Washington, DC (September 19, 2002) — A union-abused worker today filed class-action federal charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) for using a firm involved in fraudulent accounting practices to justify the union’s forced union dues demands nationwide. The charges followed multiple guilty pleas to federal criminal charges by a partner at Thomas Havey LLP, the nation’s top union accounting firm.
Meanwhile, Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA), chairman of the Workforce Protections subcommittee, publicly released a stern letter to Arthur Rosenfeld, NLRB General Counsel, arguing that the audits the Havey firm conducted for 700 unions nationwide cannot be relied upon, in light of “clear evidence that the Havey firm has engaged in fraudulent and criminal activity in auditing union books and records.”
Under current law, union officials must provide objecting employees with independently audited disclosure of how forced union dues are spent so the employees can determine if they are subsidizing activities unrelated to collective bargaining, including electioneering and other political activity.
“Workers should not be forced to pay dues to an unwanted union, especially when union officials use an accounting firm known for helping to cook the books to conceal how dues are spent,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation, a national legal aid organization that is providing free legal aid to the employee who today filed his case.
In August, Thomas Havey partner Frank Massey pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of “aiding a conspiracy to defraud the United States” by helping union officials hide on government disclosure forms how they spent over $1.5 million in union dues. Havey accountants listed union officers’ expenses for alcohol, expensive dining, and golfing trips as “Office and Administrative expenses” or “Education and Publicity.” These practices kept the top union officials from having to itemize the costs of these activities and thereby revealing how they spend workers’ mandatory union dues.
With the help of Foundation attorneys, Mark Simpson, an employee of Shenango Presbyterian Seniorcare, filed the unfair labor practice claim with the NLRB. Until IBT union officials give objecting employees like Simpson a credible independent audit, it is impossible for them to determine if they are unlawfully being charged for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, including union politics.
The Teamsters union is one of the most politically active unions in the country. Every year, union officials seize millions of dollars in compulsory dues to support candidates and causes which many workers find objectionable. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of rank-and-file union members objects to having their dues spent for political activities.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.