Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Message from Review Officer Dennis Walsh

Decades of corruption, court orders and monitoring involving the District Council pose an essential question to its members: when will it end?

I think you know the answer: it will end when the members make it end. All of you, the strong, proud and honest members of the United Brotherhood here in New York have the power to take action and to right this great vessel. With the wind of change at your back and the courage of your convictions -- you can chart a course for the future and steer the District Council to a better place. I want to help you do this. Let’s go where the future is as bright as your dreams.

You may say, “That sounds great, but I’m only one person, what can I do? It’s better to keep quiet.” I say that you are much more than just one man or one woman; together you form an army, a force for good in the organized labor movement. Join with the thousands of your brothers and sisters who are just like you: men and women who want to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and make a good life for their families. You can all help each other do the right thing.

You have minds, you have voices -- you have hearts -- use them. Working together, the membership can overcome the corruption, selfishness and indifference that have afflicted the District Council. Join this great undertaking -- and help build a system that is stronger than anyone who may try to abuse it.

Let’s get started right now. I ask a few things of you. Get involved. Get informed. Go to Union meetings and bring your minds, voices and hearts. Talk to your brother and sister members. Talk to your Union leaders. Tell me if you have reason to believe that they aren’t doing their duty. Be aware of what is going on at your jobs. Work with me and my team to build a better District Council, serve justice and protect your rights.

Important Announcement Regarding the Toll-Free Hotline

Effective Thursday, July 1, 2010, Review Officer Dennis Walsh will operate the District Council Anti-Corruption Hotline.

You may call any time to make allegations regarding corruption. Until further notice, the Hotline will be manned directly by RO Dennis Walsh, RO Staff Counsel Mark Fitzmaurice or RO Chief Investigator Jack Mitchell from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each business day.

All calls will be received on a confidential basis and you can still choose to remain anonymous.

Note that the Hotline has a new number: 1-877-395-7497

You may also reach the RO team by the following means:

Dennis Walsh: 914-437-9058 dwfitzwalsh@optonline.net dmwfw@verizon.net
Mark Fitzmaurice: 914-437-9057 mfitzwalsh@optonline.net
Jack Mitchell: 212-885-8397 jnmitchell@bdo.com

All communication with the Review Officer and staff is confidential.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Labor Pains: Terry Nelson vs. Everybody Else

St. Louis Business Journal - by Evan Binns

Terry Nelson’s (right) efforts to launch a new electrical union have jolted the St. Louis construction industry and ignited a national battle between labor organizations.

Nelson, executive secretary of Carpenters’ District Council (CDC) of Greater St. Louis, began organizing Associated Electrical Contractors Local 57 about a year ago, recruiting independent electricians to his union’s ranks by offering lower rates to garner more business, according to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1, the nation’s oldest chartered local union.

Nelson alleged in a radio interview May 21 that the cost of construction in St. Louis was 28 percent higher than larger markets, such as Chicago, due to unproductive practices on the part of local unions. That charge, he said, was the impetus to form Local 57.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two Carpenter critics vindicated -- McCarron moves to trustee Empire State Council

Submitted by mnadmin 

For at least five years, two members of Carpenters Local 370 in New York have been writing to their international president, Douglas McCarron, warning him of all kinds of problems at the Carpenters' Empire State Regional Council, but nothing happened. Then suddenly on March 10, Patrick Morin, the council Executive Secretary Treasurer, got the bad news. McCarron was scheduling two days of hearings on charges that could lead to an international trusteeship over the council. The trusteeship move was triggered by news that Empire Carpenter funds for pensions, annuities, and welfare had lost an estimated total of $160,000,000, down the drain with Bernie Madoff's ponzi fraud. The council Executive Secretary Treasurer [EST] appoints all the union trustees to the funds; he bears a special responsibility.

Now that the massive loss has impelled McCarron to act, he has thrown into the pot a whole goulash of charges against the council. It seems as though he may have reread some of that five-year correspondence from Richard Dorrough and John Newell, those two Local 370 Carpenters. He accuses the council of not keeping members and contractors informed, of failing to organize. He charges the EST with hiring, suspending, and promoting staffers without approval of the executive council; of filling vacancies on the executive committee instead of running elections.

McCarron accuses the council and the EST of improperly denying upstate union members of representation on the funds' board of trustees. That charge points to the double financial victimization of those upstaters. Buried within the Madoff-related fraud, it appears, is a cynical manipulation. Earlier, the Upstate New York Carpenters Council had been merged, along with its benefit funds, into the Westchester County-based Empire State Regional Council; the combined funds continued to be dominated by trustees appointed by Empire State's EST. The trustees somehow allocated the financial pain inflicted by the Madoff disaster so that it penalized mostly the upstate members. One member of upstate Local 747 tells us that at least half of his $150,000 pension and annuity fund money has disappeared. James Brady, chairman of the Local 747 retirees' chapter, will lead a busload of Local 747 members to the trustee hearings to ask for some measure of restitution.

