July 24, 2014: The Independent Review Board (IRB) has brought embezzlement charges against Harvey Jackson, the president of Local 1150, which represents Sikorsky Aircraft Teamsters at plants in Connecticut, Alabama, and Florida.
Jackson is charged with using the union credit card to buy at least $13,000 worth of electronics for his personal use, including: expensive projectors, speakers, cameras, cell phones, DVD player, Blu-ray player, a laptop, Bose headphones, and more.
Jackson was paid $141,744 in salary in 2013 by Local 1150. He should buy his own electronics.
July 24, 2014: The Independent Review Board (IRB) has brought serious charges against Timothy Ryan, a former construction industry union rep for employer payoffs, diverting jobs to his friends, and conducting a bogus contract vote.
Fortunately, Ryan is no longer a union rep, as his activities were exposed within the union.
Ryan served as the construction industry BA starting in 2009, until he was fired in 2012 by Local 525 principal officer Thomas Pelot, who became aware of his shameful betrayal of Teamster principles. Unfortunately, he was again hired as a BA, by St Louis Local 682 in 2013 and served until he resigned last month, with IRB charges coming.
Ryan is charged with payoff from a construction company, Stutz Excavating, in the form of free construction work at his home, and free automobiles supplied by a dealership owned by the Stutz family. He approved a substandard contract with Stutz without a secret ballot vote of the members, and even tried to extend concessions to other locals, including Local 50, for Stutz. He is also charged with manipulating the union referral list to get jobs improperly for his brother, sister, uncle, and several friends
When the IRB questioned him, he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in response to key questions involving alleged gifts from the employer.
Thankfully, his Teamster career of misdeeds appears to be over.
July 3, 2014: Chicago Local 710 secretary treasurer Pat Flynn has been charged by the Independent Review Board (IRB) with embezzling $58,000 in visa gift cards, violating his fiduciary duty, and exposing the local to legal liability in a cover-up.
Flynn was paid $482,543 by Local 710 members’ dues in 2013, plus an additional $44,900 in deferred income, making him the highest paid of all Teamster’ fat cats.
The 105-page investigative report and recommended charges indicates that the IRB has thoroughly investigated what happened with the gift cards during the years 2009-2012.
Each year Local 710 staff would provide a number of stewards with $150 gift cards. Flynn, the local secretary treasurer, would then direct the staff to purchase excess cards that were kept by him personally in his office, separate from other union property and money. The same thing happened with $25 gift cards purchased as prizes for union meeting attendance. The excess cards were not accounted for and were not shown as assets on the LM-2 or the monthly trustees’ reports, although the visa cards were as good as cash.
The report notes that Flynn’s various explanations for the scheme are not credible. “Flynn essentially claimed that since local funds had been converted into gift cards solely under his control, at that point magically he did not have to account for their use.” (pp 79-80)
The IRB points out that Flynn served as the local secretary treasurer since 2004, was an employee of the local for 33 years, had served on Hoffa’s General Executive Board, and studied accounting in college, so his claimed ignorance does not stand.
IRB procedures call for Hoffa to bring charges against Flynn, hold a hearing, and report the results to the IRB within 90 days, or decline to act. At that point the IRB will take over and make the final determination on the adequacy of actions taken.
The IRB exists to investigate and root out corruption in the Teamsters Union. Of the three members on the board one is chosen by Hoffa and the General Executive Board, one by the US Attorney, and one selected jointly by both.
Former Louisville Teamsters leader Jerry T. Vincent Jr. was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges that he embezzled union funds, took illegal union loans and conducted false record keeping, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
According to the indictment, Vincent, president of Teamsters Local 783 from 2006 to 2011, embezzled more than $17,000 between October 2009 and August 2011.
Click here to read more at The Courier Journal.
April 2, 2014: Teamster members swept the United Action Slate into office in the 5,500-member Rhode Island Local 251 last fall.
One hundred days into their first term, the reform leadership is living up to its name—by taking united action and rebuilding union power by getting members involved.
