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"Qualified? You Oughta See Him With His Tonkas!"

Here's another story to show us how terribly tragic the decline of American unions is.

A few years ago, some officers of the Boston local of the longshoreman's union figured out a great way to give their kids a leg up should they choose to enter the family business when they grew up. They started putting their kids on the public payroll when the kids were very young, very briefly. This didn't really add up to much (a few hours of payroll fraud), but it had an incredible long-term benefit -- it got the kids on the union rolls. So, when they grew up and got a longshoreman job when they were 18, they officially had well over a decade of seniority -- and a huge leg up on their peers.

Well, that little racket got busted about two years ago. But now one of the guys has finally come to justice.

Brendan Lee has pleaded guilty to putting his four-year-old son on the union payroll as a "heavy equipment operator." Lee also collected unemployment benefits while working -- for the state as a lawyer for indigent defendants.

For this grotesque fraud, the judge threw the book at Lee. Not only did he have to repay the unemployment benefits he collected, but he also has to serve four weeks of weekend house arrest AND serve two years of probation.

I only hope he can survive this absolutely draconian sentence, and can rejoin society as a productive member.

Personally, I'd have docked him for the benefits plus interest, gotten him to plead guilty to either fraud or violating child labor laws, ordered the union to strip him of seniority equal to double the time he'd won for his son, stripped the son of his union membership, AND tossed his ass in jail for at least a year. He's a lawyer -- he needs to be held to a higher standard.

One actual good benefit, though. From now on, the union will no longer be handling the workers' time sheets and paychecks -- Massport now controls the time sheets, and requires the individual workers to sign for them.

This, in theory, should cut down on union officials padding the payroll and union rolls with their very young children. But then again, if any group of people could be counted on to not notice that the guy signing for his check is using a crayon and needs to stand on a chair to reach the desk, it'd have to be a Massachusetts bureaucrat.


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Comments (16)

Too bad there are still uni... (Below threshold)

Too bad there are still unions and all the corruption theybbring. In essence they are just other arms of politics and the mob, combined into a money grubbing scheme, from what I have seen.

This is why I always root f... (Below threshold)
Minturn:

This is why I always root for management. Something about being in a union instills an attitude of entitlement, laziness and corruption. I worked for a trucking company for 6 months. Every little tiny issue became an excuse for the union to get into a pissing contest with management. I watched countless hours wasted in arguments over the length of breaks, who could lift a box etc.

Jay, you could have written... (Below threshold)

Jay, you could have written a wonderful feature like Kevin's Debra LaFave feature, but instead you wrote this one. The fact of the matter is very few union officials are currently in prison for any crimes compared to the vast number of businessmen serving time for various white collar crimes including embezzlement or other crimes.

You cannot represent the conduct of many unions by some rotten apple figure who was a complete disgrace to the responsibility that he was trusted with. His conduct was the rare exception to the rule of most union leader's conduct who help to provide improved workplace safety, pensions for retired workers and their widows, health care insurance programs and low interest credit union loans to members and other benefits to those intelligent enough to take a union job.

Wrong on many fronts Paul. ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Wrong on many fronts Paul.

The reason so many union leaders are not brought down is because of the protection they get from democrats for the most part. If I am wrong, how come the democratic leadership will have 200 hearings but none of the use and influence of the union votes? ww

Paul, Offhand I do... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Paul,

Offhand I don't think you can compare the groups equally. You would have to compare the respective percentages, because there aren't anywhere near as many total Union officials as there are total business managers in the country.

So, what is the percentage of Union Officials in jail per total number of union officials, vs. the percentage of business manager in jail per total number of business managers.

Eric and WildWillie, believ... (Below threshold)

Eric and WildWillie, believe what you want, but both union members and employees of a business have a equal opportunity to take any allegations of criminal conduct to a police agency for investigation and possible prosecution. Yet many more management or business officials are eventually found to be guilty of white collar crimes by juries of average citizens. The numbers simply don't prove any real widespread problems with corruption among most union officials or unions. Even during the Kennedy Administration with Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General, only the Teamsters Union with the leadership of Jimmy Hoffa was under serious investigation of all of the unions in the nation. Union corruption continues to be rare, and not the normal rule by any means. There also continues to be some isolated problems in the Longshoreman's unions as well, such as collecting dues from some work related troubled members, but slow to offer them new jobs, but certainly no widespread issues of organizational corruption.

Hooson:"The fa... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hooson:

"The fact of the matter is very few union officials are currently in prison for any crimes compared to the vast number of businessmen serving time for various white collar crimes including embezzlement or other crimes.

Really... got the figures to back that up or have you pulled something out of your union labeled butt?

More from the union apologist:

The reverse is also true isn't it?

In fact I'd bet given all companies, including non-union ones in America, have fewer representatives behind bars and the Enron types are also one of the "bad apples."

That's a guess, I'm not attempting to pass it along as fact Hooson so don't jump, it's based on the long standing corruption that is part of the union movement.

And BTW "Mr. Defender of all unions", just how is that NON-UNION and cheap-assed scooter running Hooson?

Hoson:"Yet man... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hoson:

"Yet many more management or business officials are eventually found to be guilty of white collar crimes by juries of average citizens."

There you go again, playing the "I'll keep saying it so it WILL BE TRUE" game.

Show us the numbers Hooson.

So, Paul, how many American... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So, Paul, how many American made products with the Union Label do you seel in your store?
% compared to items made in China by slave labor?

