7/9/08

Labor-state teachers union seeks revenge

More privatization stories: here

Collectivist: 'It’s an issue of social justice'

After a controversial decision to privatize transportation, custodial and food service employment in the Southfield (MI) Public Schools, four members of the Board of Education who voted in favor of the proposal are now facing a recall campaign from local union leaders.

“We were extremely disappointed in the (April 22) decision,” said Patricia Haynie, executive director of the Southfield Coordinating Council of the Michigan Education Association, comprised of three bargaining units, one being the Michigan Educational Support Personnel Association, which includes the 300 individuals who worked for Southfield Schools and who were given pink slips this spring.

School Board President Karen Miller and trustees Margaret Hall, Fern Katz and Darryle Buchanan were listed in the recall petition filed last week with the Election’s Division of the Oakland County Clerk’s Office. The term of Board Vice President Connie Williams, who also voted in favor of privatization, is up this fall.

Haynie argued that the decision was not just about money, with the school board aiming to eradicate its $7 million deficit. “This is more than just a financial issue,” she said. “It’s an issue of social justice. The need for this community to stand up and support working men and women and the right for working men and women to earn a decent wage and have decent working conditions. It’s a human rights issue, it’s not just an economic issue.”

The district voted in favor of outsourcing those jobs, despite last-minute negotiation efforts from the union in an attempt to thwart the plans.

“I had people who only needed six months to get a retirement package and they basically cut off their heads,” Haynie said, adding that more than 100 of those laid off live in either Southfield or Lathrup Village. She said many are now in danger of losing their homes. “Under the state law, if you work in a school district, your children can go to that school district. Now there are 67 students who can no longer attend Southfield Schools,” and for whom the district cannot acquire the per-pupil tax dollars, she added.

Haynie and her team have 90 days to acquire enough signatures to put the matter on the Nov. 4 ballot. The number of signatures is dependant on the number of voters who participated in the last gubernatorial election, although Haynie said they’re aiming for 15,000, well above that figure.

If the recall effort is successful, new appointees would fill the vacant seats.

“We weren’t surprised,” Miller said after hearing about the campaign. “The union is very upset about our decision to privatize, and this is one of the ways they are dealing with it.”

While Miller said that “there was no place else to go,” other than to outsource those jobs as a way of saving money, she said it was a difficult decision to make, but one that she wholeheartedly stands by.

“It was heartbreaking to make that decision,” Miller said. “A lot of people lost their jobs, and it’s a really bad thing. But you have to make a decision based on what you think is best, based on the information you have at the time, and (you must) focus on the future.

“I’ve been on the board a long time and I’m really a union supporter, but the kids have to come first. We had to pick the kids. And now it looks like for the next year we’ll have a little bit of a fund balance rather than being in the hole.”

This isn’t the only tough decision the school board will have to make in the near future, Miller said, just days after the school board approved a decrease in millage rates for residents given a decline in enrollment, an increase in commercial property values in Southfield and revisions made to the Michigan business tax.

“We still have more work to do because it doesn’t look like the economy is going to improve anytime soon,” Miller said. “We’re struggling with all kinds of things. We are continuously looking at how money is being spent. We approved a strategic plan, and (we are) looking at every process and department in the district. We are trying to reprioritize and make sure our resources are being spent on the things that are important to us moving forward. It’s really about the future of the district. It was a tough decision, but we still have a lot more to make. If we all stay focused on the kids.”

Miller said she hopes the recall campaign is not successful.

“I hope that we have been doing enough things in the district with our programs for kids,” she said. “I hope that that record will (weigh) over that.”

(candgnews.com)

Gov't unions brace for the worst news

More union dues stories: here

Labor-state gets serious about tax relief

Union leaders representing city employees are "preparing for the worst" after a series of City Hall meetings about next year's budget, which could be cut by as much as a third. While talks are said to have been cordial, everyone involved recognizes the reality of such a budget shortfall. "That is just $36 million that is non-existent," Teamsters Local 142 President Ted Bilski said.

New property tax laws written and passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year created the budget crisis in Gary. While its budget could be cut by a third this year, it could be cut in half by 2010.

City officials are getting ready to take a case for relief to Indiana's distressed unit appeal board. In the meantime, they sat down for a status meeting with leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Teamsters, Fraternal Order of Police and the Service Employees International Union.

