Top Cranston Officials’ Trial Set

On Aug. 4, nine months after two union members of the National Association of Government Employees Local 198 in Rhode Island were indicted on racketeering and bribery charges and suspended from Cranston city jobs, City Treasurer Kathleen DeLuca and her husband, Raymond, director of the city’s computer services had their criminal trial date set for Nov. 16. According to the Attorney General, the DeLucas are accused of accepting $188,771 in kickbacks in return for securing about $564,000 in city computer contracts for a company. The DeLuca case was another black eye for Mayor Michael A. Traficante’s administration that has been rocked by the kickback-and-bribery convictions of a Public Works Director and a Parks and Recreation Director. Traficante, who is not seeking reelection this year after 14 years in office, pleaded guilty himself in 1994 to nine campaign-finance misdemeanors. [Providence Journal-Bulletin 08/04/98 & 08/05/98]

Teamsters Cited for Illegal Dues Collection
In a rare move against a union, the National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 6 issued a formal complaint against Teamsters Local 174 in Seattle for illegally collecting and spending workers’ compulsory union dues for politics. The National Right to Work Foundation had filed unfair labor practice charges against Local 174 on behalf of 2 members. Both had exercised their right to refrain from formal union membership. The case arose after Teamsters bosses, without the required legal procedures, illegally demanded payment of compulsory dues from the employees’ paychecks to be funneled into questionable and undisclosed union activities, including politics and organizing. “These workers are entitled to an accounting of the union’s books before their paychecks are raided by the political operatives of the Teamsters,” said NTWF’s Stefan Gleason.

Teamsters Leave Trash Rotting in the Sun
Thanks to one of America’s most corrupt unions, the Teamsters, days-old trash rotted in the sweltering Northern California heat for days as a “pungent” result of a Local 315 strike that has left parts of Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties without garbage service. The 180 drivers and mechanics — employed by Browning Ferris Industries and make $19.50 an hour, excluding benefits — went on strike Jul. 30 halting service to 127,000 customers. BFI quickly put managers into trucks and flew in replacement workers from across the country to work over a weekend picking up missed routes. BFI insisted that service would be back to normal by Aug. 3. But as of Aug. 2, many of the replacement drivers were spinning in circles just trying to find routes, and many homes and businesses still had garbage sitting out uncollected. There were numerous police reports of union violence. A driver suffered a black eye and facial bruises after being attacked Aug. 2. Tires were slashed on 5 garbage trucks driven by replacement workers. Teamsters were reportedly surrounding and stopping “scab” drivers going in and out of a BFI yard shaking strike signs at windshields. [SF Chronicle 08/03/98]

Local President Resigns Over Mishandled $25K
Wappingers (NY) Teachers Union President Ronald L. Warman resigned from office and agreed to repay $25,900 to the Wappingers Congress of Teachers Welfare Trust Fund over allegations of mishandling union funds. Allegedly, he wrongfully paid over $25,000 to himself over the period 1986-1996. Despite the resignation and repayment, the union boss admitted no wrongdoing, and on Jul. 28 according to the District Attorney’s Office, a Dutchess County Grand Jury found “insufficient evidence to warrant an indictment.” [Poughkeepsie Journal 06/24/98]