The Latest in Union Crime in Michigan

Two more embezzlers, one tried to sneak off with $200,000+ in benefit funds

For your edification, a couple of items from the police blotter, courtesy of the Department of Labor:

On January 27, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Andrew Blackmon, former President of Steelworkers Local 842 (located in Detroit, Mich.), was sentenced to two years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,055.78 and a $25 special assessment. Blackmon previously made restitution in the amount of $510. On July 20, 2010, Blackmon pled guilty to one count of falsifying union records. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

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On January 13, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, an information was filed charging April Franklin, former office secretary of Plumbers Local 333 (located in Lansing, Mich.) and former bookkeeper for Local 333's Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund, with one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $40,886 and one count of theft from an employee benefit plan totaling $234,331.33. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

There are a wide range of problems that stem from our unaccountable union culture, and radical union politics and job losses from unsustainable union demands may get the most attention. But plain old theft, sometimes petty, sometimes in the six-figure range, is a very real problem too. Union officials are not above temptation, and Michiganders would do well to keep that in mind.

(While we're at it, here's a tip of the hat to the folks at the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, which continues to investigate unions in the midst of an administration that is heavily reliant on union support and at times seems to be bending over backwards for union interests.)