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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

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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

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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.

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Teamster Beat

pension-cutsMore than 273,000 Teamsters members and retirees are facing drastic pension cuts.

While Central States Pension Fund claims the average cut is 22 percent per retiree, Mike Walton, chairman of the recently formed Central Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, said “We don’t know how they even came up with those numbers.” He cites a friend and Teamster retiree who claims a cut of over 60 percent. Whatever the true numbers are, they’re bad enough that committees are being created across the nation to fight it. There are currently 31 committees in 28 states.

The big question on everyone’s mind is: “What happened to all that money?”

A recent investigation into the Ohio Conference of Teamsters by the Independent Review Board found that the conference spent

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Teamsters Beat

teamstersWhat do you do when your union membership isn’t growing as fast as you need it to (partly to prop up near-bankrupt pension funds)? Start going after other unions’ members.

That’s the Teamsters’ play. IBT is after a 2,000-member unit of Contra Costa county workers, Public Employees Union Local 1. Public Employees says they are prepared for the Teamsters to go after some of their other bargaining units as well. Richard Boyd, Local 1 Director of Field Operations, had this to say:

“They’re behaving in a way that is purely anti-union and anti-labor…We don’t cannibalize each other.”

The Central States Pension Fund is in such bad shape right now that fund trustees and union leaders have decided that the only way to save it is to cut benefit payouts for the approximately 273,000 Teamsters members invested. 74-year-old Bill Henderson was told

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Teamster Beat

ibtWhen IBT Local 726 dissolved in 2008, it left behind a 15-year lease agreement with intent to buy after 5 years in the hands of the real estate developer that purchased and developed the property at the union’s request. Local 726 transferred its entire membership, assets and liabilities (minus the lease agreement) to newly chartered IBT Local 700. Local 700 then informed the developer, who was left with an empty building unable to resell or re-let, that since it was different than Local 726, Local 700 was not responsible for the financial commitment made to the developer. They were wrong.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Mitchell “became the first Illinois court to apply the doctrine of ‘corporate successor liability’ to unincorporated labor unions.” Local 700 must pay $1,996,853 to the landlord in damages, plus legal fees and costs under the lease.

Teamster Beat

Once upon a time, the Teamsters union had nothing better to do than protest Disney World’s mission to keep the magical essence of Disney intact.

Disney has always ingrained in its “performance employees” the importance of keeping their character identity a secret as paramount to the effort to create “real-life” fantasies for children. Recently Disney started requiring employees to consent to this commitment in an online disclosure. The disclosure simply states that members of the cast will not reveal the characters they play on social media or in print publications. Teamsters Local 385 believes this requirement to be outrageous – paralleling it to requirements imposed by the CIA. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company.

In other Teamster news, IBT Local 509 just had its third lawsuit filed against them in the past year-and-a-half. The lawsuit, filed by Durham School Services, accuses the

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Labor Relations Ink May 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.47.45 PMIn this issue:

Labor Leaders Cash In on Workers’ Dues The Good Life… Grasping At Straws? Is Militancy In Health Care Good For You? SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

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

Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

Surprising New Data on Ambush Elections

This may come as a shock, but the question I get asked most these days isn’t about where I get my haircut (it doesn’t take long – although getting that “trees running away from the forest” look just right isn’t as easy as it looks). It’s not even about whether I think Rey is the daughter of Han Solo and Leia in The Force Awakens.


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