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  • Obama Enables Union Corruption

    In August of 2008, the president of the largest SEIU local in the country, former-Los Angeles local member Tyrone Freeman, resigned after the Los Angeles Times revealed that Freeman fleeced his fellow union members — who make about $9 an hour caring for the infirm and disabled — of over $1 million in 2006 and 2007 alone. When Freeman was first faced with the charges, he sent out “lieutenants” to force other union members to sign loyalty oaths supporting his continued presidency. Now President Barack Obama has made it easier for future Freemans to get away with their crime.

    What did union officials do to protect the union dues of its members? Nothing. According to the Los Angeles Times, SEIU national president Andy Stern had been repeatedly made aware of Freeman’s nefarious activities since 2001 but declined to do anything about them. His spokeswoman told the LAT: “Until we read these allegations in the L.A. Times, nobody ever brought before us serious credible evidence of wrongdoing.”

    If it had not been for the Los Angeles Times, this story never would have broke and Freeman would still be stealing from hospital workers. How did the LAT break this story? By examining LM2 reporting forms that, thanks to Bush administration regulations, increased union transparency. Now the Obama administration has moved to gut those transparency rules. The Washington Times reports:

    The Labor Department also is rescinding another key labor financial disclosure regulation. The expansion of the so-called LM-2 rule, approved during the last days of the Bush administration, requires unions to report more information about finances and labor leaders’ compensation on annual reports.

    Under what pretense is the Obama administration weakening LM2 requirements? According to the Times: “unions say the Bush administration reporting rules were unfair and burdensome.” Considering how unburdend Ansy Stern was by Freeman’s reported theft, we believe uninons deserve some heaby burdens in transparency reporting.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Obama Enables Union Corruption

    1. Chris Hopf, Seattle says:

      Union members should question why such information is a "burden" to provide. If their union dues dollars were being managed by an efficient operation . . . that information should be easy to obtain and distribute.

      Perhaps union members contributions are not being managed efficiently and enabling significant waste, as well as increased risk of fraud . . . thus the motive to call LM2 a "burden".

      I recommend union members begin to strike the very unions they thought were supporting them, as union bureaucrats are more often than they realize taking advantage of them.

      Union members should be in favor of more transparency around where their dollars are going (don't 'assume', rather 'know').

    2. anonymous, los angel says:

      The "loyalty oaths" were actually circulated amongst the union's staff, not the membership. "An attack on Freeman is an attack on the workers." You may also want to see this video that was commissioned after the story first broke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX_Mh8dQdVc

      The reporting requirements should not be relaxed.

    3. Bob, Charlotte says:

      American business is saddled with reporting requirements which take huge accounting staffs and cost millions of dollars. The LM-2 requirements can be handled by a simple bookkeeper. The Dems don't want to burden their largest contributors with a requirement to actually report all of the cash they are using to buy policy from the Dems.

    4. Bluezguise - NJ says:

      Union workers are routinely ripped off more by their unions than their employers, but don't seem to catch on. One of the first things a union does upon organizing a company is to grab their dues. Union officials then get to live in multi-million dollar homes and wear thousand dollar suits many of the business owners can't afford. All at the expense of the workers.

    5. Jerome Zacny says:

      All this, and Mr. Obama still supports eliminating the secret ballot of workers who will be voting for or against bringing in a union at their place of work.

    6. Larry in Texas says:

      I guess at some point the workers themselves will wake up and police their "program" internally. The problem is of the union workers are not "ALPHA" type personalities who will take the responsibilties upon themselves to show some integrity! Truth and honor are the first things brainwashed out of the union workers in order to get them "INLINE" with the mafia way of thinkin'.Before all Y'all die hard Dems start wantin' to hack me open for that statement, understand this- I've attended union meetings in my life and I know the way they insist that they know best how WE the PEOPLE should vote, both in the union elections and in the General Presidential elections! So with that being said- don't blame the rest of us if we want to develope a vaccine to treat the rest of us against your disease, just to keep it from spreading!

    7. Betty Hanicke, Kansa says:

      Freeze all government expenditures and salaries until they can vote on a balanced budget. A novel idea!