On the scene comes McCarron as the stern enforcer of propriety against irresponsible malefactors. But he shares part of the blame. He set up the Empire State Regional Council, along with others, as part of his plan to reorganize the Carpenters union. Locals were merged into councils where they lost their autonomy and all control over collective bargaining. The reigning executive secretary treasurer was elected by delegates from locals. But from then on, no one could hold any paid staff position unless selected by the EST. Delegates who elected the EST depended upon him/her for a job. Locals could hire clericals but they were forbidden to pay any staffers, not even their own elected officers or attorneys. Under those conditions, the EST becomes a despot subject only to the international president. In this case, McCarron must use the authority he possesses as international president to try to undo the mess inflicted by the arbitrary regional authority that he himself had created.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Developer pleads guilty of bribery


Hackensack-based developer Finbar O'Neill has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges, according to court records obtained Monday by The Record.

O'Neill, a native of Northern Ireland and a Paramus resident, pleaded guilty last month and is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19 before Judge Victor Marrero in the Southern District of New York.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mob Money

Thought you might be interested in this show which premieres Wednesday, June 23 at 9pm ET on CNBC.

The documentary is about the DeCavalcante crime family from NJ.  Turns out the mafia has a corporate structure and is organized much like any other business.

An American Greed Special Presentation "Mob Money"

This family business earns up to $90 billion a year, and it's shrouded in secrecy. Until now. From the producers of American Greed, CNBC goes inside the corporate structure of the real New Jersey mob, uncovering how the Family earns money, makes investments, and eventually is brought down by the FBI. Making a killing is business for this family.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Union label: suckers!

Daniel Hughes Remember why unions were formed in the first place -- to protect workers from being taken advantage of?

Nowadays, the rank-and-file mostly need protection from their own leadership.

Daniel Hughes, (r) former head of the Field Supervisor Association representing Port Authority workers, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court this week to looting $300,000 in members' dues over five years.

The union heavyweight allegedly used the money for Queens hotel trysts with hookers, casino getaways and high-priced dinners.

A rare occurrence? Hardly.

Last May, ex-Central Labor Council boss and former Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin was sentenced to 10 years for embezzlement -- including from the electricians union he once ran.

Other examples abound. A not-exhaustive rap sheet -- partly tracked by the DC-based National Legal and Policy Center -- includes:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Message To All Building Trades

These flier's are being handed out on NYC job-sites by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is launching a sweeping campaign to convince St. Louis Carpenters Local 57 to stop performing electrical work that undercuts union standards of quality, safety and wages.  Billboards have been mounted in several locations, and the message can be seen and heard in radio and print ads this week. 


A unity rally June 15 drew more than 1,000 members from several craft unions to hear national leaders of the IBEW and other trades.

One Union Pickets Another

The Telegraph
WOOD RIVER - Members of an electrical workers' union picketed Wednesday and passed out leaflets protesting what they call a "raid" on their territory by a big St. Louis area carpenters' union.

"It's union-busting," said Jack Tueth, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 649. "They're wrapping a union flag around it."

He said the Carpenters' District Council based in St. Louis has formed a competing electrical workers' union, Local 57, which threatens to take work away from his members.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Massive Rally Pits Two Local Unions On Opposite Sides


ST. LOUIS, MO A huge union rally Tuesday in Forest Park is the latest salvo in what's shaping up as a nasty civil war between rival labor unions in St. Louis and it could mean trouble for organized labor. Several thousand workers from various St. Louis unions were joined by union workers from throughout the Midwest and by union leaders from Washington D.C. They're angry because the St. Louis carpenters union has formed a brand-new local, specifically for electrical workers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Empire Council Hearing Testimony

On April 26, 2010 the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America placed the Empire State Council of Carpenters under supervision. Patrick Morin was removed as EST.

Along with Morin’s removal, all labor trustees of the Empire funds were removed, and the Empire Council’s executive board was dissolved. The law firm representing the Empire Council was removed and replaced by a firm that works with the UBC.

UBC Vice President Frank Spencer was appointed supervisor and Benjamin Glenn assistant supervisor.

On March 30, the UBC held closed-door hearings at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Albany on allegations that the Empire Council unfairly burdened its upstate members with millions of dollars in investment losses stemming from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. An investment adviser working with the Empire Council had placed money with Madoff.

The total losses to the Empire Council’s pension, annuity and health funds were estimated at more than $160 million.

