Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

News Roundup: NBA Union Corruption Is A Slam Dunk

NBA Players Association Releases Report On Union Director

Professional sports players unions are unique, but their corrupt union leadership seems to be quite ordinary. An independent report released last week looked into the activities of the union’s executive director, Billy Hunter, following calls by player-president Derek Fisher to investigate Hunter and the executive committee. That, in turn, prompted a subpoena order from the U.S. Attorney in New York.

While determining that Hunter’s actions were not criminal, the investigators said that, “at times, Mr. Hunter took actions that were inconsistent with his fiduciary obligations to the NBPA, displayed poor judgment, paid little attention to the appearance of impropriety that his conduct could foreseeably create and did not properly manage conflicts of interest.”

For example, the report noted problems of self-dealing—such as when Hunter accepted $1.3 million from the union for vacation time that was not adequately tracked—and nepotism—notably his hiring of his daughter and other relatives.

A few other highlights, per Mike Antonucci of Intercepts:

Over the past ten years, Mr. Hunter has spent more than $100,000 in Union funds to purchase luxury items as gifts for members of the Executive Committee. On some occasions, he gave presents such as alligator belts, gold cuff links and Louis Vuitton bags to members of the Committee, and he established a tradition of giving expensive watches (each costing more than $13,000) to NBPA Presidents when they retired from serving the Union.

Hunter considers attending basketball games part of his work for the NBPA…

Hunter said that he counted any day in which he worked more than four hours as a work day, including a day in which his sole Union business consisted of attending a basketball game and visiting with players…In addition, Hunter believes that attending social events where NBA players congregate qualifies as work. For instance, he considered it official business to attend a reception to celebrate the renewal of Theo Ratliff’s wedding vows in July 2008 and a birthday party for Chris Paul in May 2010.

The NBA players should continue digging into their executive director’s activities—or at least announce that being their union executive director is the greatest job in the world.

California Public Sector Union Members Continue Dominance of Pension Board

The president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5, Ron Lind, is the newest board member of CalPERS, the state agency that handles state employee pensions. Lind is the sixth board member, out of a total of 13, who is a current or former government union employee. Lind is particularly notable, however, because his union led a strike against the grocery store, Raley’s, in November.

Categories: Center for Union FactsCrime & CorruptionNews