FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                
March 22, 2018
CONTACT: Ryan Williams
202-677-7060

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

 

Hold Unions Accountable For Stealing Worker Dues

 

Heather Greenaway
March 21, 2018
Washington Examiner

Recent months have seen a slew of headlines in union corruption cases all over the country. Labor bosses have been accused or pleaded guilty to embezzling union dues from hardworking rank-and-file members in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia, just to name a few.

This criminal activity highlights the need for the U.S. Department of Labor to step up enforcement and increase financial transparency within unions via stronger disclosure. That is the only way to put a stop to the rampant thievery — and no, that’s not too strong of a word.

In January, Richard D’Antuono pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $320,000 from the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association Local 40 in Rhode Island when serving as the union’s business manager and financial secretary.

In February, Stephanie Marie DeBoer, an administrator at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876 in Michigan, was sentenced for embezzling more than $300,000 in union funds. Some of the embezzled money was used to buy Katy Perry tickets and undergarments. A Virginia woman named Tamika Bullock, a former official at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 684, was sentenced for embezzling $24,000 in union funds, some of which she used to go on a cruise.

Those are just a handful of the examples from this year, and it’s still only March.

Last October, a Connecticut man named Andrew Thibodeau, who served as treasurer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1433, was sentenced for embezzling more than $70,000 in union funds. And in December in Massachusetts, the former secretary-treasurer of the Unite Here Local 26 pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $170,000 in union funds.

Then there are the bigger cases. The Detroit Free Press detailed more than a half dozen union embezzlement cases involving the theft of more than one million dollars over the past decade, during which time documents “show embezzlement from hundreds of union offices nationwide.” Moreover, over the course of “just the past two years, more than 300 union locations have discovered theft.”

This is widespread, epidemic theft. Fortunately, we have the necessary solutions to address massive union dues embezzlement. The Trump administration should roll back the cuts made by the Obama administration to the Office of Labor Management Standards, which is charged with investigating union corruption. By gutting the OLMS, Obama made it difficult for investigators to identify union embezzlement. Now, we are seeing the results of that neglect.

The Trump administration made a good first effort in its fiscal year 2019 budget, which takes steps to restore the OLMS’ “investigative workforce” and “strengthen protections for union members by supporting more audits and investigations to uncover flawed officer elections, fraud, and embezzlement.”

The Department of Labor should also revise financial disclosure requirements. In 2003, George W. Bush’s Labor Department gave some teeth to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act by requiring unions to disclose total benefits received by union employees and officers, and provide itemized receipts for union expenses. The Obama Labor Department reversed this. Trump’s should reinstate it, along with the requirement that unions file a Trust Annual Report disclosure form (better known as T-1).

Such changes would significantly increase financial transparency at both local and national unions, especially when coupled with increased resources and renewed focus on fighting union corruption with the OLMS. These are good, commonsense reforms that people can get behind.

Almost all other kinds of organizations in the United States, including corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits, are required to disclose such information. With such widespread embezzlement of worker dues, we can see what a mistake it was to allow unions to operate in the dark. Now is the time for transparency, enforcement, and holding union bosses accountable for their actions.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

 To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

 

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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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