June 15, 1998 -- Vol. 1, Issue 1
Due to the campaign money-laundering scandal which funneled at least $538,100 into the disgraced Carey reelection campaign, Teamsters will vote this fall for a new president. On Jun. 3, U.S. District Judge David Edelstein set Oct. 14 as the date for the mail-in ballots to be tallied.
The Court has already disqualified Carey
from the rerun. Likely candidates for president are James P. Hoffa,
Carey's 1996 opponent, and Tom Leedham who has the support of
the influential liberal-activist group, Teamsters for a Democratic
Union, as well as many other Carey supporters.
Related news: Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), chairman of the House committee looking into Teamsters corruption, told the Detroit News on Jun. 9, "I don't want the election to go forward with the conditions that exist today. I just don't know how you can run an honest election in this environment."
His concerns are a reminder of the $20 million of taxpayer funds that were squandered by the last election. The Justice Department, under Congressional pressure, is appealing a court ruling that the government has to pay for the rerun election which is estimate to cost $8.4 million. "I don't want taxpayers to be fleeced one more time," said Hoekstra.
*Business Week [06/15/98] reported that top
DNC/Clinton-Gore fundraiser Terrence McAuliffe's conversations
with 2 Democratic party staffers about a possible swap scheme
with the Teamsters during the 1996 election are now "the
focus of a federal grand jury in Manhattan that is investigating
whether Democratic fundraisers conspired
to find donors for Carey's campaign in hopes of getting back hefty
*Business Week also said sources "close
to the investigation said the U.S. Attorney is interested in whether
[an AFL-CIO] credit-card deal played a role in the swap schemes."
McAuliffe and Carey campaign consultant Martin Davis, who plead
guilty to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, embezzlement and
making false statements to the court- appointed Teamsters election
officer, were both under contract to "lobby the AFL-CIO Executive
Council to switch its union credit card program" to Household
International bank.a Jun. 3 ruling, Judge Edelstein rejected a
Carey appeal of his disqualification from the rerun election.
Separately, the Teamsters Independent Review Board was scheduled
to meet Jun. 9 to discuss Carey's possible expulsion or suspension
from the union. A decision is expected shortly. [BNA Daily Labor
6 Teamsters were arrested in connection with a 14-man crime-ring that was stealing and reselling electronic equipment, clothing and jewelry in N.Y. Each faces up to 10 years in prison. Many of the stolen items were sold to an undercover FBI agent in 67 transactions according to U.S. District Court records. The 6 were UPS drivers. UPS notified the FBI that it had suspected criminal activity. [A.P. 06/11/98]
The Port of Hueneme, near L.A., was shut down on Jun. 1 due to a violent Teamsters strike sparked by a dispute over 2 forklift workers' salaries. The reportedly illegal strike idled hundreds of workers and stranded 3 cargo-laden ships.
Police were present to stop Teamsters* violence
against Longshoremen wishing to cross the picket line. All 250
members of the International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's
Union honored the picket line until an arbitrator ruled that the
strike was illegal ordering them back to work.
Dozens of Longshoremen moved toward the picket line but retreated after threats and chants of "No scabs! no scabs!" were hurled by the Teamsters. ILWU leaders invoked a health/safety clause of their contract ordering members not to cross the violent picket line. Local 186 Teamsters' boss, Bill Elder is not reported to have denounced the violence. He just stated that the salary offer was 40% less than they wanted "and we can*t accept it." [L.A. Times & Ventura Co. Star 06/02/98]
Rep. Harris W. Fawell (R-IL), chairman of
a House subcommittee examining union abuses against members, sent
letter to Laborers Int'l. Union of North America president Arthur
A. Coia, warning him against acts of retaliation against individuals testifying before the
Coia as long-been suspected of being under the influence of organized crime. In 1997, LIUNA's in-house prosecutor filed charges against Coia for knowingly associating with organized crime and permitting organized crime to influence LIUNA affairs. "We can not, and will not, tolerate any retaliation against any witness and we will take every step necessary and possible to protect them," wrote Fawell in the May 27 letter.
