined by the thousands, then use them to squeeze money or concessions out of management.”

    The NUMMI incarnation of the plant had its own problem. Between 2003 and 2009, the safety incidence rate in the plant was as much as 55 percent higher than the industry average. It’s ironic that the UAW is now claiming a union contract will improve safety conditions at Tesla’s Fremont plant—when the union presided over below-average safety conditions at the same plant for years.

    The UAW desperately needs an organizing win in the auto industry. Its membership numbers are up this year, but even the union admits that the growth can be traced to graduate students rather than auto workers. (No wonder its dues dollars are down.) The union has spent six-figures sums on its organizing campaign against Tesla, but if recent past is precedent, the campaign will go the same route as its failed efforts in Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee.

    Lawmakers should take note of the UAW’s checkered California past. Given the lessons of NUMMI and GM’s Fremont plant before it, why does the union deserve another chance at California’s only auto plant? Three wrongs don’t make a right.

    Categories: UAW
  6. CUF Launches New “Subway Scam” Campaign

    The Center for Union Facts (CUF) has officially launched “Subway Scam,” highlighting the trade unions that have made New York’s subway system dirty, delayed, and dangerous. The new campaign focuses specifically on the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) of Greater New York—namely BCTC President Gary LaBarbera—whose member unions’ expensive and wasteful contracts with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) increase transit construction costs and take valuable resources away from subway repairs and upgrades.

    CUF has released the new website SubwayScam.com, in addition to billboards and full-page advertisements in New York City. To mark the campaign’s launch, CUF has erected two Midtown billboards, which you can see here and here. CUF is also running a full-page ad in today’s amNYNew York Post, and New York Daily News. (You can see the ad here.)

    According to a recent New York Times investigation, BCTC member unions’ contracts have plagued the MTA with “excessive staffing, little competition, generous contracts, and archaic rules.” The MTA’s subway system boasts the highest construction costs in the world, with the cost of the “East Side Access” Long Island Rail Road project projected at $3.5 billion per new mile of track—seven times the global average. Filled with no show-no work jobs, New York transit construction projects are staffed by four times more laborers than anywhere else in the world. Yet, as the Times put it, “labor deals multiply costs while doing little to boost safety.”

    For more information, visit SubwayScam.com. You should also watch our new video:

    Categories: Building and Construction Trades Council
  7. Labor Racket Weekly: February Fails

    Shocker: America’s unions are not getting any less corrupt. In February, the Labor Department noted numerous union scandals, including alleged embezzlement cases and the misuse of member dues.

    Here they are:

    • On February 13th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Pamela Noble, former Financial Secretary for Steelworkers Local 6904 (located in Little Rock, Ark.), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $43,274.97, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    • On February 12th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Raymond C. Ventrone, former Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.) was sentenced to 41 months incarceration followed by 3 years of supervised released and ordered to pay $2,391,183 in restitution to Boilermakers Local 154 and $500,000 restitution to Zurich Surety for embezzlement of union funds. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $223,881 to the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion. On September 14th, 2017, Ventrone pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c) and one count of tax evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7201.
    • On February 12th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Ryan Jones, former Secretary-Treasurer of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S-6 (located in Bath, Maine), was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The court also ordered Jones to pay restitution totaling $280,865. On September 6th, 2017, Jones pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    • On February 7th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, Robert Clearwater, former President for the National Association of Government Employees Local 14-8 (located in Topeka, Kansas), was indicted on one count of embezzlement in the amount of $11,681 within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C 661 and six counts of false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C 1001.
    • On February 6th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Monica Morgan, the wife of the late General Holiefield, a former Vice President of the United Auto Workers (UAW) International Union (located in Detroit, Mich.), pled guilty to failing to report $201,231 in income she received on her 2011 individual tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. 7206(1). The sentencing is scheduled for June 4th, 2018.
    • On February 6th, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Glenn Smith, the former Controller of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters (MRCC) (located in Detroit, Mich.), was sentenced to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $534,097. On October 3rd, 2017, Smith pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds, in violation of 29 U.S.C. 501(c).
    Categories: Labor Racket WeeklyUAW
  8. Airbnb Secures a Union Deal—And the Baggage Coming With It

    Airbnb recently secured a deal with the United Auto Workers (UAW), which won a union contract covering nearly 150 cafeteria workers at four Airbnb facilities.

    Winning union approval wasn’t smooth sailing. In 2016, a controversial deal between Airbnb and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) fell apart after backlash from the hotel union UNITE HERE, which has long criticized the company for competing with the hotel industry—and its many dues-paying employees. After the 2016 deal apart, a UNITE HERE spokeswoman praised the outcome and pledged “to vigorously oppose any efforts by Airbnb to expand and push for common-sense laws to mitigate the devastating impact this company has had on our communities.” The union similarly balked at the UAW deal, calling it “another manipulative attempt by a company dealing with one public relations crisis after another.”

    So what should Airbnb expect from the UAW? To put it bluntly, the worst. From sexual harassment allegations to union corruption, the UAW’s baggage is difficult to miss. Female employees at a UAW-represented Ford plant in Chicago have accused union officials on engaging in and enabling sexual harassment for years. In the words of one employee: “What the UAW can do is stop protecting their own and really start protecting and serving the people that they collect their dues from.”

    Then there’s the corruption. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating the misuse of UAW training center funds, which has already implicated union officials. As we’ve covered before, former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, have been indicted and accused of violating the Labor Management Relations Act. They allegedly participated in a $4.5 million scheme that siphoned training funds earmarked for blue-collar workers and spent the money on a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, one private jet, two limited edition Mont Blanc pens costing $75,000, and other luxuries.

    But the union refuses to hold its leadership accountable. One of the UAW officials of interest to the FBI—Vice President Cindy Estrada—was recently re-nominated for her current position.

    Workers are understandably wary of the union. In 2017, the UAW sustained a series of costly organizing losses, including at a Mississippi-based Nissan plant and at the Fuyao Glass plant in Ohio. In both cases, employees rejected union representation by a two-to-one margin.

    Airbnb should be just as wary of the UAW—and the many skeletons in its closet.

    Categories: SEIUUAWUNITE HERE