What? No numbers as yet Hoo... (Below threshold)
marc:

What? No numbers as yet Hooson?

Having a "Google Blackout" on your end, or your lack of response indicates an anal extraction on your part?

Marc, I just got back from ... (Below threshold)

Marc, I just got back from some management duties with the real estate I manage for my deceased parent's estate and had no real opportunity to respond to you earlier.

My scooter is running just fine, thank you. You always seem to ask this. But I just getting over a cold so I haven't driven it very much recently due to heavy storm rains in the Portland area recently.

Certainly, almost all of the 3,000 plus products that I sell are made in China, yet I have no problem defending Americans who wish to join an union for the many advantages even though I have always represented management myself. I doubt any of the Chinese products I sell are made by either slave or prison labor. Investors from many countries including the U.S. build factories in China and hire locals to work in them, and wages continue to increase as does worker safety standards.

I just got back from Walgreens and they've got a great toaster for just $6.99 with their rebate book from China. Chinese products represent a great value overall in many cases due to the low labor costs, however if Americans want a higher quality good, then I recommend to buy American. It's really your choice, price or quality.

It's a little difficult to speak with any reason with you, Marc. If I defend the right of American workers to hold a good job with high pay that's a union job, then I'm labeled an union "apologist" by you. If I choose to sell a wide variety of Chinese goods due to the great value I can offer, then you claim I'm supporting "slave" labor in China. There's no consistent standard with your statements. I'm personally at peace with my own business practices, and that's all that really matters to me in the end.

Hooson:My scoo... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hooson:

My scooter is running just fine, thank you. You always seem to ask this.

As usual you miss the point entirely, I could care less than dog squat about the running condition, or lack thereof, of your cheap assed scooter.

But I will continue to point out your cognitive dissonance as you once again become the Great Defender of the Almighty Unions while being so VERY proud you have bought and ride what is a non-union made product and possibly manufactured by what amounts to slave labor.

And Hooson's lunacy continues:

I doubt any of the Chinese products I sell are made by either slave or prison labor. Investors from many countries including the U.S. build factories in China and hire locals to work in them, and wages continue to increase as does worker safety standards.
Ah-huh, whatever you say.

Except what you say is flat out BS.

"Although we live in an extremely modern age, there is, in fact, child slave labor present in China."

Yep, never happens Paul, except when it does happen.

And you "doubt any of the Chinese products I sell are made by either slave or prison labor."

And you're delusional.

The fact of the ma... (Below threshold)
Eric:
The fact of the matter is very few union officials are currently in prison for any crimes compared to the vast number of businessmen serving time for various white collar crimes including embezzlement or other crimes.

Paul,
You are full of beans. You might want to look at the actual numbers instead of pulling B.S. assertions out of your butt.

Here is a link to the Dept of Labor - Office of Labor-Management Standards Recent Criminal Actions page for FY 2006. Read through the number of indictments and convictions of labor members just for 2006.

The numbers come to 339 cases, 118 indictments and 129 convictions for 2006.

As a comparison, the FBI reported 490 Corporate Fraud cases with 171 indictments and 124 convictions for 2006.

Remember there are only about 17 million Union members nationally vs. 52 Million White Collar workers. And yet there were more convictions of Union members than White Collar members both in raw numbers and statistically.

By the way you say there is no widespread union corruption? Try reading this article from the NYTimes, Scandals Affirm New York As Union Corruption Capital

Eric, I don't think that yo... (Below threshold)

Eric, I don't think that your figures include all sorts of white collar crimes such as racketeering or tax cases, just more commonly known embezzlement cases. But I could be wrong. And what about management violations of Federal labor law. In Oregon, a nursing home's management was indicted for wiretapping and other illegal antiunion activties. But your own figures still prove more white collar investigations than labor ones. And wealthy management still has clear advantages to hire good lawyers to avoid conviction that some crummy little union crook would not have as the lower conviction figures seem to indicate.

But I thank you for presenting these interesting figures to add new facts to a discussion here. This should be a learning experience. Agreed?

Hooson:"But I ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hooson:

"But I thank you for presenting these interesting figures to add new facts to a discussion here. This should be a learning experience. Agreed?"

I agree also. So why didn't YOU "teach" us instead of making blind assertions when asked to?

You can also "teach" us how you can positively be sure all the Chinese products you sell aren't produced by child labor or in sweat shops.

The fact of the... (Below threshold)
Eric:

The fact of the matter is very few union officials are currently in prison for any crimes compared to the vast number of businessmen serving time for various white collar crimes including embezzlement or other crimes.

Silly me for thinking that the statistics from two separate federal agencies and the city of New York would have more weight than the single anecdotal example that Paul Hoosen cites.

But your own figures still prove more white collar investigations than labor ones.

Who needs the presumption of innocence? If the government investigates you, then you MUST be guilty, the government never makes mistakes.

By the way, Paul as I pointed out there are 3 times as many white collar workers in America as there are union members. That means there should be 3 times as many investigations, indictments and convictions for them to be statistically equal. Therefore, there should be 1017 investigations, 354 indictments and 387 convictions of white collar criminals.

Why can't you just say, "Hey I made an allegation not based on any actual facts but what I felt in my heart must be true, and guess what I was wrong."? There is no shame in being wrong. Bush is constantly ridiculed for never admitting mistakes. I guess if you can't admit you were wrong either, then you are no better than Bush.




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