Teamsters Charged with Using Corrupt Audit Firm in Pol. Spending Disclosure

A union-abused worker today filed class-action federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Intl Bhd. of Teamsters (IBT) for using a firm involved in fraudulent accounting practices to justify the union’s forced union dues demands nationwide. The charges followed multiple guilty pleas to federal criminal charges by a partner at Thomas Havey LLP, the nation’s top union accounting firm.

Meanwhile, Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA), chairman of the Workforce Protections subcommittee, publicly released a stern letter to Arthur Rosenfeld, NLRB General Counsel, arguing that the audits the Havey firm conducted for 700 unions nationwide cannot be relied upon, in light of “clear evidence that the Havey firm has engaged in fraudulent and criminal activity in auditing union books and records.”

Under current law, union officials must provide objecting employees with independently audited disclosure of how forced union dues are spent so the employees can determine if they are subsidizing activities unrelated to collective bargaining, including electioneering and other political activity.

In August, Thomas Havey partner Frank Massey pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of “aiding a conspiracy to defraud the United States” by helping union officials hide on government disclosure forms how they spent over $1.5 million in union dues. Havey accountants listed union officers’ expenses for alcohol, expensive dining, and golfing trips as “Office and Administrative expenses” or “Education and Publicity.” These practices kept the top union officials from having to itemize the costs of these activities and thereby revealing how they spend workers’ mandatory union dues.

With the help of Foundation attorneys, Mark Simpson, an employee of Shenango Presbyterian Seniorcare, filed the unfair labor practice claim with the NLRB. Until IBT union officials give objecting employees like Simpson a credible independent audit, it is impossible for them to determine if they are unlawfully being charged for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, including union politics. [NRTWLDF 9/19/02]