DOJ Begins Probe of NJ Jail with History of Union Corruption

The U.S. Justice Dept. has begun probing a host of allegations of misconduct at the Camden County Jail.  The problems range from massive overcrowding, mixing of violent prisoners with non-violent prisoners leading to killings in the cells, to mistreatment of mentally ill patients.  In addition to these problems, the union representing the correction officers — Local 351 of the Policeman’s Benevolent Assn. — has been rife with corruption since at least 2001.  Then-president Michael Hardy pled guilty to stealing $60,000 from the union in 2001.  The next president, George Dobleman, admitted forcing sex on a female inmate.  Last yr., then-treasurer Hilda Battle admitted embezzling $13,000 from the union. [Courier-Post, 3/10/04]


Sentenced Ex-ND Boss Threatened Union Members

U.S. Dist. Judge Rodney Webb (N.D., Reagan) sentenced William Michael Lane to a yr. in prison for embezzling union funds, bank fraud and falsification.  Lane was elected vice-pres. of Local Lodge 2525 of the Intl. Assn. of Machinists (IAM) in Oct. 1999.  As the Local’s acting pres. in 2000 and 2001, Lane wrote union checks for his personal benefit and falsified records to cover up his theft.


At his sentencing, Asst. U.S. Atny. Jennifer Puhl said that when other union officials discovered discrepancies between union records and bank statements, Lane threatened to stick the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun in the mouth of then-treasurer Jim Anderson.  Police later found such a weapon in Lane’s apt.  When asked by Judge Webb for a pre-sentencing statement, Lane simply said, “I’d just like to get this done and over with.” [Fargo Forum, 3/6/04]


Another Guilty Plea in Massive NYC No-Show Scandal

On Feb. 25, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the East. Dist. of NY, Henry O. Ach, frmr. union rep. of Local 1 of the Intl. Union of Elevators Constructors, pled guilty to unlawful labor payments and mail fraud relating to the Sotheby’s jobsite in New York City.  On Aug. 4, 2003, a grand jury returned an indictment against Ach and the former exec. vice pres. of Local 1, Charles Novak, for Racketeering and other crimes. On Feb. 7, 2002, 27 members of Local One including two bus. agents were charged in a racketeering indictment with a variety of crimes relating to a no-show scheme at 19 different construction sites in New York City.  Ach’s guilty plea follows a joint investigation by the NY Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards, the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Employee Benefits Sec. Admin. and the FBI. [OLMS, 3/15/04]


Ex-Secy.-Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On March 3, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the North. Dist. of Ohio, Kevan Sprow, frmr. secy.-treasurer of District Lodge 57 of the Intl. Assn. of Machinists, pled guilty to an information charging him with embezzling $49, 847 in union funds. The charge follows an investigation by the Cleveland Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/15/04]


Ex-Fin. Secy. Fined for Falsification

On Feb. 23, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the West. Dist. of NY, Nancy Childs, the frmr. fin. secy. of Local 4-151G of the United Steel Wrkrs. was fined $1,000 and placed on one year of unsupervised probation for making false entries in union records.  Childs pled guilty to the charge in January 2004. The guilty plea and sentence follow an investigation by the Buffalo Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/4/04]


DOL Wins Case Against Wisc. UFCW Local

On Feb. 23, the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the West. Dist. of Wisc. ruled in favor of the U.S. Dept. of Labor in a lawsuit challenging the Jan. 23 and 24, 2003 election of officers of Local 538 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.  The court agreed with the Dept. that the notices of election, which were published in a union federation newspaper, were inadequate.  The court found that, despite the Secy. of Labor’s regulations, the notices did not appear conspicuously on the front page.  Furthermore, the front page did not conspicuously reference the inside page where the notices appeared.  As a result, the Dept. of Labor will supervise a new election of officers.  The lawsuit resulted from an investigation conducted by the Milwaukee Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/5/04]


DOL Settles Suit Against IBEW in Calif.

On Feb. 19, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Cent. Dist. of Calif., the court approved a settlement stipulation between the U.S. Dept. of Labor and the Intl. Bhd. of Elec. Wrkrs., Local 47.  The parties stipulated that the Secy. of Labor would supervise the union’s next regular election of officers in June 2005.  This stipulation settlement stems from a complaint filed by the Dept. against the union on May 22, 2003.  An investigation into the local’s July 8, 2002 election of officers disclosed violations that may have affected the outcome of the Bus. Mgr.-Fin. Secy. and Exec. Bd.-Basin West I officer positions.  The stipulation settlement follows an investigation by the Los Angeles Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/15/04]


DOL Files Suit Against Postal Workers in NJ

On January 22, in the U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Dist. of N.J., the Dept. of Labor filed a complaint against the Amer. Postal Wrkrs. Union, N.J. Mid-State Local 381.  The complaint alleged that the union’s Dec. 5, 2002 mail ballot election violated the Labor-Mgmt. Relations Disclosure Act (LMRDA) in three ways.  First, the local failed to mail the election notice/ballot package to the last known addresses of all eligible members depriving them of an opportunity to vote.  Second, the union failed to establish the last day an individual could become a member and still be eligible to vote.  Finally, the union failed to timely distribute candidates’ campaign statements in the union newspaper. The lawsuit follows an investigation by the N.Y. Dist. Ofc. of the U.S. Ofc. of Labor Mgmt. Standards. [OLMS, 3/5/04]