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Dirty Money: Report Shows Union Corruption Still Widespread

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Unfortunately, union corruption continues across the country. According to a recent report by the Detroit Free Press, “U.S. Department of Labor documents obtained by the Free Press show embezzlement from hundreds of union offices nationwide over the past decade. In just the past two years, more than 300 union locations have discovered theft, often resulting in more than one person charged in each instance, the records show. Two UAW incidents uncovered in 2017, one in Michigan and the other in New Jersey, exceed the $1-million mark, among the biggest labor theft cases in a decade.”

 

The cases examined in the report involved thefts/embezzlement ranging from thousands to millions of dollars – usually of members’ dues funds. The problem was not isolated to any particular union or industry, as unions involved with everything from healthcare to government services to manufacturing are implicated.  The report states, “The Labor Department records show that union theft happens in big cities and tiny towns in all corners of the country. Usually, the crimes are committed by the union local’s bookkeeper, president or treasurer. Gambling addiction is an issue at times. Frequently, money goes to buy luxury items.”

 

Events such as these are uncovered almost weekly. The report is a somber reminder that for better or worse, union members’ dues money is not always used in a way the workers had intended.

 

David Pryzbylski

Recently recognized as one of the top under-40 labor lawyers in the nation by Law360, David J. Pryzbylski’s interest in labor relations began early in high school, having grown up next to several of the largest steel mills in the world. Today, David is a Partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. Building on his interest in labor relations, he concentrates a large portion of his practice on assisting employers with traditional labor matters, including collective bargaining; work stoppages; arbitrations; union avoidance training and strategies; union representation elections; unfair labor practice charges; contract administration; and various other labor relations issues.

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