    8. Ross, Florida says:

      At one time unions had a valid argument, the US government established a labor cabinet post. Even separate laws and court systems were establish specifically for labor unions. Corruption has always been a huge problem with labor unions, always. The question is;

      (1) What is the function of the Labor Department? Carry the unions "water"? If so eliminate the cabinet post!

      (2)Why is the Labor Department not going after corruption or seeking transparency like the Justice Department? Conflict of interest? Do away with the Labor Department. It will save the taxpayers millions.

      Unions have outlived their usefulness and purpose. Today it is one of the biggest money bags for the Democrat Party. Both have socialist agenda; both want to make all equally miserable while they live "high on the hog" at the workers expense.

      The first labor unions to dissolve and outlaw is any union for government employees. Since when did government employees need a union? Civil Service laws serve the same purpose. These unions are the largest source of union membership today. Afterwards the other unions will die a natural death after sending their employers into the bankruptcy courts, being unable to compete in today's international economy while shackled by costly union contracts.

    9. Barb -mn says:

      Love the idea!

      Obama enables corruption wherever he can conduct it!

    10. Tom in Charlotte says:

      How will we ever straightened union financiakl fraud and stealing by the leaders of the unions at the expense of the members. The members have no real way to create change as long as the leadership has control of the policies, procedures and decision making rules of the union. Without intervention by the Labor Department and the Attorney General, there is no way the members can effectively bring about reform and change. It is a true certainty that the Democrat Party will never entertain weeding out the corruption, providing any change that benefits the members of unions or provides fair voting on the choice for establishing a union. The political hacks are beholden to the union hierarchy and will continue to give them free reign in exchange for financial support to advance their socialistic agenda.

    11. Larry in Texas says:

      For Tom in Charlotte, the anwser to the question is simple- as more union workers leave the union the union loses more money to feed the MONKEY! Er go the MONKEY gets off your back! It's kind of like the statements I've made before about how everyone's hollering "Quit spendin' my money!" "How can I make Congress quit spendin' my taxes on their Liberal agenda?" Well, you take a page from the Obama administrations playbook on political appointees- Simply don't pay any federal income taxes for them to use against you!!! What are they gonna do? Take your house? Garnish your wages? Seems to me we'll lose our homes due to job and income loss anyhow!! Without a job what wages will they garnish, the unemployment insurance they want us all to be dependent on? That's all I got to say 'bout that for now. VIVA LA REVELUTION! OOPS, I just got lumped into the same "Black list" as our returning war veterans who speak out against or disagree with the Liberal agenda. Oh well, at least I'm in some HONORABLE company!!!

    12. Larry in Texas says:

      Betty Hanicke, Kansas writes:

      Freeze all government expenditures and salaries until they can vote on a balanced budget. A novel idea!

      That's exactly what I've reasoned before. When the Members on the HILL have to worry about payin' the mortgage and light bill on their own home, perhaps they can get on our side about the fiscally responsible things to DO! I would go even further and REQUIRE ALL House and Senate members to actually start paying taxes on the income they make from our taxes paid to them for salaries. That puts them in the anty so to speak, and causes some reflection on where the money really goes!!

    13. Pingback: Obama Enables Union Corruption - Politics and Other Controversies - City-Data Forum

    14. Larry Seale, Colorad says:

      I've worked for 45 years or so, 43 in non-union jobs and the last 2 in a union shop. I paid dues for two years with a live and let live attitude toward ATU. I needed help in January and was told "It's none of our business" Huh? I decided to fight back in whatever little way I can and started a blog http://www.ftemployerights.blogspot.com. One thing that seems to attract a lot of attention is to post LM-2's & 3's. When you start looking, you see some interesting things. I wouldn't suggest it for everyone and it only applies to private employee unions but if you have the time, it might be a start.