Stephen Manos, vice-president LIUNA Local 230 in Hartford, told the committee his Congressional testimony has "further exacerbated" acts of harassment, intimidation and retaliation against him, including a recent complaint filed in U.S. District Court by Local 230*s business manager Charles LeConche accusing him of defamation for appearing before Congress.
Manos testified that the LeConche physically
assaulted him and literally threw him out of a board meeting for
questioning union expenditures.
LIUNA's in-house prosecutor Robert D. Luskin,
who is responsible for the integrity of LIUNA's "internal
reform effort," admitted to being paid about $4 million from
LIUNA since Nov. 1994 in the Jun. 7 Washington Post. It's a rare
public account of what LIUNA has paid to Luskin and his 11-lawyer
firm.$4 million over 44 months (11/94 to 06/98) equals $90,909
a month, or... $1,090,909 a year... $20,979 a week... $4,196 a
day...$524 a hour (at 40 hours a week)... $8.74 a minute... all
thanks to the mandatory unions dues of LIUNA members. Note too
that LIUNA is not Luskin's only client.
On May 29, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
upheld the firings of 2 LIUNA electricians at Orlando's airport
for reportedly falsifying payroll records. The records in question
show the 2 collected $34,000 for over 1,500 hours of allegedly
bogus overtime. LIUNA Local 678's appeal for reinstatement was
rejected, and the local's business agent said the LIUNA's executive
board may seek a federal arbitrator to intervene. [Orlando Sentinel
05/06 & 05/30/98]
2 Boston LIUNA bosses were recently charged
in U.S. District Court with criminal offenses arising from violations
of pension and labor laws. U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern announced
that Joseph P. Mandarini and his father, Louis A. Mandarini, Sr.,
were charged respectively, in a criminal information with making false statements
in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and
with failing to file financial disclosure documents required by
federal labor law. J. Mandarini is the Sergeant-At-Arms of LIUNA
Local 22, and L. Mandarini is the Business Manager of Local 22
and Board of Trustees Chairman of the MA Laborers' Pension Fund.
At the root of the complex scheme is the
charge that MJM Asbestos Abatement, Inc., which employed LIUNA
members and was a wholly-owned Mandarini business, had not paid
approximately $120,000 in pension, health and welfare, and other
ERISA benefits which it was obligated to pay to LIUNA members.
According to Rep. Hoekstra's subcommittee,
the bosses of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile
Employees are profiting from their members job losses due to a
special industry proviso in federal labor law.
The May 27 report states UNITE receives "liquated damages" from companies for contract breaches which include relocating production overseas. UNITE treats the payments as its own since no explicit obligation exists to distribute the money to its members."So as contracts leave the country and UNITE's members lose their jobs, UNITE itself continues to receive 'a piece of the action'... Over the past few decades garment unions have lost more than half of their membership to
overseas competition. Yet during that same time, UNITE and its predecessors became the richest of all unions, as measured on an assets per member basis. UNITE not only on owns the Amalgamated Bank of New York, but also owns much prime real estate in New York City. Despite its wealth, UNITE's fully vested pensions, we are told, are worth an average of only $85 per month," said the report.
Hoekstra's committee is also monitoring a
RICO suit filed against UNITE in N.Y. and a separate suit by CA
employees. Also, a FBI probe recently had 12 members and associates
of the Luchese, Gambino & Genovese crime families indicted
for an extortion racket in N.Y.'s garment district. Though no
UNITE officials have been indicted, the FBI has said the investigation
will probably go "into the union."
Lawrence J. Cohen, President Clinton's and
the unions' choice for general counsel of the National Labor Relations
Board, will not be approved predicted Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK)
and Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR). Both Senators statements came
at the Associated Builders & Contractor's legislative conference
on Jun. 10.
"We aren't quitting until we kick the
butt of Northwest Airlines." * AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer
Richard L. Trumka at a union rally near Minn.-St. Paul's airport
[Star Tribune 05/23/98]. NWA pilots authorized a strike in May.
