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Unions In the News - April 2016

Cruz Supports Nationwide ‘Right-to-Work’ Law. - The San Francisco Chronicle reported on March 31 that presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz supports a national law prohibiting private sector unions from requiring workers to join or pay union dues. Cruz cited the right-to-work law in Wisconsin as an example of what the federal government should implement. According to Cruz, a federal right-to-work law would show that government “sides with the working men and women of this country.”
- San Francisco Chronicle

Guest Editorial: Strengthen Arizona’s Right-to-Work Status. - The Daily Courier featured an editorial by Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) on April 2. Gosar’s editorial highlights his co-sponsorship of H.R. 3222, the Employee Rights Act, which would let employees have a deciding vote on whether their current union meets their needs. As an original co-sponsor of this bill, Gosar is proud to add his voice to the chorus of people who demand that unions play fair and respect the rights of every worker.
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- The Daily Courier

Whistleblower Allegedly Exposes Vast Abuse Within IRS Union. - The Daily Caller reported on April 2 that unionized government tax collectors have been subject to abuse and corruption from their labor representatives. IRS attorney Jane Kim alleges during her time working for the agency, she has seen “Jimmy Hoffa-level[s] of abuse and corruption.” According to Kim, the union divided agency employees into a caste-like system and the employees who did the union’s bidding got special treatment.
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- The Daily Caller

Effort to Turn Colorado into Right-to-Work State Dies. - The Denver Business Journal reported on April 4 that legislation which would have turned Colorado into a right-to-work state died in the Colorado State House Veterans and Military Committee along party lines. In February, the bill passed the Colorado State Senate on a party-line vote. According to supporters of the bill, Colorado is at a competitive disadvantage compared to its neighboring states because it is the only non-right-to-work mountain west state but New Mexico.
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- Denver Business Journal

President of Security Workers Local in Houston Sentenced for Embezzlement. - The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 5 that the former president of the Currency and Security Handlers Association Cynthia Angulo was sentenced for embezzling more than $60,000 in funds from the union. Angulo pleaded guilty in August and is sentenced to 10 months of confinement followed by three years of supervised release.
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- National Legal and Policy Center

National Right to Work: ‘Everything Government Unions Do Is Political.” - CNS News reported on April 6 that Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation expressed dismay with the U.S. Supreme Court’s deadlock in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Because of the 4-4 split, the justices let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that compels those who do not belong to the teachers union to pay an “agency fee” in order to keep their employment. Despite the setback, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is involved in five similar cases pending in courts throughout the country.
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- CNS News

GOP Candidates for Governor Say They Support Right-to-Work. - WMUR 9 ABC reported on April 14 that Republican candidates in New Hampshire support legislation that would allow workers to join union shops without joining the union or paying dues. Candidates believe a right-to-work law would fuel the state’s economy and encourage businesses to relocate. Twenty-six states have right-to-work laws on the books, with the most recent being West Virginia.
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Former Lynwood City Employee Charged with Embezzling Employee Union Funds. - The Los Angeles Times reported on April 14 that Eric Gonzalez, the president of the Lynwood Employees Assn., was charged with four felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement. Gonzalez embezzled nearly $30,000 from his union. If convicted, Gonzalez faces up to five years in jail.
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- Los Angeles Times

Weekend Round-Up: Union Prez Sentenced. - Florida Politics reported on April 18 that the former president of the Broward Teachers Union has been sentenced to five years in prison for fraud and campaign finance violations. Patrick Santeramo, who ran the union for 11 years, diverted more than $165,000 in union money to his personal accounts. He also reimbursed 25 people who made campaign donations to labor-friendly causes with union money.
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- Florida Politics

Rensselaer County Corrections Officer Convicted on Embezzlement Charges. - The Troy Record reported on April 26 that Kevin Rogers was convicted of embezzling over $3,000 from the Sheriff’s Employees Association of Rensselaer County (SERCO). Rogers served as the vice president and treasurer of the union from 2006 to 2011, in addition to serving as a corrections officer. Rogers used SERCO funds at restaurants, gentlemen’s clubs, and to purchase ringside tables at two boxing events. He faces up to seven years in prison.
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- The Troy Record

AG Schimel Files for Emergency Stay in Right-to-Work Case. - WBAY ABC 2 reported on April 29 that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a motion for an emergency stay to keep the state’s right-to-work law in effect while the state appeals a lower court’s ruling. Earlier in April, Dane County Judge William Foust ruled that the law was unconstitutional. In response to Foust’s ruling, Schimel expressed confidence that the law will be found constitutional because it is similar to the 25 other states with right-to-work laws.
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