"So far it has gone, I guess, OK, as far as that kind of meeting goes," AFSCME Local 3491-01 President Willie Wallace said.

Wallace and Del Stout, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, chose not to share details from their meetings before sitting down with their members.

"The city asked for several concessions, most of them monetary in nature," Stout said.

Bilski said city officials told him "nothing is immune" to the budget cuts, but they promised to share a comprehensive plan for meeting the budget shortfall with union leadership.

"It's a very tough course," Bilski said.

Mayor Rudy Clay said the city is trying to avoid a massive round of layoffs by seeking new sources of revenue, though it might not be possible to save everyone's job.

"I don't see how we're going to get around layoffs," Clay said.

The administration might ask the City Council to once again consider a fire hydrant fee for Indiana American Water customers in Gary, along with several other new fees for Gary residents. The council rejected the fire hydrant fee earlier this year.

(post-trib.com)

'We're gonna shut this town down.'

Casino War stories: here

No peace for Atlantic City residents

The Press of Atlantic City had photos of an estimated 3,000 union supporters marching down Pacific Avenue, the main drag in Atlantic City -- illegally, i.e., without a permit -- shouting "Negotiate" in support of casino dealers being unionized by the United Automobile Workers.

Vowing that "we're gonna shut this town down," Roy Foster, president of the Atlantic-Cape May County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, yelled "Let's get ready to rumble" to the protesters before they headed down the street. "I say today it's an eye for eye." Stopping in front of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, the protesters shouted: "Donald Trump, negotiate! Whose city? Our city! No justice, no peace!"

Four days later, the headline in The Press of Atlantic City was about something new at Trump Plaza: "No dealers, but plenty of action at Atlantic City's new automated poker tables."

Reporting that Trump Plaza is "the first gaming hall in town to introduce electronic poker tables," The Press article highlighted a satisfied customer's comments regarding no-dealer tables of poker: "Perhaps the best thing about playing electronic poker, Marc Zahra said wryly, is that you don't have to tip the dealer."

Additionally, said the Press in its front page coverage, "According to Zahra and his girlfriend, Rachael Stalcoskie, who needs human dealers when a machine will do just fine?"

The 10-seat computer-driven poker games have been "a great success in other markets, including Illinois, Connecticut and Canada," reported the Press in another article, adding that the automation is good for people who "love playing poker but don't like to deal with people and their sometimes intimidating personalities."

The "beauty of the automation is that we can go ahead and operate tournaments around the clock," said Trump Plaza general manager Jim Rigot. "There are no concerns regarding staff."

Adding to the bottom line, the automated poker tables play 40 percent more hands per hour as human dealers. "It is also error free," with "no worrying about pushing pots to the wrong customers," explained Rigot. "It's just an all-around winner."

The UAW, reported the Press, had no comment regarding the charge that the union's actions are producing a more automated workplace that could cost its members their jobs, like in Detroit.

(spectator.org)

Stern's SEIU accused of 'sheer hypocrisy'

More Andy Stern stories: here

Good press comes before fiduciary duty to pensioners

On July 17, in New York and 50 other cities, one of America's biggest unions, the Service Employees International Union, will try to demonize prominent New York financier Henry Kravis, a founding partner of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The SEIU already has attempted to besmirch Mr. Kravis on its Web site for paying too few taxes, even though it does not accuse him of illegal activity. It asserts that because of tax loopholes, Mr. Kravis's taxes are too low. It wants higher taxes for private equity partners, with the proceeds used for middle-class tax cuts and health care.

The pep rallies are another in a series of SEIU efforts to attack private equity firms. Apart from the silliness of making Mr. Kravis its target when its complaint really lies with Congress, the SEIU would do better to look in the mirror. In its own treatment of workers, especially worker pension plans, it falls short.

Among other activities, KKR buys companies and reorganizes them to make them profitable. It manages investments for pension funds of the SEIU, a union with an estimated 2 million members, many in low-wage jobs, such as office cleaning and nursing assistance.

SEIU local and national pension funds made up more than 30% of KKR's 2006 Fund, one of several investment funds in the firm's portfolio.

SEIU President Andy Stern is not above trying to use that business relationship as leverage to pressure KKR to embrace the SEIU's political goals, either by threatening to harm KKR's name, as with the July 17 rallies, or by controlling proxy votes in shareholder meetings.

