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Unions In the News - July 2015

Union Leaders Indicted in Health Care Kickback Scheme- The Capital New York reported on July 1 that two current and one former union officer were indicted on embezzlement and kickback charges. Rocco and Hohnnie Miranti of the Novelty and Production Workers Local 223, as well as Louis Smith of the Teamsters Local 810, were accused of accepting more than $1 million in bribes from an outside vendor. The union officials did so by moving funds from their locals' health care benefits programs in exchange for the brible.
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- Capital New York

Supreme Court's Next Big Case: Union Dues - BloombergView reported on July 1 that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in October. The case poses the question of whether the public-union arrangement violates the First Amendment. According to the article, "An individual has a free association and free speech right under the First Amendment not to belong to any club of which he or she doesn't want to be a member, including a union."
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- BloombergView

Newport Police Union Finances Under Scrutiny Over Missing Money- The Newport Patch reported on July 3 that there may be possible embezzlement within the union representing Newport, RI police officers. According to a forensic audit of the union's books, somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 may have been used for illegitimate purchases. Such purchases include payments at nightclubs, restaurants, and ATM cash withdrawals. The missing money was noticed earlier in the year when the union experienced a change in leadership
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- The Newport Patch

Elmira Man Sentenced for Defrauding Union- The Elmira Star-Gazette reported on July 9 that Paul Harnas Jr. was convicted of conspiring to defraud the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267 Insurance Fund. Harnas was also ordered to pay more thatn $23,000 in restitution, perform 100 hours of community service, and pay a 25 percent penalty on the fraudulently-obtained money. According to the assistant U.S. attorney who was responsible for the case, Harnas developed a scheme in which he created fake invoices for dental services that he never obtained.
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- The Elmira Star Gazette

New Report Shows $100 Buys More in Right-To-Work States- The Dispatch Times reported on July 11 that a Tax Foundation report found that the relative value of $100 is higher in right-to-work states. This means that $100 in right-to-work states enables consumers to purchase more goods and services for that amount than they would be able to in non-right-to-work states. When looking at the 25 states where $100 has the greatest buying power, all but five are right-to-work states.
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- The Dispatch Times

Former Employee Accused of Embezzling More Than $50,000 From Credit Union - WPXI News Philadelphia reported on July 17 that Martina Papa, a representative for the Teamsters Local 30 Federal Credit Union in Pennsylvania, embezzled more than $50,000 from the union. According to police, Papa admitted that she created fradulent bank records in an effort to conceal her embezzlement
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- WPXI News

Ironworkers Union Boss Joseph Dougherty Sentenced in Racketeering Case- WPVI-TV Philadelphia reported on July 20 that a Philadelphia union boss was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison after being charged with racketeering conspiracy, arson, and extortion. Joseph Dougherty of the Ironworkers Local 401 oversaw vandalism, intimidation, and violence at nonunion work sites in the Philadelphia area. According to prosecutors, Dougherty told union members that they were at "war" with their non-union competitors.
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- WPVI-TV Philadelphia

Ex-President of Operating Engineers Local in Michigan Charged- The National and Legal and Policy Center reported on July 20 that Steven Minella, former president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, was charged with failing to report extortion by another official of the Bloomfield Hills, MI local. The charge follows an extensive investigation by the FBI, IRS, and other federal agencies.
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The National Legal and Policy Center

Americans for Prosperity Sends Letter to Lawmakers on Right to Work- The Missouri Times reported on July 29 that Americans for Prosperity, a conservative-leaning grassroots organization, sent a letter to Missouir lawmakers urging them to support right-to-work legislation. According to the letter, which cites a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Right-to-work states have experienced greater job growth, population growth, and compensation growth over every significant measured amount of time.
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- The Missouri Times

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