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Labor Relations INK October 2016

In this issue:

Another Union Business Dies Union Pickpockets Unions On The Campaign Trail SEIU Watch, Insight, Scoreboard, Sticky Fingers and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Come November…

Election day is (mercifully) just around the corner. While I hesitate to make predictions this election season it looks very much like Hillary Clinton will win the White House and based on everything I’ve read there is a much better than 50% chance Democrats will gain control of the Senate. Barring a complete wipeout in down ballot races it looks like Republicans will maintain narrow control over the House of Representatives.

hillary-clinton

What do results like this mean for labor professionals? The easiest answer is “more

Continue reading Labor Relations INK October 2016

Teamsters Beat

Tensions are rising as the Teamsters International Officer election comes to a head. 17-year incumbent James P. Hoffa, son of the infamous former Teamster leader James (Jimmy) R. Hoffa, is going up against Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman.

Zuckerman represents a group of “pissed off Teamsters” who feel strongly that it’s time to oust the Hoffas once and for all if they want real change. The key to a victory, they say, will be voter turnout, as only 1 in 5 Teamster members voted in the last election.

The Teamsters are one of the few U.S. unions that are “constitutionally guaranteed the right to directly elect their international union officers every five years.”

zuckerman-hoffa

Teamster Beat

top-chef-ibt

You may remember a couple years ago when Teamsters Local 25 members were accused of threatening, heckling, harassing, and slashing tires of crew members for Bravo’s Top Chef tv show. At the time, local leaders completely denied these allegations. Well, former Local 25 official Mark Harrington finally plead guilty in an agreement that “spares him any jail time and calls for two years of probation.”

 

Union Pension Woes

The New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund is expected to file an application today to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. According to the last 5500 filing in 2014, this plan was 46.5% funded. In a letter on February 5th to the plan’s 34,639 participants, fund trustees estimated that the plan will go insolvent within the next 19 years.

The Teamsters application to the Treasury Department follows two other applications submitted by the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Locals 5 and 7.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation that would use taxpayer dollars to bail out the “overpromised, underfunded pension plan of the United Mine Workers of America.” This article gives a great synopsis of why that’s a terrible idea. Here’s a quick quote:

Continue reading Union Pension Woes

Teamster Beat

The Teamsters and Longshoremen always seem to keep things interesting at the ports. Most recently, IBT is heading up a movement to “ban trucking companies from Port property when they illegally misclassify truck drivers” as independent contractors.

In Connecticut, 120 members of Teamsters Local 1035 have been locked out by their employer, Hartford Distributors, after failing to reach a contract during the last four months of negotiations.

Former Local 20 President, Bill Lichtenwald, is leaving his post after a 10-month investigation into accusations of “financial impropriety.” Why a person who makes $200,000 a year would feel the need to commit any misconduct for financial gains is beyond us. Perhaps it has something to do with the failing Teamsters Central States Pension fund—which he also served as board member of.

An interim president will be assigned to complete Lichtenwald’s post as Local 20 president through the end of

Continue reading Teamster Beat

Labor Relations Ink May 2016

In this issue:

What The Uber Settlement Means Unions And Modernization Don’t Mix Treasury Determined to Bilk Taxpayers In Pension Demise Another Union Marriage Ends In Divorce Scoreboard, SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

I’ve been everywhere, man

I am home for the first full week in a month and looking forward to a holiday weekend before I hit the trail again. Traveling can get old, but there are parts of it I really enjoy. It is great to meet new people. Of course I like to talk about what’s going on the world of labor relations and approachable leadership. But traveling also gives me a great opportunity to learn and grow too.

I thought for this month’s insight I’d take readers on a quick tour of the last

Continue reading Labor Relations Ink May 2016

Treasury Determined To Bilk Taxpayers In Pension Demise

cspf-rescueThe Teamsters Central States Pension Plan is swirling the bowl, just waiting for the final flush. Earlier this month, the Treasury Department, which must approve any plans to cut pension benefits, rejected that proposed by the union. The Treasury official appointed to review the planned reorganization said the proposal was based on flawed assumptions and did not demonstrate it would successfully rescue the ailing fund. He also claimed the plan’s proposed cuts were not “equitably distributed” among the retiree population, and the notice provided to plan participants about the cuts was too “technical” and “overly complex.” However, the reality is that the Treasury, in cahoots with the DOL and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, used the rejection as a way to ignore the 2014 law Congress passed specifically to solve

Continue reading Treasury Determined To Bilk Taxpayers In Pension Demise

Union Power Gone Bad

Patrick Santeramo

Patrick Santeramo

Patrick Santeramo, former president of the Broward Teachers Union, pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud on February 12. This came less than one month after he was convicted by a state jury on “various theft, fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.” Click here for details of the Santeramo schemes that were a decade in the making.

A former member of IBT Local 82 has been sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay roughly $40,000 for extorting local business and fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits. James Deamicis, 52, worked with two other Local 82 members to shake down businesses by “threatening to interrupt their business if the entities did not give jobs to unionized members.”

Teamster Beat

Hoffa GiacaloneThe Teamsters union has been under a trusteeship for nearly a quarter of a century due to its overwhelming involvement in organized crime. Just as the light at the end of the tunnel has been becoming brighter for the union, that government supervision proves its worth again.

One Teamster employee is currently under investigation for embezzling funds for, get this, Uber rides. If the investigation confirms this to be true, it will be especially embarrassing for the union as it “undermines the Teamsters’ ongoing attempts to demonize Uber” in their efforts to organize the company.

Teamster Beat

As we reported in Octoberteamsters, the Independent Review Board has recommended that a trusteeship be imposed on the Ohio Conference of Teamsters after finding that the organization spent at least 70 percent of members’ dues money “for the benefit of its officers, employees and other local officers.”

What happened next? The Independent Review Board started looking into the locals that make up the Ohio Conference of Teamsters. The findings on their November 24 report aren’t much of a shocker. Here are a couple highlights:

Local 400 officers abolished the members pension plan, but neglected to make the required payments on the withdrawal liability (totaling $697,482); Officers lied on financial and trustee reports; The organization spent member’s dues on gifts and grants, including golf tournaments and donations to the Ohio Conference of Teamsters, while the union was in debt.

Continue reading Teamster Beat