Category Archives: Unions

July 16, 2017

Teamsters boss indicted on charges of extorting $100,000 from business

Coli and his relatives have also been accused in civil lawsuits in both state and federal court of running the union like a racket — accusations they have vehemently denied.

A politically connected Teamsters union boss was indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging he extorted $100,000 in cash from a local business.

John Coli Sr., considered one the union’s most powerful figures nationally, was charged with threatening work stoppages and other labor unrest unless he was given cash payoffs of $25,000 every three months by the undisclosed business.

The alleged extortion occurred when Coli was president of Teamsters Joint Council 25, a labor organization that represents more than 100,000 workers in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana.

Coli, 57, an early backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was charged with one count of attempted extortion and five counts of demanding and accepting prohibited payment as a union official.

In all, Coli accepted five payoffs, most recently a $25,000 sum on April 4, according to the indictment. Last year, he also accepted four cash payments totaling $75,000, according to the charges.

The indictment seeks forfeiture from Coli of at least $100,000.

An arraignment in federal court in Chicago had not been set as of Wednesday.

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April 10, 2017

California Labor Union That Fought for $15 Minimum Wage Now Wants an Exemption

James Sherk, a research fellow in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation, said the exemption is a union attempt to encourage businesses to unionize by making themselves the only low-wage option as union membership continues to drop off.

The labor union that led the charge for a $15 minimum wage hike in cities across California is now moving to secure an exemption for employers under union contracts.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor buried the exemption on the eighth page of its 12-page proposal for the Santa Monica City Council to review Tuesday while deciding whether to follow Los Angeles and increase the minimum wage.

The loophole would allow employers with collective bargaining agreements to sidestep the wage hike and pay their union members below the proposed $15-per-hour minimum wage.

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March 2, 2017

AFL-CIO Signals Support for Trump’s Legal Immigration Overhaul

The president of one of the largest unions in the United States is praising President Donald Trump’s plans to reform immigration policies.

During Trump’s joint address to the Congress, he called for a merit-based legal immigration system, saying that the current law allowing extended-family chain migration hurts American workers and drives wages down.

In an interview with the Fox Business Network, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said his union has been talking about this problem with legal immigration for years, hinting at support for the plan.

“This was the first time the president has talked about legal immigration being used to drive down wages,” Trumka told Fox Business. “We’ve been saying that for a long time.”

Trumka said he was “particularly surprised” that Trump mentioned the problems with legal immigration, as he has in the past largely focused on ending illegal immigration, which is also seen as a strain on the labor market.

“I thought the change in tone signaled — I hope it signaled — that he is ready to start doing business and stop playing for the cameras,” Trumka said of Trump.

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November 16, 2016

Spano: Yonkers schools filed charges against teacher union leaders

Yonkers officials said that charges were brought against Yonkers Federation of Teachers president Pat Puleo and vice-president Paul Diamond for trying to hide alleged child abuse.

The Yonkers Public Schools has filed disciplinary charges against two teacher union leaders caught on video offering advice on covering up alleged child abuse, city officials said.

Mayor Mike Spano and corporation counsel Michael Curti said charges under New York’s Education Law 3020 were brought against Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Pat Puleo and Vice-president Paul Diamond. Earlier this year, the two were tricked by an activist for the Mamaroneck-based Project Veritas.

Neither Spano nor Curti, who both attended a Journal News editorial board meeting Tuesday, would offer any details on the charges other than saying they were “recently” filed.

“You can’t serve someone when school’s out,” Spano said about the timing of the charges.

The 17-minute video shot by Project Veritas, a nonprofit that investigates corruption, has two of its representatives — impersonating a teacher and a friend — seeking advice from Diamond and Puleo on avoiding disciplinary charges for allegedly hitting a child at an unnamed school.

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July 5, 2016

Washington Post: Trump’s America First Trade Message Has Hillary Clinton, Unions ‘Rattled’

In an election season animated by economic anxiety, Trump, a New York business mogul, bucked Republican orthodoxy and powerful business interests such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in an appeal to blue-collar Republicans that helped propel him to victory in the GOP primaries.

Three dozen union workers gathered outside city hall here on Thursday to rally against the global free-trade deals they believe have harmed Americans like them. Their candidate was Katie McGinty, the Democrats’ nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania. But their spiritual leader was Republican Donald Trump.

“He recognized there’s some problems we need to solve,” said McGinty, who is challenging Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R), a free-trade advocate. “One, we have to stop bad trade agreements. . . . And two, we have to take the Chinese on when they manipulate their currency and dump goods in our markets.”

Just two days earlier, Trump had delivered a blistering speech at an aluminum recycling plant near Pittsburgh in which he called U.S. trade policies a ­“politician-made disaster” that has betrayed the working class. McGinty, surrounded by electricians, pipe fitters and steelworkers, declared that while Trump usually spouts “nonsense,” he had, in this case, “recognized a couple of truths.”

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June 20, 2016

Clashes between police, teachers leave 6 dead in Mexico

Earlier Sunday, Mexico’s federal government released a statement saying 21 federal police had been wounded, three of them by gunfire, and that its agents who participated in the operation were not carrying guns.

Violent clashes between police and members of a radical teachers’ union who had blockaded roads in southern Mexico on Sunday left six people dead and more than 100 injured, officials said.

