The Summer is heating up, and so are the union corruption scandals. Check out the latest labor rackets below:
In Oklahoma, Thomas Burkhart, former President of United Steelworkers Local 145 (located in Sapulpa, Okla.), was sentenced to 36 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay $19,900 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. On April 8, 2021, Burkhart pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of union funds.
In Wisconsin, George Bindas Jr., former President of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1295 (located in Milwaukee, Wisc.), was charged with seven counts of theft from an employee benefit plan totaling $77,019 and seven counts of embezzlement of union funds totaling $6,598.
In Michigan, Vance Pearson, former Regional Director of United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 5 (formerly located in St. Louis, Mo.), was sentenced to 12 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release. Pearson was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment fee. On February 7, 2020, Pearson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle union funds and to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid a racketeering enterprise.
In California, Rachel Marie Gleason, former Treasurer of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (SMART) Local 1700 (located in Perris, Calif.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and theft of union assets.
In Kentucky, Linda Carter Shepherd, former Financial Secretary of Steelworkers Local 14637 (located in Hazard, Ky.), pleaded guilty to a one-count information of embezzlement of union funds totaling $39,492.
In Michigan, Brian Rittenhouse, former Financial Secretary of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1320 (located in Grandville, Mich.), was sentenced to two years of probation. Rittenhouse was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $100 special assessment. Rittenhouse previously paid $1,425 in restitution. On March 10, 2021, Rittenhouse pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement.
In Missouri, Yvette Luster, former Treasurer of Postal Mail Handlers Local 314 (located in St. Louis, Mo.), pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets.
In Ohio, Anthony F. Rockman, Secretary Treasurer of Textile Workers Local 1 (located in Cleveland, Ohio), was charged in a one-count information with destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.
In Michigan, Gary Jones, former President of United Auto Workers (UAW), located in Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to 28 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release. As part of the sentence, Jones was also ordered to pay $550,000 in restitution, a $10,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment fee. Jones was also ordered to forfeit $153,257, a custom-made set of Titleist golf clubs, and various golf clothing and equipment. The $153,257 included $31,000 in cash, $83,613 held in Jones’ “Flower Fund” account, and $38,644 from Jones’ Members in Solidarity account. The Members in Solidarity account was intended for use in internal UAW political campaigns. On June 3, 2020, Jones pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle more than $1 million in union funds and use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering activity, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
In South Carolina, Nathan Grimes, former correspondence secretary and office manager for Stage and Picture Operators Local 333 (located in Charleston, S.C.), was indicted for embezzlement of union funds and wire fraud.
In California, Scott Wilson, former Information Technology Director for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 3 (located in Alameda, Calif.), was charged in a one-count information with embezzlement of labor organization assets.