California Boss Charged, $22,000 Repaid

Leonard M. Duge, ex-vice president of Communications Workers of Am. Local 59053 (a.k.a., National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians Local 53) in Burbank, California, admitted Feb. 25 to embezzling $22,137.66 from the local between Jan. 1996 and June 1998. He submitted fraudulent salary loss vouchers to Local 59053, was reimbursed, and spent the money on personal expenses. In exchange for the guilty plea, the U.S. Atty.’s Office in Los Angeles charged Duge on Mar. 5 with only a single count of falsification of union records. The plea agreement stated that Duge has made full restitution of $22,137.66.

The specific charge to which he pled guilty illustrates his scam. Duge prepared and submitted a salary loss voucher on Dec. 17, 1997, to Local 59053 claiming that his employer, the Nat’l Broadcasting Co., failed to compensate him for the time he spent on union leave between Dec. 8-12 and Dec. 15-17, 1997. As a direct result, Local 59053 issued Duge a check for $2,118.05. According to the plea agreement, the boss knew that NBC was contractually bound to, and did, fully compensate him for all the time he spent on union leave during these periods, and that he was not entitled to further compensation from Local 59053. [DOL 3/5/02; USAO C.D. Cal. 3/14/02; U.S. v. Duge, No. 02-CR-225-ALL (C.D. Cal.)]

“It was every store I go to. Not a day goes by someone says to me, ‘I hate this union. How can we get rid of it?'”

– Christine P. Scanlon, 15-year employee of Shaw’s Supermarkets in Worcester, Mass. She organized a petition, which reportedly 60% of Shaw’s 1,600 unionized employees signed, to decertify United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445. [Telegram & Gazette (Worcester) 3/1/02]