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Unions In the News - March & April 2015

Pennsylvania Utility Workers Ex-Local President Pleads Guilty.- The National and Legal and Policy Center reported that Michael Trembulak, former president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 475, pled guilty on March 4 in U.S. District Court to embezzling $31,528 from the union. Two weeks prior to Trembulak's indicted in July 2014, John Vetterly Jr. - another president of Local 475 - was sentenced to nine months of house arrest and five years of probation for embezzling $26,605 from the union.
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- National and Legal Policy Center

Scott Walker's Pen Makes It 25 States Where Workers Have The Freedom To Choose. - Forbes published a column on March 9 discussing the benefits the state of Wisconsin will see as a result of becoming the 25th state to implement a right-to-work law. The column cites that right-to-work laws give workers greater choice and makes states more economically successful. Noted in the column, from 2003-2013, right-to-work states gained a net 3.6 million new private-sector jobs and saw wages increase by more than 15 percent. Comparatively, non-right-to-work states only added 1.5 million new jobs and wages only increased 8.2 percent.
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- Forbes Magazine

Guest commentary: Right-to-work about worker freedome - The Herald Times Reporter published an op-ed from Wisconsin State Rep. Paul Titti on March 9 detailing how the state's new right-to-work law would benedit the state's workers and give them greater freedom and choice. Rep. Titti also wrote the new law will make Wisconsin more competitive and create a more desirable business climate.
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- The Herald Times Reporter

Detroit-Area Operating Engineers Business Agent Pleads Guilty to Concealing Extortion. - The National Legal and Policy Center reported on March 11 that David hart, former financial secretary-business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, pled guilty in U.S. District Court on Feb. 24 to concealing acts of extortion by his boss. From 2003-12, Hart allegedly was aware of, and participated in, an extortion scheme benefiting an unmaned union official. The individual forced business agents and other employees of the union to "contribute" weekly payments to a special re-election fund. These payments represented more than $5,000 of each employee's annual salary. Hart allegedly facilitated the transfer of funds by the unnamed official and has agreed to pay $37,000 in restituon. Hart faces up to three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
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- The National Legal and Policy Center

Former VA Union President Arrested for Alleged Embezzlement. - Government Executive reported on March 17 that Stephanie Hicks, former president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2207, was arrested and charged on March 11 with embezzling more than $132,000 in funds from the Birmingham, Ala. union. Hicks served as president of the union from July 2007-July 2013 during which time she allegedly made numerous unauthorized transactions from the union's two bank accounts in order to benedit herself. Hicks allegedly wrote checks for nonexistent business trips, forged the names of other union officers and memebers, and made unauthorized debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. She also concealed these thefts by not recording the transactions in union financial records.
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- Government Executive

Fort Knox Civilian Technicians Secretary-Treasurer Indicted. The National Legal and Policy Center reported on March 18 that Thomas Wilson, former secretary-treasurer of Association of Civilian Technicians Chapter 83, was charged on February 26 with one court of felony theft for allegedlyembezzling more than $10,000 from the union.
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- The National Legal and Policy Center

Union president, treasurer sentenced for embezzlement. The Virginian-Pilot reported on March 26 that during the month, tow former officials of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6066 were sentenced in U.S. District Court for embezzling thousands from the union. Jeffery Jones, former president of the union, was sentenced to one year of probation for embezzling more than $7,600 between July 2011 and January 2014. Choi Hawks, former treasurer of the union, was sentenced to six months of house arrest for embezzling more than $11,000 from the union from August 2012 - February 2013. While neither Jones nor Hawks knew the other was also stealing from the union, Jones made 43 ATM withdrawals without proper authorization and Hawks made 15 unauthorized ATM withdrawals and wrote six checks to herself.
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- The Virginian-Pilot

Choice provided by right-to-work will help Wisconsin's union members.- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published an op-ed on March 26 praising Wisconsin's recently implemented right-to-work law. Authored by a research fellow in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation, the op-ed notes that right-to-work laws: 1) force unions to work harder to represent their members., 2) pressures unions to pay attention to all their members, 3) release unions of any obligation to represent workers who do not pay dues, 4) push unions to compete for their members' dollars, and 5) create better workplace representation.
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- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Former President of NYC Steelworkers Local Pleads Guilty - The National Legal and Policy Center reported on March 31 that former president of United Steelworkers Local 4-318, Juan "Alex" Cedeno, pled guilty in U.S. District Court on March 6 to one count of false record-keeping in connection to his embezzlement of more than $90,000 in union funds. From April 2009-October 2011, Cedeno used a union credit card to make $58,303 in unauthorized charges at strip clubs, clothing retailers, a local Hooters restaurant, and various casino-hotels in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and the Caribbean. He also co-signed more than $35,000 in checks from the union's general fund in order to conceal his embezzlement. Cedeno later filed false information on financial reports to the U.S. Department of Labor.
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- The National Legal and Policy Center

