NYC Union Reformer Sues DC 37 Boss for Libel

One of the chief reformers of the scandal plagued government union, Dist. Council 37 in NYC, has sued the DC 37 exec. director for allegedly libeling him during the recent election campaign for officers.  Mark Rosenthal was ousted last month as treasurer after he threw his support to Charles Ensley, who lost the race for DC 37 chief to incumbent Lillian Roberts.


During the campaign, Roberts criticized Rosenthal for making $200,000 a yr. as treasurer of the affiliate of the Amer. Fedtn. of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  Roberts herself is paid $250,000 as exec. dir.  She also accused Rosenthal of trying to fix the election, even though Rosenthal was key to uncovering the massive vote-rigging and embezzlement schemes that pervaded the dist. in the late 1990s.  Roberts’ campaign fliers claimed that Rosenthal couldn’t have helped uncover the fraud without either knowing of it or taking part in it.  Rosenthal filed his libel suit against Roberts on Feb. 19.


Soon after the Jan. 27 election, the new 25-member exec. bd. of DC 37 voted to cut Roberts’ salary to $175,000, in light of her campaign comments about Rosenthal’s pay.  Roberts responded at a Black History Month ceremony that she deserved her full salary because she is the first African-American woman to head the union.  She also said she hopes that the 327-member delegate assembly will overturn the exec. bd. [New York Times, 2/23/04]


Hawaii Union Returned to Local Control

The Amer. Fedtn. of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has ended its temporary control of the United Public Wrkrs. Local 646.  AFSCME took over the powerful state union after its frmr. chief, Gary Rodrigues, was convicted in Nov. 2002 of mail fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and taking kickbacks.  He initially attempted to retain control of the UPW by installing his hand-picked successor, but AFSCME officials in their Wash. D.C. HQ suspended him and his successor in Dec.  Dayton Nakanelua was elected state director in Dec. of last year.  He and his slate of officers were sworn in Feb. 21 at a meeting of the UPW St. Exec. Bd. [Honolulu Advertiser, 2/22/04]


Two Chicago-Area Union Bosses Indicted for Racketeering

Two northern Ill. union officials were indicted on Jan. 27 on charges of labor racketeering in connection with union pensions.  Acc. to the indictment, filed in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for Nor. Ill., the two accepted 1999 Harley-Davidson motorcycles from an administrative services company in exchange for their steering contracts paid for by 2 pension plans to that company.


Charged in the indictment were Thomas Kisting, bus. mgr. for Local 498 of the Intl. Assn. of Iron Wrkrs.; Fred Schreier, frmr. president of Iron Wrkrs. Local 136; and Michael Linder, president of Joseph/Anthony & Associates.  Kisting was also the administrator of Local 498’s 2 pension plans.  Schreier was a trustee of Local 136’s pension funds.  The value of the motorcycles accepted by the 2 was estimated by the U.S. Attny for North. Ill. to be $38,868. [U.S.A.O., N.D. IL, 1/27/04]