Below is the exclusive testimony provided by Brother Richard Dorrough of Local 370 of the closed-door hearings.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shake-up in Leaders of Union for Carpenters

By Matt Glynn

Financial fallout from the Bernard L. Madoff investment scandal has resulted in a leadership shake-up at a statewide unionized-carpenters organization that lost money in the Ponzi scheme.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, based in Washington, D. C., has placed the statewide organization, the Empire State Regional Council of Carpenters, under supervision.

The UBC said its investigation continues into how losses stemming from the Madoff scandal were allocated to members of the Empire Council and what can be done for individual carpenters who have felt the financial impact.

Among several changes, it removed Patrick B. Morin as the Empire Council’s executive secretary and treasurer, and appointed the UBC’s Eastern District vice president, Frank Spencer, to supervise the council.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Contractors Who Build Office Interiors Face Inquiry on Possibly False Bills


The interior-construction industry is hidden from the view of most New Yorkers, but billions of dollars a year are spent building and rebuilding the walls and guts of the city’s corporate towers.

(Photo left: Investigators seized records from P. J. Mechanical Corporation on Monday in an inquiry into the interior-construction industry.)
The industry is coming into public focus for the second time in a dozen years as investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office expand their investigation into possible corruption by contractors suspected of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars using false invoices from electrical, drywall, plumbing and mechanical contractors..

On three successive days this week, state troopers and detectives from the Manhattan district attorney’s office raided three prominent subcontractors, the P.J. Mechanical Corporation in Manhattan; Sirina Fire Protection Corporation in New Hyde Park, on Long Island; and Sweeney & Harkin Carpentry and Dry Wall Corporation, in Long Island City, Queens.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Unions Drown Out the Rat

Remember "The Rat," that giant, inglorious inflatable rodent who appeared at construction sites throughout the city to taunt and humiliate companies that were using nonunion labor? Well, the rat is deflated, deceased. Gone. Finished. Kaput. At least as far as Local 2870 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is concerned.

"Our rats are tucked away in storage," reported William Peters, an organizer with the local. "We probably have four or five on hand." He said the rat was a turnoff from the point of view of the general public. "As soon as they saw the rat, they'd throw their hands up. They don't want to know what the problem is."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Review Officer and Team Members Contact Info

Below is the contact information and a short biography for the new District Council Review Officer, Dennis Walsh, and his team members.

As a review officer, Walsh would have unfettered access to the financial books of the union and its benefits fund. He would have authority over current and prospective office-holders and be empowered to investigate expenditures, investments, contracts, corruption and wrongdoing by officers, representatives, agents, employees, members, and trustees; and to bring disciplinary charges to said representatives.

The full "authorities, rights and powers" of the "Review Officer" are set forth in the 21-page stipulation.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New York City's 12 Most Effective Labor Leaders

By City Hall

New York may have the highest labor enrollment of any state in the nation, but that does not make being a labor leader any easier these days. The movement is on the decline nationally. The economy still has not fully recovered and the city faces a multibillion-dollar deficit.

But with the strong leadership of people in the city’s labor movement, New York remains a union town.

For the May Power Matrix, City Hall, with the input of political consultants and longtime observers of the movement, compiled a list of 12 of the most effective labor leaders in the city, a tough task given the slew of qualified candidates. Some come from the city’s largest unions, while others have a small membership but have had an outsized impact. Some are known for negotiating contracts with the city, while others are known for their political skills. Only heads of unions (not political directors or other staff positions) were considered.

The common theme: these are the leaders who deliver the most for their members in city government and politics.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Callahan Out - Walsh In

Judge Haight just approved the stipulation, naming Dennis Walsh the new Review Officer. Judge Haight also took himself off the case.

As a review officer, Walsh would have considerably more clout than William Callahan, the current special investigator, especially over the benefits funds.

Walsh would have unfettered access to the financial books of the union and its benefits fund. He would have authority over current and prospective office-holders and be empowered to investigate expenditures, investments, contracts, corruption and wrongdoing by officers, representatives, agents, employees, members, and trustees; and to bring disciplinary charges to said representatives.

The full "authorities, rights and powers" are set forth in the 21-page stipulation

Walsh, a partner in a White Plains law firm, worked for the state attorney general, prosecuting mobbed-up officials in the union’s Local 608.

In 2007, federal prosecutors asked Judge Haight to fire the special investigator, William Callahan, excoriating him for “incomplete and slow-moving investigations.”

Callahan prevailed, with the new appointment of Walsh, Callahan is no longer the special investigator.
2010-06-03 Order Approving RO Stipulation

Feds Appoint Officer To Oversee Carpenters Union