The SEIU, which has pledged $85 million to Democratic campaigns this year, wants this pressure to lead to investment decisions by KKR that Mr. Stern asserts would benefit workers: reduced CEO compensation, higher rank-and-file wages, and more emphasis on environmentalism and politics, instead of profits.

Yet in 2006, the SEIU National Industry Pension Plan, a plan for the rank-and-file members, covering 100,787 workers, was 75% funded. That is, it had three-fourths of the money it needed to pay benefit obligations of workers and retirees.

In contrast, a separate fund for the union's own employees, numbering 1,305, participants was 91% funded. Even better, the pension fund for SEIU officers and employees, which had 6,595 members, was 103% funded.

Such disparity was not always the case. In 1996, the SEIU National Industry Pension Fund had close to 110% of the funds it would need to pay all promised pensions to its workers.

When the pensions of the rank-and-file are compared with those for SEIU officers and staff, neither poor market returns nor the weak economy explain the funding discrepancy. The three plans are merged into a single trust, and thus are managed in a similar manner. Poor performance should affect them all equally.

The major difference among the funds is that the decisions regarding contributions to the officers' funds are made by the trustees of the SEIU, instead of by several large employers pursuant to collective bargaining contracts.

The trustees alter contributions to the officers' fund from the SEIU locals so that it is actuarially sound. In contrast, they do not take sufficient care in negotiating adequate employer contributions for the rank-and-file plan, with the result that these plans are underfunded.

The success of the officers' funds shows the heads of the national organization know how to properly fund a pension plan if they so choose. There is no excuse for their inability to negotiate with employers to properly fund pensions.

The problem of poor funding occurs not only in the national SEIU pension plan. Thirteen local pension plans, whose beneficiaries are almost all rank-and-file members, were all less than 80% funded, and, of these, six were less than 65% funded. The Massachusetts Service Employees Pension Fund fell from nearly 110% to 70% funded in 10 years, and the SEIU 1199 Upstate Pension Fund fell from 115% to 75% since its inception in 1999.

Poor stock market performance could explain part of these failings, but Internal Revenue Service filings show that 10 of these funds received two-thirds less of their annual costs in employer contributions.

The SEIU trumpets its efforts to secure health and retirement benefits for service workers. Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that the SEIU is not truly securing these benefits. Workers covered by the union's national pension fund have their retirement incomes dependent on a fund whose adequacy has been falling from year to year.

For the SEIU to hold pep rallies to attack private equity funds, while allowing the pensions of their own rank-and-file members to perform worse than those of union officials, is sheer hypocrisy. On July 17, rather than taking back the economy, workers should insist that their pensions are actuarially sound. Who knows, perhaps KKR could help.

(nysun.com)

Let workers choose freely

Writers answer Carpenters' defense of forced-labor unionism

In response to the Labor Voices by Douglas Buckler from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters ("Right-to-work laws hurt business climate," May 30): In a right-to-work state, the people have a choice to join a labor organization, which bothers Buckler because he can't force his policies or dues on people who actually don't want to be a part of his cause. Buckler is right; Michigan does face severe economic challenges. Hopefully, one will be to get rid of forced unionism, which should lighten all our wallets and put money into the economy. Next would be to get them out of our government.

- Deena Francheski, Livonia, MI

Free not to choose unions

To Douglas Buckler of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, the freedom to work for a company and negotiate your own contract if necessary without being forced to join a union is something that simply cannot be allowed. Does that mean all of us laborers don't know enough to be free to choose? Right to work is having the freedom to work without being forced to join a union. But I guess to people like Buckler, freedom is a bad thing.

- Jeffrey Scott, Troy, MI

(detnews.com)

NLRB drags out Teamsters decert vote

More decertification stories: here

Secret-ballot could oust union in labor-state, workers denied raises while they wait

Workers at a Northwoods plant are facing some roadblocks as they try to get out of their union. In June, unionized employees of Printpack's Rhinelander (WI) facility collected more than 60 signatures for a decertification petition. That number was enough for an additional petition on behalf of Printpack's employees to ask for the union's removal The goal of the petition was to remove Teamsters Local 662 as the bargaining agent for the plant, resulting in a union-free workplace.

Now, the National Labor Relations Board's regional office is saying they will not process either of the petitions.

Currently, Printpack workers are operating without a contract.

