Ex-Meatpackers Local Chief in Wisconsin Charged with Theft

It’s not easy going from hero to goat in one’s own union. But Mike Rice can testify first-hand how quickly it can happen. On September 1, he was charged in U.S. District Court, Madison, Wisconsin, with embezzling more than $30,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 538. For more than a decade he’d headed the local, which represents roughly 2,200 workers at Tyson Foods, Oscar Meyer Foods, and Jones Dairy Farm plants. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, based on evidence obtained from a Labor Department investigation, alleged that from about September 2000 to April 2004, Rice, 57, embezzled UFCW funds by filing expense claims for nonexistent meetings.

 

The news was a bitter pill for rank and file to swallow. He had been president of Local 538 prior to a nearly year-long strike in 2003 against the Tyson plant in Jefferson (located about halfway between Madison and Milwaukee). Read More ➡