New Rochelle man faces union embezzlement charge- The Journal News reported on March 31 that John Earvin, former president of the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers, was indicted on federal charges of embezzling more than $48,000 from the union. Earvin allegedly withdrew union dues, often at ATMs at off-track betting parlors, and used the money for his own purposes. Earvin was president of the union from 2007-2010.
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- The Journal News

Union bookkeeper in Illinois accused of embezzlement.- The Evansville Courier & Press reported on April 27 that Carolyn Hall, former bookkeeper for Laborers Local 1197, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of embezzlement from the union. Between July 2012 and Feb. 2014, Hall allegedly stole$26,491 from the union and used the funds for personal gain. Hall faces up to five years in prison and three years of probation if convicted.

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- The Evansville Courier & Press

Houston man faces prison time in union embezzlement scheme. The Houston Chronicle reported on April 25 that Henry Shuler, former treasurer for United Transportation Union Local 1892, was convicted on April 24 of embezzling close to $40,000 from the union over a six-year period. Using union funds, Shuler made unauthorized purchases from Sam's club and attempted to cover up those charges by falsifying dues repayments to union members who did not exist. Shuler's sentencing is scheduled for July17 and he faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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- The Houston Chronicle

UTU Financial Secretary in Washington State Pleads Guilty. The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 23 that Alfonso Rodriguez, former financial secretary of United Transportation Union Local 117, pled guilty on March 20 in U.S. District Court to one count of false reporting in connection to his embezzlement of funds from the Washington union. Rodriguez has agreed to pay $34,601 in restitution and is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

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- The National and Legal Policy Center

Laborers Secretary-Treasurer in Oklahoma Charged; Pleads Guilty. The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 23 that Michael Low, former secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North American Local 2097 was charged and then pled guilty to one count of making a false statement on financial records in connection to his embezzlement of $12,937 from the union.

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- The National and Legal Policy Center

Retired union rep gets prison time for embezzling funds. The Lincoln Journal Star reported on April 17 that Ray Lineweber, former director of the Nebraska State Legislative Board 30 for the United Transporation Union, was sentenced to four months in prison, which is to be immediatley followed by three years of supervised release - the first four months of which will be home confinement. Between Jan. 2008 and May 2012, Lineweber embezzled nearly $103,000 from the union to buy -among other things - $27,000 worth of gift cards, laptop computers, and a television. Lineweber also falsified records on special expense allowance payments, unauthorized mileage, and per diem reports. Additionally, Lineweber was sentenced to a certain number of community service hours and ordered to pay restituion.

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- The National and Legal Policy Center

Washington State Letter Carriers Financial Secretary Pleads Guilty - The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 17 that Henry Mayer, former financial secretary of National Association of Letter Carriers Local 852, pled guilty on April 1 in U.S. District Court to one count of embezzling an unspecified sum from the union.

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- The National and Legal Policy Center

Union treasurer charged with stealing nearly $9K- The News Item (Shamokin, PA) reported on April 17 that David Deitrick, former treasurer of Scranton's local United Steelworkers of America, was charged on April 15 with embezzling close to $9,000 from the union over two and a half years. If found guilty, Deitrick faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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- The News Item

Ironworkers Secretary in New Orleans Sentenced for Embezzlement- The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 3 that the former secretary for Ironworkers Local 58, Andrea Hobgood, was sentenced on March 25 in U.S. District Court to five years of probation for embezzling from the union. Hobgood was also ordered to pay #3,600 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. She previously paid $14,039 in restitution.

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- The National Legal and Policy Center

Sheet Metal Workers Office Manager in Pittsburgh Sentenced- The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 2 that the former office manager for Sheet Metal Workers Local 12. Jennifer Gent, was sentenced on March 11 to three years of probation - the first 10 of which must be served in home detention - for embezzling $30,297 from the union's Journeymen Apprentice Training Fund. Gent was also ordered to pay full restitution.

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- The National Legal and Policy Center

President of Kansas AFGE Local Sentenced for Embezzlement- The National Legal and Policy Center reported on April 2 that the former president of AGFE Local 906, Timothy Sanchez, was sentenced in U.S. District Court on March 5 to 18 months in prison, followed by a year of supervised release, for embezzling over $51,000 from the union. Sanchez will have to pay $50,156 in restitution for after he made unauthorized charges with his union debit card, wrote unathorized checks from a union account to cover person expenses, and concealed his embezzling by making false statements on financial reports to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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- The National Legal and Policy Center

 

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