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Union Crooks

Easy for unions to rip off workers

The 2015 Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption certainly indicated the breadth of Union Corruption in Australia, especially in the big unions like the  CFMEU. High profile cases such as those for Michael Williamson and Kathy Jackson of the Health Services Union of Australia (HSU) expenses scandal as well as those of earlier BLF and Ship Painters and Dockers added to this. Many today believe that Australian unions, supported by some powerful politicians, are controlled by organised crime, especially since they took control of the trillions of dollars of industry Superfunds. Some law has been passed to stop the corruption, but more is necessary. But we are not alone, seeing our workers ripped of by their unions.

Embezzlement is a “plague” found in union offices across the nation, according to a new investigative report by the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press uncovered the trend through documents from the U.S. Department of Labor. Documents revealed that over the past decade, millions of dollars were embezzled from hundreds of union offices nationwide. The money comes from employee dues collected to pay for the salaries of union staffers and other expenses.

In the last two years alone, more than 300 union locations experienced theft that led to criminal charges – sometimes involving more than one person. The story includes a long list detailing dozens of the crimes.

Individual cases compiled by the Office of Labor-Management Standards involve theft and fraud ranging from $1,051 to $6.5 million, the report states.

In one case, charges were filed on Jan. 9, 2017, against a former UAW president in New Jersey who allegedly worked with a health insurance broker to “steal $1 million from the union’s self-insured health plan and defraud Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of approximately $5.5 million,” the Free Press reported.

What type of employees were impacted?

Unions allegedly involved in theft, according to the documents, represent employees across many different fields.

The list:

“nurses, aerospace engineers, firefighters, teachers, film and TV artists, air traffic controllers, musicians, bus inspectors, bakery workers, roofers, postal workers, machinists, ironworkers, steelworkers, dairy workers, plasterers, train operators, plumbers, stagehands, engineers, electricians, heat insulators, missile range workers and bricklayers.”

And thefts are happening in cities both large and small. Often, a union’s local bookkeeper, president or treasurer dips into funds, according to the report. Sometimes gambling is the culprit, other times the money is used to buy luxury items.

In the story, union leaders say they put safeguards into place to avoid embezzlement, but doing so is “nearly impossible.” When crimes happen, the credibility of unions is damaged, said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy.

“Corruption undermines the very soul of unions,” he told the Free Press. “And it’s used effectively to damage unions politically.”

Why does this happen?

Theft happens when people have access to the money and they feel entitled to it, Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Wayne State University, told the Free Press.

“Unions are not unique,” Henning said. “Another group hit hard by embezzlement are churches. You can’t train people to be ethical. It’s just access to money.”

“These people view themselves as overworked and underpaid,” Henning told the Free Press. “Well, I’ve just identified 80 percent of the country.”

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Muphin 15/01/2018, 6:09 am

    I have asked these questions several time and have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.

    1) Why was the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC) shut down soon after Turnbull usurped the PMship?

    2) Why hasn’t ANY of the TURC recommendations been implemented?

    3) Was Turnbull paid by the Unions to shut down the TURC?

    4) What deal was done between Shorten/unions and Turnbull to shut down the TURC??

    5) Unions are NOT charities, why are they exempt from paying tax and auditing of their books??

    • Bushkid 15/01/2018, 8:52 am

      On the question of timing, my understanding is that the original extent of the TURC hd been reached, but despite plethora of further grubby little secrets to be investigated, Turnbull didn’t see fit to extend the time.

    • Lorraine 15/01/2018, 9:10 am

      or is that Turnbull is a Labor stooge. He sure has the makings of a Labor fool

  • Penguinite 15/01/2018, 6:41 am

    I believe the TURC was finished long before it ended! Cowered by more fuzzy Labor logic concerning the Commissioner! He was getting too close to the Short one, who’s undoing time will come, eventually! Gillard must come to the guillotine first!

    • Lorraine 15/01/2018, 9:11 am

      I wish this also but it will never happen, the coverup is in place .

  • luk1955 15/01/2018, 6:50 am

    The unions here have been hijacked by the Rothschild clan who are out to wipe out the middle class. They are totally out of touch with their union workers. Who are working and contributing without consultation to the corruption of union leadership.

  • Biking Voter 15/01/2018, 8:39 am

    Unionism is not compulsory in Australia yet there are so many people that are still stupid enough to sign up to them.
    No doubt these would be the same people that vote Labor at every election because that’s what ‘good’ union members do.

    • Bushkid 15/01/2018, 8:56 am

      Given the representation of unions in the wider community, they have n inordinate mount of influence on the politics of the country. That is very unhealthy for everyone – except the union “leaders” who rise to the top of their particularly odiferous pile.

      (My keyboard is once gin refusing to type the first letter of the lphbet, except when it cn fill it in with utocorrect. I suspect militant union membership.)

      • Neville 15/01/2018, 11:04 pm

        Bit of a bugger, that, eh?

  • Eliza 15/01/2018, 10:51 am

    Maybe getup and soros paid enough to the turfball and his mate shortcake to not follow through recommendations!!!!?

  • Graham 15/01/2018, 4:38 pm

    I recall that one volume of the TURC report was never made public. I’m speculating that the antics of the Unions that we see is only the tip of the iceberg.

    • Bushkid 15/01/2018, 8:02 pm

      Yes, I’d like to see the content of that volume. It’s obviously been kept secret for some purpose, to keep the sh*t from some current political personages public faces.

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