New York Local Probed for Election Law Violations

Service Employees Int’l Union Local 32B-32J in N.Y.C. is being investigated for possible violations of a city campaign finance law in its political action efforts.  A subpoena was served Nov. 13 on Local 32B-32J by the office of Manhattan Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau. Local president Michael Fishman said officials were asked to provide information related to the local’s “broad-based political action program” to support candidates in recently concluded city elections.

The investigation was apparently prompted by dissident Paul Pamias’s Oct. 12 letter to Morgenthau’s office. As previously reported in the UCU, Pamias told Morgenthau that the local was violating city law by “turning the union hall into a campaign headquarters” and compelling staff members to donate personal and vacation days to work on the losing mayoral campaign of city Public Advocate Mark Green (D), whose candidacy the local had endorsed.

“All the unions do this,” Pamias said, suggesting that the case could have broader implications for other unions. “But that doesn’t mean it’s legal.” The alleged practices constitute violations of the city’s strict campaign finance law, as well as falsification of business records, he contended. [BNA 11/15/01]

NLPC’S Boehm Testifies on Beck Legislation
“If First Amendment rights and deterring financial corruption are not worker rights worth protecting with legislation, what are?” asked Nat’l Legal & Pol’y Ctr. Chairman Ken Boehm in his Nov. 14 testimony before the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce. Boehm was one several panelists asked to discuss how Congress, the Dep’t of Labor, and the Nat’l Labor Relations Board could better enforce employees Beck rights: the right to refrain from paying for unions’ non-core activities such as politics. Boehm illustrated how strengthening existing union corruption statutes would help impose more accountability on unions to refund accurate amounts to employees under the 1988 Supreme Court’s CWA v. Beck decision. Boehm’s testimony is available at

Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) grilled NLRB Gen. Counsel Arthur F. Rosenfeld (R) about NLRB’s dismal performance on Beck issues. Norwood vowed to step up oversight over NLRB on Beck issues and intends to crusade for legislation to improve enforcement of Beck.