Union members remain ineligible for pay raises and increased benefits due to lack of contract negotions.

Both the Printpack employees and the Printpack Corporation have filed appeals to the NLRB's review board in Washington, D.C.

(wjfw.com)

Union-only construction deals protested

Subsidized unionism raises the cost of everything

Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC SEPA) announced today that it has launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to increase the awareness of the discriminatory practices of Almac, an Irish company serving the pharmaceutical industry and its general contractor, Skanska USA. Almac and Skanska are building a new 240,000-square-foot headquarters for Almac in Lower Salford, Pa. They have elected to utilize a discriminatory device known as a union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the project.

Most people are unaware that more than 75 percent of construction workers in the greater Philadelphia area are Merit or open shop and only 25 percent have elected to join a union. Additionally, $20 million in taxes subsidies is being allocated to this project by the Township of Lower Salford. If Almac opened the bidding to all qualified contractors, the cost of the project would be reduced and there would be no need for a public subsidy.

"We believe a construction job should be based on value, safety, training, quality and experience and be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, regardless of their labor affiliation," said Geoffrey Zeh, president and CEO of ABC SEPA. "Obviously, Almac and Skanska don't have these same values. They are discriminating against the majority of construction workers in the area who are helping to fund the project with their hard-earned tax dollars. Townships, like Lower Salford, need to understand the impact of such decisions and we are hoping that this campaign will heighten the awareness of all the parties involved in this un-American practice."

The awareness campaign includes print advertisements that are titled "My Daddy Can't Work on the Almac/Skanska Project in Montgomery County," as well as 60-second radio commercials, a traveling billboard, an online petition, a resource section on ABC SEPA's website, hand bills, letters to township officials, among other marketing and public relations tactics.

ABC is a national association representing more than 50,000 Merit construction employees in Pennsylvania and 14,000 from the Greater Philadelphia region. The Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter represents almost 500 member companies from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

For more information please contact Tammy Zelahy, Vice President, Public Relations, ABC SEPA at 610-279-6666 or at tzelahy@abcsepa.com.

(biz.yahoo.com)

AFL-CIO responds to secret-ballot ads

Related video: "Franken opposes secret-ballot"

Dems want to end secret-ballot union recognition elections

"The Sopranos" run on HBO ended a year ago, but mobster Johnny Sacramoni appeared on Minnesota television recently in ads paid for by the business-backed "Coalition for a Democratic Workplace." The Minnesota AFL-CIO has called on U.S. Senator Norm Coleman to denounce the ad and its attack on the Employee Free Choice Act, federal legislation that would ease unionization in workplaces by replacing secret-ballot recognition elections with a 'card-check' system.



In the ad, actor Vince Curatola from "The Sopranos" is cast in character as a mob boss who criticizes Coleman for opposing the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act
and then praises "my pal Al," U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken, who is running against Coleman.

"We condemn these ads," said Steve Hunter, secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, speaking at a news conference Tuesday at the State Capitol. "We find these ads clearly wrong and furthermore they are demeaning to workers and to their unions and to our fellow union member, Al Franken."

Hunter added that the ad stirs up tired stereotypes of union leaders as union bosses linked to organized crime. "Somehow they're trying to tie Al Franken to negative stereotypes of union leaders," Hunter said.

(The Minnesota AFL-CIO has endorsed Franken in the U.S. Senate race).

The announcer in the ad states that "Norm Coleman says keep the secret ballot for union organizing elections" while adding that "Franken says eliminate the secret ballot for workers."

But, Hunter said, the message in the ad is "deceptive and inaccurate" and a false characterization of the Employee Free Choice Act, which Coleman opposes and Franken supports.

Since 1935, Hunter explained, federal law has provided two routes to union recognition: when a majority of workers in a workplace sign union authorization cards or when a majority of workers vote for union representation in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

Under current law, however, the employer can refuse to recognize the signed authorization cards. Instead, the employer can insist on an NLRB election. Then, "they use the election process to intimidate employees," Hunter noted. "We don't think that's a fair and democratic way to have an election."

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act gives workers, not employers, the choice to decide whether union authorization cards or an NLRB election determine union recognition, Hunter said. The legislation would recognize a union if a simple majority of workers in the workplace sign union authorization cards. Hunter emphasized that the legislation does not eliminate secret ballot elections: an NLRB election would take place if 30 percent of the workers in the workplace requested an election.

