Friday, July 13, 2007

US: Top 10 Labor Union Corruption Stories of 2006

Top 10 Labor Corruption Stories of 2006
Horowitz, Carl F


TOP 10

The National Conservative Weekly® * Est. 1944

1 Mexican Standoff

To protest pending border-security legislation, Mexican ethnic politicians organized huge demonstrations early this spring in major U.S. cities. They got help from unions such as Service Employees International Union Local 1877, which provided security for Los Angeles rallies. Until the mid-1980s, organized labor was on the right side of the immigration issue.

2 Corporate Campaigns

For decades, labor has been a prime mover behind "corporate campaigns," which target a supposedly irresponsible company with such actions as strikes, negative publicity, demonstrations and boycotts-usually all at once-until it caves in. California health care provider Sutler Health went to court to fight a smear campaign by laundry workers' union, UNITE HERE, winning a $17.3-milliun judgment.

3 Teacher Unions Pension Settlement

In New York, mutual fund managers and public school teacher union bosses enjoyed a quid pro quo amounting to legalized graft: Union officials steered member pension funds toward certain investments, and managers paid the bosses lavish promotional fees, charging member accounts high fees in the process. Then-Ally. Gen. Eliot Spitzer forced a $30-million consent decree from financial services firm ING.

4 Grand Theft in Puerto Rico

Union officials and business associates of International Longshoremen's Association affiliate UTM 1740 were sentenced for stealing as much as $10 million, while underreporting another $1.5 million. That was Puerto Rico's smaller labor scandal. Leaders of Union lndcpendicnte Autentica, representing water and sewer workers, were convicted and sentenced for embezzling, laundering and covering up nearly $15.3 million in union funds.

5 New Books

Last year witnessed publication of three books on union corruption: Robert Fitch's Solidarity for Sale, James Jacobs' Mobsters, Unions and Feus, and Phillip Wilson's Union Corruption and the Law. Each volume offers juicy stories and recommendations for reform. Knowledge is power.

6 New York City Minority Contracting Shakedowns

The Manhattan D.A.'s Office arraigned four minority-hiring "consultants" who extorted payoffs from contractors and workers, often vandalizing or shutting down construction projects whose contractors didn't "cooperate." Two defendants belonged to Laborers Local 731. Another example of why affirmative action can't be "fixed," and why unions won't allow it to be.

7 Child 'Longshoremen' in Boston

For years, Boston's Longshoremen locals put children on shipping company payrolls to qualify them for "seniority" upon reaching adulthood. It was an expensive and illegal dockworker tax. Massachusetts Ally. Gen. Tom Reilly launched a probe in 2005. resulting in a combined 118 indictments against 20 individuals last summer.

8 Auto Workers Officials Convicted

During a 1997 strike by General Motors assembly workers in Pontiac, Mich., officials of United Auto Workers Local 594 demanded the automaker put family and friends on the payroll to buy peace. Union rank and file, feeling they'd been had, later filed a class-action suit. Last year, a federal jury convicted two union officials for extortion.

9 New York City Roofers Come Clean

Roofers Local 8 admitted before the New York State Supreme Court, through its lawyer, having ties to the Genovese crime family. Family capo John Barbato had led a shakedown crew of city contractors to buy labor "peace" while lining the mob's pockets.

10 New York Labor Official-Politician Arrested

Brian McLaughlin served as New York State assemblyman (Queens) and president of the New York City Central Labor Council. Along the way, say feds in a racketeering suit, he helped himself to $2.2 million through embezzlement, bribery and kickbacks. McLaughlin resigned as CLC head.

Compiled by Carl F. Horowitz, director of the Organized Labor Accountability Project, National Legal and Policy Center, a Falls Church, Va., nonprofit group dedicated to promoting ethics in public life.

Copyright Human Events Publishing, Inc. Jan 22, 2007
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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