On August 16, 2018, The U.S. Justice Department Announced That Two Men In Indiana Were Being Charged With Labor-Related Extortion Offenses. “Two Indiana men are charged with labor-related extortion offenses in a three-count Indictment unsealed today, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana, Special Agent in Charge James Vanderberg of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General’s Chicago Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office.” (U.S. Department Of Justice, “Two Union Officials Charged With Labor Extortion Conspiracy,” Press Release, 8/16/18)

 

Thomas Williamson & Jeffrey Veach Were Arrested On August 16, 2018. “Thomas R. Williamson, 67, of Schererville, Indiana and Jeffrey R. Veach, 55, of Portage, Indiana, were arrested earlier today and each charged in a three-count indictment filed in the Northern District of Indiana with one count of Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy and two counts of Attempted Hobbs Act Extortion.” (U.S. Department Of Justice, “Two Union Officials Charged With Labor Extortion Conspiracy,” Press Release, 8/16/18)

 

  • The Two Men Later Had Their Arraignment In Court & Were Released On Bond. “Williamson and Veach had their initial court appearances and arraignment earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John E. Martin for the Northern District of Indiana and were released on $20,000 unsecured bond.” (U.S. Department Of Justice, “Two Union Officials Charged With Labor Extortion Conspiracy,” Press Release, 8/16/18)

 

The Two Men Are Alleged To Have Threatened Violence & Used Violence Against Non-Unionized Ironworkers In Order To Get A Business & Labor Contract. “According to the indictment, Williamson and Veach used threats of violence and actual violence against non-union ironworkers in the course of their extortion plot.  The defendants allegedly sought to extort a labor contract from ‘John Doe #1,’ who owned a steel working company, and a business contract from ‘John Doe #2,’ who owned a construction company.” (U.S. Department Of Justice, “Two Union Officials Charged With Labor Extortion Conspiracy,” Press Release, 8/16/18)

 

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI), As Well As The Labor Department’s Office Of Inspector General, Are Investigating The Case. “The case is being investigated by the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the FBI with the assistance of the Dyer Indiana Police Department.  Trial Attorneys Conor Mulroe and Robert Tully of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana.” (U.S. Department Of Justice, “Two Union Officials Charged With Labor Extortion Conspiracy,” Press Release, 8/16/18)

 

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Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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