"The sad fact is that Senator Coleman understands this," Hunter said. "We ask him to condemn the ads."

Commenting on the ad's use of a character from the Sopranos, a reporter asked Hunter, "do you find anything humorous here?"

Hunter replied: "I don't find it humorous when you talk about workers' rights."

Hunter's request to Coleman: "I would ask the Senator to say ‘thanks but no thanks' [to the group paying for the ad] and ask them to take the ad off the air."

Similar ads have appeared in other states with close U.S. Senate races, Hunter said.

(workdayminnesota.org)

Jumbo unions kick in to protect labor-state

Organized labor uses forced-dues to defeat worker-choice

Proponents of the right-to-work ballot initiative raised about $355,000 in funding during the latest reporting period, adding a major financial backer to the fold. The group, called A Better Colorado, received nearly $155,000 from Arlington, Va.-based Free Enterprise Alliance, according to records filed late Monday with the secretary of state's office.

A Better Colorado spokesman Kelley Harp said the alliance is the issue advocacy arm of the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Golden-based CoorsTek provided $195,000 in funding during the period from May 27 through Wednesday, raising the total the company has given to A Better Colorado to $395,000. The group had about $249,000 on hand as of Wednesday.

The right-to-work initiative, which has been certified for the November ballot, seeks to ban forced union membership through the payment of dues or fees in Colorado.

The union-backed group fighting the initiative, called Protect Colorado's Future, raised about $177,000 during the latest reporting period. Much of that came from unions such as the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters union and other labor groups.

Protect Colorado's Future has raised about $2.2 million since January, which includes in-kind contributions.

As of Wednesday, the group had $853,000 in cash on hand. Protect Colorado's Future is also collecting signatures for a pair of ballot initiatives that seek to hold executives criminally liable for corporate wrongdoings and require companies to provide reasons for firing workers.

(origin.denverpost.com)

Union front-group grieves worker-choice plan

Pro-union Denver Post offers typical defense of forced-labor unionism

A labor-backed organization filed complaints Tuesday alleging that proponents of two initiative petitions targeting unions are fraudulently collecting signatures. A lawyer for the union-backed group, Protect Colorado's Future, filed the complaints with Secretary of State Mike Coffman 's office. The same group earlier this year challenged signature gathering for Amendment 47, the so-called "right to work" ballot measure.

A lawsuit over those allegations is pending.

The complaints filed Tuesday allege that petition circulators for proposed initiatives 53, which would bar governments from deducting union fees from employee paychecks, and 59, which would prohibit unions that have collective bargaining agreements with governments from making political contributions told people that they did not have to be registered voters to sign the petitions and that they could sign for someone else. A circulator also stated that she was adding signatures to a petition after it had already been notarized, the papers with Coffman's office alleged.

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, which is backing both measures, dismissed the complaints as "false claims" intended to tie up the initiatives and keep them off the ballot. He said petition circulators were given specific instructions on how to lawfully collect signatures.

(denverpost.com)

Controversial unionist vows to fight ouster

Related story: "Controversial CWA official removed from office"

The ousted state worker union leader who also used to be Gov. Jon S. Corzine's girlfriend vowed Tuesday to fight to keep her post but also found herself adjusting to a new status - she wasn't allowed into a staff meeting at the union office. The Communications Workers of America Monday removed Carla Katz as president of its largest local. Katz dated Corzine from 2002 to 2004, has led CWA Local 1034 since 1999 and been a member for 26 years.

The union's national board voted unanimously to suspend Katz and the CWA Local 1034 governing board, alleging financial malpractice and suppression of dissent at the 16,000-member local.

"These allegations are a complete and total fiction," Katz said.

Katz dated the 61-year-old Corzine while he was a U.S. senator.

She gained attention during Corzine's 2005 gubernatorial run when it was revealed he paid her mortgage and gave her other gifts they refused to disclose. Corzine is now fighting to keep private e-mails exchanged with Katz during state worker contract talks in 2006 and 2007.

Katz, 49, said Tuesday she won't walk away without a fight.

"There is no financial impropriety, and this action was taken without any notice whatsoever," she said. "This is really one of the most undemocratic union actions I've ever seen."

She said she and governing board members tried to attend a meeting between CWA officials and staff, but were told they couldn't attend.

