California Boss Admits Extortion for Job Referrals

Hank Van Heyningen, president of Christian Labor Ass’n Local 17 (Dairy Union) in Chino, Cal., pled guilty Oct. 23 to one federal count of extortion by use of wrongful fear of economic loss. The boss admitted extorting money from union members in exchange for job referrals. He also served as business agent from 1990-2001. As an union officer, Van Heyningen had control over which dairy employees would be sent out to union jobs at local dairies. He admitted that for the last 10 years he was regularly extorting money from members in return for work. A member who received a full-time job with regular daylight hours was charged $800 to $1,500 by Van Heyningen. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. Dist. Judge Virginia A. Phillips (C.D. Cal., Clinton) scheduled sentencing for Jan. 7, 2002. [DOL 10/23/01; USAO C.D. Cal. 10/23/01]