Convention Sides Against Rank-and-File

Many wacky and outrageous items came out of the recently ended AFL-CIO convention in Las Vegas. For example, AFL-CIO boss John J. Sweeney said there was a “conservative conspiracy in Congress” and “[t]he sleaziness o the Republicans in the House is the shame of the nation.” But one of most troubling moves was the AFL-CIO’s Dec. 4 resolution, called by some the “Mohamed Atta Resolution,” supporting amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States. A recent Ctr. for Immigration Studies survey said the majority of Americans, including union members, oppose amnesty.  It found that 55% of Americans oppose amnesty and 34 % support it. However, among union households, 60% oppose amnesty, while 32% support it. [ 12/4/01; Wash. Times 12/5/01]

DOL Attacks Tainted Seattle Election
The Dep’t of Labor filed suit Dec. 7 in U.S. Dist. Court for the W. Dist. of Wash. against Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 174 seeking to set aside the local’s Nov. 21, 2000, election of president, secretary-treasurer, and trustee. The case involves the denial of the voting rights of new members for whom the employer had not deducted sufficient dues and initiation fees or for whom adequate amounts had been deducted but not forwarded to the Seattle-based local. DOL’s probe found that of the money received by the local, not all deductions were posted to membership records, rendering some members ineligible to vote. Additionally, other members were permitted to vote who were not current in dues or initiation fees, an unequal application of the union’s constitution which states that eligibility to vote is dependent on payment of dues and fees. The local is reportedly surprised by the suit. Tim Sullivan, Local 174’s business agent, said the current union administration was not in office at the time of the vote and will oppose the charges. [DOL 12/7/01; BNA 12/17/01]

Indiana Boss Admits $47,000 Theft (edited 01/16/02)
Robert D. Meyer, ex-secretary-treasurer of United Bhd. of Carpenters Local 1481 in Gary, Ind.,  pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with embezzling $47,346.40 in union funds. He was charged Nov. 19. Meyer stole the funds by using the local’s ATM card for personal use over a two-year period.  On what the funds was spent was not determined.  U.S. Dist. Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. (N.D. Ind., Reagan) set sentencing for Mar. 26. [DOL 12/6/01; USAO N.D. Ind. 12/28/01]

Indianapolis Dues Collector Gets 10 Months Confinement for $29,600 Theft (edited 01/16/02)
U.S. District Chief Judge Larry J. McKinney (S.D. Ind., Reaga) sentenced confessed union embezzler, Michelle T. Spragur Nov. 30 to 10 months home confinement with electronic monitoring and 5 years probation. The ex-bookkeeper/office secretary pled guilty July 13 to two counts of embezzling a total of $29,673 from United Bhd. of Carpenters Locals 364 ($20,641) and 1124 ($9,031) in Indianapolis and two counts of destroying union records. She was also ordered to make full restitution to the locals. She was not fined. Shw as barred from working for a union or holding union office for 13 years. A grand jury indicted Spragur Apr. 18 on two counts each of union embezzlement, falsification of union records, and destruction of union records. She reportedly took the funds for her personal use. She allegedly falsified union records to cover her thefts and then destroyed certain records when she left the locals. From 1995-98, as a secretary for both locals, she was responsible for collecting union dues. [DOL 11/30, 7/13/01; USAO S.D. Ind. 4/18, 11/30/01]

Northeast Ohio Boss Admits $21,600 Embezzlement
Stephen T. Hanlon, ex- secretary-treasurer of United Steelworkers of Am. Local 01-4564-S in Girard, Ohio, pled guilty Nov. 16 to embezzling $21,657 in union funds. He was charged Nov. 2. [DOL 11/16/01]

Virginian Admits to False Pretenses Charge, Stole $13,700
On Nov. 30, Judge Robert W. Curran of the Circuit Court for the City of Newport News (Va.) accepted a plea agreement from Stanley Coppedge, ex-grievance person for United Steelworkers of Am. Local 8888 in Newport News. Coppedge pled guilty to petty larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-178 (obtaining money or property by false pretenses). Curran sentenced Coppedge to one year incarceration, suspended as long as he remains in good behavior and makes restitution of $13,761.67. Coppedge charged July 9 of defrauding the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. and/or Local 8888. [DOL 11/30, 7/9/01]

Eastern Pennsylvanian Charged Admits $7,600 Theft
On Nov. 15, in the Berks County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas, Kathleen L. Frost, ex- bookkeeper of the Int’l Ass’n of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 420 in Reading, pled guilty to one count of theft by unlawful taking and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. She was sentenced to 2 years probation. The theft charges, brought on Aug. 14, alleged that Frost took $7,653.46 from the local. [DOL 11/15, 8/14/01]

East Central Illinois Boss Gets 12 Months Supervised Release for Theft
On Nov. 29, 2001, in Edgar County (Ill.) court, Judith E. Cline, ex-secretary-treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 2343 in Paris, Ill., pled guilty to a one-count information charging her with misdemeanor theft of $300. She was sentenced to 12 months of supervised release and ordered to make restitution of $900 to the union. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Dep’t of Labor. [DOL 11/29/01]