Long-time Boss’ Expenses Questioned in Cal. Election

The election of president of central California’s largest union “has been a cakewalk” for Don Hunsucker for nearly the past two decades, but fellow United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1288 member, Candelaria Arroyo, could change that in this month’s election. Arroyo has blasted Hunsucker and his staff for their lavish expense accounts, but stopped short directly criticizing Hunsucker for his $120,000 a year base salary. Hunsucker has been Local 1288’s boss for 20 years and has run unchallenged in every election since 1981. “There are some people who have been in office for so long that they’ve forgotten about the working people,” Arroyo said. [Fresno Bee 9/7/98]

Boston Bosses Monitored for Unfair Practices
The Service Employees Int’l Union has begun monitoring Boston’s SEIU Local 254 following a hearing last spring on allegations that the Local unfairly represented members.  SEIU spokeswoman Jill Gallagher confirmed Sep. 16 that Thomas Balanoff of SEIU’s executive board will monitor the Local to make sure it adheres to a number of the hearing report’s recommendations. Gallagher declined to reveal the report’s contents. The hearing came on a formal complaint brought by a group of maintenance workers who alleged unfair practices. Tensions have increased between the Local’s bosses and a members calling themselves Trabajadores Unidos of Workers United, after the workers alleged that the bosses had negotiated contracts that undercut their wages. [Boston Globe 9/17/98]

$26K Embezzled from Union Welfare Fund
Demonstrating the constant threat union pensions and health-care benefit programs face, a claims supervisor was charged Sep. 4 with embezzling $26,422 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Health and Welfare Fund. Dana Andrew Fernandez Carlisle stole the money from Dec. 1996 to Apr. 1997. According to the federal indictment, checks were issued in the name of a dentist and to Dr. Dana Fernandez for fictitious services and deposited in a bank account he opened, and as a claims supervisor, Carlisle had authority over the funds assets and determined the action on claims.  The embezzler faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. [Times-Picayune 9/5/98]