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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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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