The teachers from the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, are opposed to the mandatory testing of teachers as part of Mexico’s sweeping education reform and are also protesting the arrest of union leaders on money laundering and other charges.

In Sunday’s clashes in the southern state of Oaxaca, protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails, and burned vehicles, while Associated Press journalists saw riot police firing on protesters. Clashes took place in several municipalities in Oaxaca, but the most violent were in Nochixtlan, north of the state capital also called Oaxaca.

n a late-night press conference, Oaxaca state Gov. Gabino Cue, accompanied by Federal Police chief Enrique Galindo, raised the death toll from the clashes in Nochixtlan to six. They said 53 civilians, 41 federal police agents and 14 state police agents were injured.

Cue said that all the dead were civilians, with two having ties to the CNTE union. A state official had previously said a state police officer was killed but it turned out the person was a civilian.

Earlier Sunday, Mexico’s federal government released a statement saying 21 federal police had been wounded, three of them by gunfire, and that its agents who participated in the operation were not carrying guns.

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May 25, 2016

Labor, environmental groups call on Congress to oppose TPP

The groups also say that the investor-state dispute settlement system would enable foreign investors to challenge U.S. laws and strip vital regulations that protect the environment and financial system, among other areas.

Labor unions and environmental groups are among the more than 1,500 organizations calling on Congress to reject a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal.

The groups, which include faith and advocacy organizations, argued in a letter sent to Capitol Hill on Monday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would kill U.S. jobs, hurt the environment and endanger food safety.

“The TPP would make it even easier to ship American jobs overseas to wherever labor is the most exploited and environmental regulations are the weakest, so it’s little surprise that certain corporations support this pact,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign, which organized the letter.

“Civil society is unprecedentedly united against the TPP, however, due to the pact’s significant threats to jobs and wages, food safety, public health and the environment,” Stamoulis said.

In a separate letter sent earlier Monday, more than 400 businesses in 10 states signed off in calling for lawmakers to support and pass the trade pact.

“The questions policymakers should be asking about these rules is whether, on the whole, they would create American jobs, raise our wages, enhance environmental sustainability, improve public health and advance human rights and democracy,” the letter said.

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April 4, 2016

Whistleblower Allegedly Exposes Vast Abuse Within IRS Union

Kim notes that as an attorney she knew to document and report the many instances of alleged abuse. She saw how the union divided agency employees into a caste-like system. The employees who did the union’s bidding got special treatment, while everyone else was emotionally abused and ransacked with legal complaints if they spoke out.

Unionized government tax collectors have been subjected to consistent abuse and corruption from their labor representatives, according to an inside source.

Attorney Jane Kim has worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in New York for roughly 12 years. She alleges that in her time working for the tax collection agency, she has seen rampant abuse and corruption from the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). She tried to expose the abuse, only to be ignored by officials at every level of the union.

“I mean it’s like Jimmy Hoffa-level of abuse and corruption,” Kim told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Colleen Kelley was the national president, I’ve copied letters that she and I have exchanged where she’s basically telling me to go to hell even though I’m telling her all these unbelievable abuses going on here.”

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March 26, 2016

Trump Gains Support From Teamsters, Who Normally Vote For Democrats (Audio)

Antonio Caracciolo is a member of the Teamsters local 282 in New York. He supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and tells Steve Inskeep why.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let’s hear now from a Donald Trump fan. He is a member of a union whose leaders are not such fans. Trump himself has claimed support from union members as he did over a faulty microphone just before the New Hampshire primary.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

DONALD TRUMP: They’re having a revolution within the Teamsters because the men and people of the Teamsters want to vote for me. The leadership is always stuck with the Democrats. But the workers want to vote for Trump.

INSKEEP: That’s what Trump says. Now let’s explore that with Antonio Caracciolo, who is a member of Teamsters Local 282 in New York and Long Island and also a founding member of a Facebook page that is called Teamsters United For Donald J. Trump. Welcome to the program, sir.

ANTONIO CARACCIOLO: Yeah, well, thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: What makes you think that Donald Trump, given the widespread revulsion at him despite his victories and his many fans in Republican primaries, is acceptable to the country at large?

CARACCIOLO: Because he’s putting skin in the game, as the old saying is. He is writing the check. If someone crashes your truck or something and you own the business, you have to pay the bills. Well, he is – right now, he’s paying the bills for himself. None of the other candidates can say that. Except close to him is Bernie Sanders. But Bernie’s traction is losing.

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March 19, 2016

Border Patrol union: ‘Trump is the only candidate’ to support agents

“The National Border Patrol Council and Local 2544 are pleased to inform voters that Mr. Trump is the only candidate that has publicly expressed his support of our mission and our Agents. He has been an outspoken candidate on the need for a Secure Border and for this we are grateful.”

The largest U.S. Border Patrol union local is praising Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for being the “only candidate” to support their tough mission, an almost endorsement that is the latest boost for the front runner’s campaign.

“Mr. Trump is the only candidate that has publicly expressed his support of our mission and our agents. He has been an outspoken candidate on the need for a Secure Border and for this we are grateful,” said a statement from Art Del Cueto, president of Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council, the representative of 18,000 agents.

He said that Trump sought the local’s endorsement, though it has a practice of not endorsing.

However, the statement was as close to an endorsement as possible, and was the latest support for Trump given by several influential border state officials.

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