When Glenn Blicht demanded money, he expected to receive it. What he’s expecting now is incarceration. On February 12, Blicht, former president of the Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based International Longshoremen’s Association Local 164, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison for demanding and receiving about $150,000 in payments over several years from an unnamed unionized employer in exchange for dropping the union’s arbitration complaints over alleged unfair labor practices. Such play-for-pay deals are illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act. Blicht had pleaded guilty last October after being charged in July. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration.
As Union Corruption Update had explained twice earlier (here and here), Glenn Blicht, a resident of Wilton, Connecticut and an officer of Local 164 during 2009-19, shortly after taking office began demanding cash payments from a representative of an employer in increments of at least $1,000. The payments, which on a practical level amounted to extortion, continued until July 26, 2019, when federal agents arrested him shortly after he received a $10,000 payment. Blicht would be charged with one count each of honest services fraud and accepting a bribe. A guilty plea would come three months later. The employer representative also pleaded guilty. In addition to serving two years in prison, Blicht will have to forfeit all proceeds from his offenses. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman stated after sentencing: “As the president of a labor union, Glenn Blicht’s duty was to fight for union members. Instead, he repeatedly sold them out in exchange for cash bribes, which he spent on luxury items.”