January 20, 2009: The second BLET officer in two years has been charged with embezzling union funds.
On January 15, the Independent Review Board charged Rick Radek, a Vice President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), with taking over $6,700 for his own use. Radek is also the BLET’s Director of Arbitration.
Click here to download the charges against Radek.
This new charge comes two years after BLET President Don Hahs was charged with spending over $58,000 of union funds basketball tickets and meals and travel for his wife.
The IRB found that Radek spent $3,909 on 57 personal meals that he then charged to the BLET.
When questioned by the IRB, Radek admitted that some of these meals were “non-business meals.”
Radek also double dipped into union funds. BLET Vice Presidents receive a $50 At Home Station Allowance for every day they are at home to pay for the expenses of maintaining a home office.
Radek double-billed the BLET for $2,865.28 worth of office supplies that should have been covered by the allowance. “This double dipping was intentional,” the IRB reported.
Change at the Top
Radek was well-paid for his work for the BLET. In 2007, he took home a base salary of $134,710, and made total compensation of $178,475.
The IRB has submitted the charges for General President Hoffa to take action. In the Hahs case, Hoffa tried to let the officer off with a light sentence, but the IRB insisted that Hahs be suspended from the Teamsters and pay back most of the money he stole.
Change may be coming at the top of the BLET. In 2010, all members will elect the BLET president and vice presidents in the first ever direct election for BLET officers.
Members won the right to vote in 2006 after a successful rank-and-file campaign.
What do you think should be done to get rid of corruption in the BLET? Click here to send your comments or suggestions to Teamsters for a Democratic Union.