As candidates, the United Action Slate vowed to cut bloated officer salaries and put members first.
On their first day in office, they made good on the promise, by voting to cut the salaries of all officers and business agents by more than $300,000 a year.
The highest-ranking officers led by example. Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi and President Paul Santos reduced their salary by more than $60,000 each.
The local’s old guard officers paid themselves as much as $170,074 a year and drained the treasury on their way out the door by claiming $68,000 in unused vacation pay.
The new Local 251 Executive Board has closed the loophole that officials abused to bank unlimited amounts of unused vacation.
They’re also selling off the fleet of cars owned by the Local, having Business Agents drive their own cards, and putting the proceeds from the car auction to work for the members.
Elected Shop Stewards & Contract Bargaining Teams
Last year, a majority of Local 251 members voted to change the union bylaws so that all shop stewards and contract bargaining teams would be elected by the members.
The old officers blocked the reform by requiring a two-thirds majority. The new Local 251 is
putting democracy first.
Members in any shop can now call a shop steward election by turning in a petition that is signed by over 30 percent of the Teamsters in the bargaining unit.
The union has beefed up representation for the 2,500 members at Rhode Island Hospital by tripling the number of stewards with every one of them elected by the
Returning the Local to the Members
Membership meetings used to draw just 75 members and retirees and members were shut down from participating. “We clocked one meeting at less than five minutes, including the Pledge of Allegiance and moment of silence,” said President Paul Santos.
Now, membership meetings regularly draw 300 to 400 members, with educational
workshops held afterwards.
Shop Steward Trainings
After years without any shop steward education program, Local 251 now holds monthly Shop Steward Trainings. The first one drew 110 stewards. Topics so far have included: Shop Steward Rights, Investigating Disciplinary Grievances, and Dealing with Difficult Supervisors.
Standing Up to UPS
With over 700 members, UPS is Local 251’s second-largest employer and its number one
Local 251 held shop steward elections so every shift now has representation and launched contract enforcement campaigns to take on excessive overtime and supervisors working violations.
When workers in New England need union solidarity, Local 251 is there.
Local 251 has been out in force at rallies to support an organizing drive by UNITE HERE at the Hotel Renaissance in Providence.
The union organized a rally to fight privatization of Teamster sanitation jobs in Fall River, Mass. and sent the local’s Tractor Trailer to Vermont to support striking Teamster bus drivers.
April 2, 2014: Members of Los Angeles Local 396 are talking, networking and starting to raise money to put the rank and file power back in the drivers seat. Even former supporters of secretary treasurer Ron Herrera are climbing aboard the movement for change.
Most of the 10,000 members of Local 396 work at UPS. Herrera showed his colors in the UPS contract; instead of working with members for a better contract, he sold every PR line coming down from Hoffa and Hall.
In the first vote Local 396 UPSers voted 4-1 No, sending a clear message and winning enhanced health benefit levels, which the new health plan in the west has to match. In the second vote, Herrera sold it by telling members if they vote Yes, they would get their retro checks in time for Christmas. He knew that was a lie because many contract supplements were nowhere near settlement, and still aren’t today, four months later.
UPS Teamsters are networking and reaching out, and including sanitation drivers as well, who make up a big part of Local 396.
Herrera continues to try to sell the company line. At the February union meeting, he endorsed UPS’s need for a 4-10 work week (Saturday through Tuesday) to compete with new programs from the postal service. After feeder drivers reacted with a hell no to that, Herrera did a 180 and now opposes it!
That’s not a leader. That’s a politician.
If members want leaders who are accountable to the rank and file, now is the time to get involved to make it happen. The local election will be held this fall.
Teamsters in Rhode Island stunned the union old guard and took back their statewide local from entrenched incumbents last fall.
Two weeks into their new term, Local 251’s reform leaders had cut officer salaries by $300,000 a year, members were choosing their stewards and bargaining committees, and more than 110 stewards turned out to the local’s first steward seminar.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.