Union leaders often proclaim allegiances to political causes. But even they may discipline members who steal on behalf of those causes. Such recently was the case at Service Employees International Union District 1199, which represents some 35,000 health care and social service workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. District President Becky Williams announced in mid April that her Columbus, Ohio-based union had fired an unnamed Ohio-based organizer after discovering he had forged documents with the intent of deducting a portion of public employee wages for himself.
The organizer, said Williams, created phony PAC cards, which allow a union to deduct a certain sum from member wages to cover political action committee expenses. A worker at the Belmont State Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville, Ohio tipped off the union. In two years, the organizer allegedly submitted about 115 cards about a third of which were forgeries. In all, about 5,100 of the total rank and file have signed cards. Williams believes this is an isolated case. “There’s not another organizer or group of members that were affected,” she said, adding she would cooperate with any formal investigation by authorities. (Columbus Dispatch, 4/15/09).