Trumka invoked the 5th Amendment to avoid federal investigators'
questions on the Teamsters scandal. Allegedly, he routed $200,000 to Carey's campaign.
In a June 2 letter, the Developmental Disabilities
Council, a New Jersey watchdog group on state policy, accused
the Communications Workers of America of threatening to expose
the names of group home residents who have criminal records or
a history of behavior problems in order to halt the closing of
state institutions for the disabled. The group*s director Ethan
Ellis said, "This degrades the public images of people with
developmental disabilities irreparably. It is going to take years
to repair that damage." [Bergen Co. Record 06/03/98]
On June 3 in St. Louis, a U.S. District Judge had Service Employees Int'l. Union Local 50 to reinstated its ex-president William Stodghill. He was ousted from office and the union in 1996 amid allegations of wrongly spending the union's funds for his personal expenses. Current local
president Don Rudd said, "Stodghill
was found guilty of improperly using members' money at four separate
hearings held by the union. Nothing in the Judge's ruling disputes
that fact." Stodghill intends to regain the presidency in
the local's election this summer. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch 06/04 & 06/05/98]
In an effort to lure members away from the
United Industry Workers Local 424, SEIU Local 1212 based in Queens,
NY made false claims about its size and strength according to
Jun. 10 Newsday article. It claimed to be the largest transportation
union in N.Y. state and its fliers stated: "Local 1212 knows
your industry and has negotiated many outstanding contracts for
employees just like you...We have a staff of over 30 business
agents in the New York area, with 14 residing in Suffolk County."
However, Newsday*s examination of the union*s
financial reports filed with the Labor Department destroy the
claims. The report shows the union has only 5 officers and employees.
Far from being N.Y.'s largest transportation union, the local,
which was founded 3 years ago, has only 94 members. And, it is
unclear whether any members are in the transportation industry
according to Newsday.
In N.Y., Lawrence Germano former associate
director and executive director of Council 82 of the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was indicted
on Jun. 5 on federal charges of defrauding union members through
a computer-consulting scam in 1993-94. The 14-count indictment
included Germano's two brothers-in-law. This same AFSCME council
had four bosses ousted in 1995 for misusing about $450,000 of
union funds for out-of-state trips and visits to strip bars. [Albany
Times Union 06/06/98]
Vice-President Albert Gore, Jr. had an "unusual"
close-door meeting on Jun. 5 with 3 union bosses including AFL-CIO
President John J. Sweeney and AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee
to discuss opposition to the proposed Freedom From Government
Competition Act. McEntee has been implicated in the Teamsters money-laundering scandal. According
U.S. District Court records, McEntee raised $20,000 for Ron Carey's
reelection campaign which allegedly violated the ban on solicitation
of funds for Teamsters candidates by union officials outside the
Teamsters. [Washington Post 06/10/98]
L.A. Police arrested 37 members of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union, many disguised in caps and gowns, for unruly demonstrations during the University of Southern California's commencement. The demonstration was part of an on-going strike against USC. USC spokesman James Elmendorf said, "it's extremely tragic that this group would destroy, or attempt to destroy, one of the most significant days in the lives of the students and their families." [City News Service 05/08/98]
Announced May 26, Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman will be investigated by Independent Counsel Ralph I. Lancaster, Jr. for an alleged swap scheme that traded campaign contributions to the DNC for favors to a business in which she had a financial interest during her time on the White House staff.
Herman is the 7th top Clinton administration
official to be investigated by an independent counsel over suspected
criminal activity. [Washington Times 05/27/98]
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In addition to the unions and organizations
covered in this Union Corruption Update, readers can look forward
to news and information on the United Food & Commercial Workers,
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Education
Association/American Federation of Teachers, the United Auto Workers and other corrupt
and abusive unions in future editions.
If you have ideas or suggestions for future editions of Union Corruption Update, please email NLPC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Union Corruption Update is part of NLPC*s Organized Labor Accountability Project which is investigating and exposing corruption in the Teamsters, LIUNA, AFL-CIO and many other labor organizations. NLPC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation promoting ethics and accountability in government through research, education and legal action.
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