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A New Union Corruption Scandal Highlights the Reasons the PRO Act Must be Tossed Out

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) as well as the California Statewide Law Enforcement Agency (CSLEA) are two leaders of the same pool of corruption which is prevalent within the labor unions. The same labor unions which Joe Biden claims built America and the middle class are exposed once more for their corruption-related practices, both in defrauding members cash and also in denying members the First Amendment right to opt-out of membership as enshrined in the ruling of the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Janus V. AFSCME.

The City, A locally-based New York journalism site is reporting on the most recent attempts by AFSCME to cover up corruption reported within the local 1549 chapter.

The union local representing New York City’s public sector clerical workers was placed under  administratorship by its international union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), over allegations of financial mismanagement, THE CITY has learned.

Local 1549 of District Council 37 announced the local’s day-to-day operations are under the control of the international union “effective immediately” following an audit that revealed “serious deficiencies and numerous violations of AFSCME’s Financial Standards Code,” according to a letter addressed to rank-and-file members dated Sept. 19.

A draft version of the audit obtained by THE CITY revealed questionable payments to a former employee of the local working as a consultant, gift cards given to union staffers not properly tracked, and $45,500 in car service expenses by ousted Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez that never should have been covered by the union.

Also flagged: $257,000 in American Express charges, where “in many instances, the union business purpose of the charges was not explained.” Auditors stated: “Local 1549’s practices here are very concerning.”

This isn't the first time Local 1549 has had charges of corruption. The financial excesses and other corruption are exposed every 20 or so years. In 1999, there was embezzlement, vote-rigging, and suspicious spending that amounted to $2 million.

According to The New York Post:

A top District Council 37 officer who has been under investigation for alleged vote-rigging and embezzlement was suspended yesterday after union officials discovered $2 million in questionable spending.

Al Diop, president of the 120,000-member municipal union’s second-largest local, and three of his top officers were suspended for racking up $910,000 on corporate credit cards and for another $1 million in “unexplained” payments, DC 37 officials said.

“This apparent fraud and abuse is absolutely unacceptable,” said Gerald McEntee, president of the municipal union’s parent group, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

“Let our action today send a message,” McEntee said. “We are working aggressively to root out problems and we are acting decisively to remove those engaged in wrongdoing.”

Diop Rodriguez was sentenced to four years of prison. Rodriguez's fate is yet to be determined.

What is certain is it is that the corruption of unions continues to deprive actual dues-paying members of their funds and their influence. Union officials like Liz Shuler, who recently assumed the reins of the AFL-CIO, talk about bargaining rights, benefits, and security, and then take the money meant to pay for these protections. 

This is just one of the many reasons why union members are taking advantage of their First Amendment right to opt out of union membership. With the 2018 SCOTUS Janus decision, workers such as these clerical workers are no longer obligated to pay for the illegal practices and the political agenda of the unions. RedState stated:

Come to think of it, the unions aren’t slugs at all. They’re leeches sucking on the consistent flow of taxpayer subsidies. And as long as the status quo is maintained, and nothing is done to address the corruption, the First Amendment rights of hardworking and honest employees like Mike Craine will be forfeited.

Another plan to deprive employees of their funds and limit the scope of their First Amendment rights is being contested in California. This could be as significant as it was in the Janus ruling and will strengthen the precedent.

The National Right to Work Foundation:

Orange County, CA, lifeguard Jonathan Savas and 20 of his Southern California colleagues have just submitted a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, asking the Justices to hear their case challenging California Statewide Law Enforcement Agency (CSLEA) union officials’ so-called “maintenance of membership” restriction. The lifeguards are also suing State of California officials for their role in enforcing the restriction.

Savas and his colleagues argue the union-created scheme violates their rights under the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision. In Janus, the Court declared that public sector workers cannot be forced to bankroll a union without voluntarily waiving their First Amendment right to abstain from union payments. Janus was won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, who also represent Savas and his fellow lifeguards for free in the present case, along with the Freedom Foundation and Mariah Gondeiro of Tyler Bursh, LLP.

Under the “maintenance of membership” requirement, CSLEA union bosses and the State of California force the lifeguards to both remain formal union members and supply full union dues payments to the CSLEA union against their will. Savas and the other plaintiffs sent messages resigning their union memberships and ending dues authorizations back in September 2019, but union officials denied their requests, alleging they must remain full members until 2023 or be fired. Despite Janus, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this requirement does not violate the First Amendment.

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation lawyers have also submitted an application for writ of certiorari on behalf of Dolores Polk and other California in-home caregivers, fighting a union plan that uses the concept of an “escape period” to limit their Janus right to slash union dues to only one or two days per year in a similar way. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is another head of the corruption that is very much involved.

The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress continue their savage campaign to slash the right of Americans to use their rights under the Constitution, including the right to work when they wish, free of unions. Democrats are continuing to promote the PRO Act, with its strict ABC Test, which would oblige independent professionals to become employees in order to force union membership.

With 59 million professionals working for themselves who do not want to be deprived of their jobs and livelihoods, there was a significant amount of resistance to this PRO Act, and it is still within the Senate. With an overwhelmingly 50-50 Senate, it is likely that the odds of it passing are low but Democrats keep trying since the vast majority of their funding comes from Big Labor and dependent upon union dues to fund their re-elections and elections.

One of the people who has been pushing the hardest is Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Murray is in charge of the Labor Committee, and in the position she has done irreparable harm to hard-working American business owners and professionals. Murray might be required to pay the price for her crimes because she is facing a contender for her Senate seat with Tiffany Smiley. In addition to all the Senate seats in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona that are in the running, Murray could also be at risk. Of course, she's not taking liability for the damages caused by the passing of the PRO Act, and she is promoting her statements about abortion rights.

If Republicans take control of control of the House or the Senate, then the PRO Act can be effectively defeated. In the event that Murray and her cohorts remain in office, you can expect to be witness to more of this Big Labor corruption and cases such as the in-home caregivers and lifeguards to be relegated or eliminated. In addition to the careers of 59 million professional freelancers.

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