CWA spokesman Bob Master said Katz and the board weren't permitted because, "This was a staff meeting."

Ruth Barrett, a national union staff representative, has been appointed as the local's temporary administrator. A letter sent to Local 1034 members said she will immediately arrange for an audit of the local's records.

"The administrator will stay in place until we've restored fiscal integrity to the local and ensured all the laws and all the democratic processes are being monitored," Master said.

Corzine, as he often does, described Katz on Tuesday as "a friend," but said, "I haven't spoken with her or given her advice in a very long time."

He otherwise declined to comment on what he called "a private, inside-the-union matter."

Reaction to Katz's ouster was positive among some CWA 1034 members.

"It's a great day for members, for the workers and for the union," said Dan Antonellis, a state labor department worker who runs a Web site critical of Katz. "This is a chance to give the local union back to the members."

But Rae Roeder, president of CWA Local 1033, alleged the move was retaliation for Katz's opposition to the state worker contract and her recent national union vice presidency bid.

"I just think this is not what a union is about," Roeder said. "She was elected and her board was elected. The members chose her and the members should be the ones to remove her, if that's what they so choose."

Katz has claimed in a federal lawsuit against CWA officials that her opposition to the contract negotiated by the national spurred the national to investigate her. Katz opposed the deal because it called for increased pension and health contributions, which she said "degraded" benefits.

The CWA said its investigation stems from complaints by union members and showed Katz used union money for her vice presidency campaign and spent union money without oversight. The letter to workers, from Jeff Rechenbach, a CWA secretary treasurer, called the situation "regrettable."

"We are confident, however, that the national union has acted responsibly and appropriately and that our actions will result in the membership having a more responsive and democratic local," he wrote.

CWA represents thousands of state employees, including clerks, child welfare workers, epidemiologists, environmental scientists, psychiatrists and transportation engineers.

Assemblyman Richard Merkt, R-Morris, often disagreed with Katz on issues but said she "may be more likely the victim of internal union politics, rather than any wrongdoing."

"Unions play rough, and even someone as tough and talented as Ms. Katz can wind up being a casualty of union politics," Merkt said.

(allaroundphilly.com)

Pair of embezzlers get term at Club Fed

Corruption rife in NYC Carpenters union

The owners of a drywall contracting business have each been sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiring to defraud the Carpenters Union benefit funds of millions of dollars by using non-union labor, paying union carpenters off-the-books and bribing shop stewards and an employee of the benefit funds to assist in the fraud.

Patrick Noel McCaul and James Dermot McGonnel were indicted in December 2006 and pleaded guilty on Nov. 20, 2007.

Prosecutors said the pair owned Tri-Built Construction Inc., a drywall contractor that operated in New York City and Long Island. Between 1993 and 2004, Tri-Built, holding itself out as a union contractor, was hired for numerous construction projects in New York City, including public projects financed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York – such as a large construction project at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

During that time, Tri-Built was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the District Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Tri-Built was obligated to use union labor and pay union wages and benefits to all carpenters employed on Tri

Built’s jobsites. In addition, as contractors on state projects, Tri-Built was obligated to pay its employees a state-mandated prevailing wage.

McCaul and McConnel admitted that from 1993 through May 2004, they conspired to defraud the Carpenters Union and its benefit funds by paying workers cash, at non-union rates, without any benefits or tax withholdings. They also employed non-union carpenters in violation of their agreement with the union. These practices enabled McCaul and McGonnell to underbid jobs, knowing that Tri-Built never intended to comply with its collective bargaining and prevailing wage obligations. To avoid detection of their fraud, the defendants bribed Carpenters Union shop stewards to submit false reports, under-reporting the true number of carpenters and hours worked on several Tri-Built jobsites.

McCaul and McGonnell also paid a then-employee of the Carpenters Union benefit funds to destroy internal union records that might reveal the fraud if an audit of Tri-Built were conducted by the union. They diverted at least $6.5 million from the union benefit funds through their fraudulent conduct.

In addition to their five year prison terms, they were each sentenced to two years of supervised release. As part of their sentence, McCaul and McGonnell were ordered to forfeit $1.3 million, which will be paid to the Carpenters Union benefit funds. They have already forfeited $200,000, pursuant to their agreement with the Government to forfeit the total sum of $1.5 million.

(northcountrygazette.org)

Meet the NEA's new President

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