Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Brotherhood of Thieves...and other unsavory news from the union movement

It's been a while since our last blog, so we felt we should fill you in on a couple of things we freed from the union movement's closet...

The Brotherhood (or, shall we say Sisterhood) of Thieves:

It's getting bad when the union bosses who regularly get caught stealing from their members get caught stealing from themselves.

That seems to be the case in Oregon, where on April 25th, Marlene Watson, the former president of the Associated Field Representatives (AFR) was indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on one count of embezzling $9,030 and one count of falsifying union financial disclosure records to cover up the thefts. According to the Department of Labor's website the AFR is a tiny union of 19 members that, judging by its name, represents field representatives of unions.

While union bosses are often caught for stealing from their members (you can take a look here to see just how many and how often), it's not too often you see union bosses stealing from union bosses.

For other examples of thievery by union bosses, visit

Last year, when the United Steel Workers of America took 13,000+ workers out on a miserably long nationwide strike against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, some workers had the gumption to resign their union membership and cross the union strike line to feed their families. That's when the USWA bosses got ugly (or uglier, as the case may be).

According to our friends over at the National Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation, those tireless fighters for worker freedom:

With help from attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation, Goodyear employee Frank C. Steen III originally filed federal charges against the USWA union after officials levied fines of $620 each against several employees for refusing to walk off the job during a union-ordered strike. Union officials imposed the fines on each of the workers after ordering them to attend an internal "kangaroo" court (which the employees refused to attend) for continuing to do their jobs. Union officials also "accused" the employees of allegedly informing others of their legal right to refrain from formal union membership.

Between October 2006 and January 2007, USWA officials ordered employees to walk off the job at the Goodyear plant. However, in order to support their families, Steen and his coworkers resigned from formal union membership in November and exercised their right to return to work.

After USWA officials issued the unlawful fines, Steen filed federal charges against USWA union officials because they disregarded the employees' November resignations and unlawfully continued to deduct full union dues from their paychecks.

After his resignation, Steen received approximately 10 pieces of hate mail from union officials. Similarly, on two different occasions, USWA union operatives shouted through bullhorns outside Steen's residence, calling him a "low life" for refusing to abandon his job. In a separate incident, another union-strike supporter threatened one of Steen's coworkers over the phone that he would be fined for "everything he made and then some" and would be fired once the strike was over.

Yet another example of today's union bosses punshing workers for exercising their rights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Evidently, someone forgot that there are corporate thieves too! Haha! Ever heard of Kenneth Lay of the Enron Corp. in Texas?

J. Valle
Fort Worth,TX