    15. Pingback: Scott Brown, Obamacare, and Progress « A Voice in the Wilderness

    16. seb says:

      New York CWA Local Dissenters Victimized by Union Terror; File Complaint

      Submitted by Carl Horowitz on Fri, 05/28/2010 – 16:58

      Email to friendPrinter-friendlyAnyone who believes labor unions have forsaken menace as a tool to be used against internal dissent hasn't hung around Communications Workers of America Local 1101 lately. A civil complaint filed in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court against the Staten Island-based union this past February provides apparently damning evidence that the labor organization is run by thugs and thieves. Salvatore DiStefano and Sebastian Taravella, union members and longtime heavy equipment operators for Verizon, allege they were continuously subject to harassment and violence after reporting an illegal union time-padding scheme to the Verizon security team. The pair is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

      According to the complaint, DiStefano, an employee of Verizon's Staten Island Garage, in the summer of 2007 was in the presence of a first-level union supervisor, Bob Rios, who told crew members that if they performed three "fiber to premises" jobs in a given day, they could falsely put in for a full day's pay regardless of how early they finished. DiStefano openly refused to participate in this scam. He then voiced his disapproval to fellow union members. Taravella, also a garage employee, expressed the same view. In May 2008, the pair went to Verizon's corporate security staff, informing them of the scheme. Corporate security, however, did not keep the resulting report confidential. Big mistake.

      Outsiders might have seen DiStefano and Taravella as whistle-blowers; CWA Local 1101 saw them as rats. The union hierarchy proceeded to subject the pair to unrelenting abuse. Bosses brought them up on phony charges of "harassment" and "discrimination" against fellow members. As punishment, during or about November 2008 DiStefano and Taravella were terminated from employment at the Staten Island Garage and relocated to other garages, demoted in rank, and given "final warnings." When the pair complained to union officials Pat Lascala and Richard Meltz, they allegedly were told, "You guys did it to yourself." In March 2009, shop steward Manny Rincon allegedly put a dead rat in Taravella's locker. A month later, union member Chris Tremble called DiStefano a "rat" while hitting his face and head, and leaving him with two herniated disks. DiStefano complained about the incident to union officials, who promptly accused him of "starting a fight." DiStefano eventually was terminated in July 2009. In October 2009, a union member, Joe Sedita, threatened Taravella with death for allegedly getting a fellow employee fired. All the abuse took its toll. Taravella and DiStefano since have been undergoing counseling.

      Union officials not only took no action against acts of wrongdoing, they openly encouraged them. In November 2008, the aforementioned Richard Meltz allegedly told members to "do whatever you want with those two guys." And at an August 2009 garage meeting, two local vice presidents, Joe Macaleer and Mike Luzzi, told rank and file that Verizon was "having a lot of problems right now ‘due to a couple of troublemakers'" and that "We have to learn that we can't call corporate security because we don't want those people getting involved in our business." Macaleer allegedly stated: "I don't want nobody in this room to call corporate security any more. [And] I don't care if somebody come to work with a gun saying they're going to shoot people, you don't say anything…we have a lot of problems here due to the fact there are ‘spies in the room.'" He then added, looking directly at the plaintiffs, "You know who you are." Finally, the complaint alleges that Macaleer told members, "(W)e have to deal with these spies on a personal level, like take them outside of the yard, off the company property and off company time and take care of them, because we can't be ratting each other out."

      These allegations carry more than a ring of truth. It is the nature of any racket to protect participants by creating a wall of silence and exacting vengeance upon those in their ranks violating it. Some 40 years ago New York City cops operated in this manner, inadvertently supplying the raw material for such movies as "Serpico" and "American Gangster." All evidence strongly suggests that Communications Workers Local 1101 leaders operated an illegal featherbedding ring. That one or more Verizon employees may have taken part can't be ruled out either. DiStefano and Taravella's only crime was standing tall in the face of corruption and intimidation. Their lawsuit hopefully will yield a measure of justice for themselves and integrity for unions everywhere.

      Communications Workers of America (CWA)Joe MacaleerRichard MeltzSalvatore DiStefanoSebastian TaravellaUnion Corruption UpdateVerizonCarl Horowitz's blog

    17. Jason, Amelia Island says:

      Anyone have a clue how much money was collected nationwide in union dues (all unions in the US) in 2009? I heard that the NEA collected more that $350 million alone.

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