Ohio Boss Pleads Guilty to $316,000 Embezzlement

William S. Demboski Jr., an ex-secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers of Am. Local 01-2-L in Akron, pled guilty Feb. 2 with embezzling over $316,000 in union funds. The union boss confessed to writing 302 unauthorized union checks from 1993-97. USWA officials couldn’t explain how the corrupt boss was able to embezzle the funds without detection for over four years.  Demboski’s reign ran 12 years.  He faces between 18 and 24 months in prison under the plea agreement and must make full restitution to the union. [Akron Beacon Journal 2/3/99]

UNITE Sued for Libel in North Carolina
A Greensboro, N.C. bedding manufacturer, filed a libel suit Jan. 28 against the Union of Needletrades, Indus. & Textile Employees.  Crescent Sleep Products accuses UNITE of libeling and slandering the company in order to damage the company’s reputation, harm its relationship with its licensor, Serta, and drive away customers.  The suit is a result  of UNITE claims at a Dec. 16 media conference, and later in handouts and mailings to customers. Among the union’s claims are that employees are forced to handle mattresses contaminated with blood, urine and mildew and that the workers are not provided suitable protection to do their jobs. Also, the union suggested that Crescent was improperly reselling contaminated mattresses. Crescent’s attorney said the claims were used to gain leverage in contract negotiations. Crescent has asked for unspecified damages. [News & Record 2/6/99]

Colorado House Approves Worker Rights Bill
The Colorado House approved a bill Feb. 2 that prohibits payroll deductions from government employees’ paychecks if the deductions go to an entity that participates in the political process. Rep. Ron May’s (R) bill revises Colorado’s “Fair Campaign Practices Act” by prohibiting state agencies and political subdivisions from spending taxpayer funds to collect political funds. The bill specifies that public money includes compensation of state employees. May said it was “a taxpayer protection measure.” The Colorado AFL-CIO opposed the pro-freedom measure on grounds that it wanted the state to continue subsidizing its political contribution collections scheme. [BNA 2/4/99]