U.S. Dist. Judge Nathaniel
M. Gorton sentenced Clement H. Porter, II, ex-treasurer of LIUNA
Local 243 in Auburn, Mass., Feb. 18 to one year and one day in
federal prison and three years' supervised release for embezzling
union funds. He also ordered Porter to pay $24,595 in restitution
and a $3,000 fine. Porter pled guilty Sept.27 to embezzling $24,595
from Local 243 from July 1994 to Dec. 1997. During the period,
Porter alone maintained the union's books.
A spot audit by the Dep't of
Labor discovered that funds received by Local 243 as dues and
other payments far exceeded the amounts Porter deposited into
the local's bank account.
Porter allegedly used union
funds to pay "obviously" personal expenses.These included
payments for real estate insurance for his home and vacation properties,
repairs to his Corvette, home repairs, a bartending course, a
fine for his arrest for operating a vehicle after suspension of
his license, and magazine subscriptions.
[USAO D. Mass., Media Release, 2/18/00]
It appears that LIUNA's failed
"internal reform effort" and its ethically-challenged
"in-house prosecutor" Robert D. Luskin had absolutely
nothing to do with bringing Porter to justice.
The U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 22 let stand a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the Laborers' Int'l Union of N. Am. is liable for LIUNA Local 496's racially discriminatory membership and job referral practices. LIUNA sought review of the appeals court's Apr. 1999 finding that Local 496 acted as LIUNA's agent and that LIUNA instigated a membership rule having a disparate impact on blacks and breached its affirmative duty to investigate the local's discriminatory conduct when it learned about charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. See LIUNA v. Alexander, 77 F.3d 394 (6th Cir. 1999).
The appeals court held both
LIUNA and Local 496 liable for violating Title VII of the 1964
Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Under a settlement
agreement on damages, a class of 52 black workers who were denied
union membership or job referrals by Local 496 will be entitled
to $1.8 million in damages, $300,000 of which was already paid.
The settlement gives class members preference in job referrals.
In 1973, Local 496 signed an
agreement with the Cleveland Elec. Illuminating Co. under which
the local acted as the exclusive hiring hall for laborers for
building a nuclear power plant in Lake County, Ohio. Local 496's
constitution, dictated by LIUNA, requires that those seeking union
membership first be employed at a union shop in Lake County. The
appeals court found that the local regularly waived the rule for
white applicants but not blacks.
Construction ended in 1985
and the employer entered into a national maintenance agreement
with LIUNA that called for Local 496 to act as the international's
agent in filling laborer vacancies at the plant. The Nat'l Labor
Relations Act prohibited Local 496 from discriminating between
members and nonmembers in job referrals, but the appeals court
found the local never referred nonmembers.
Black applicants initiated
a class action in 1984. The district court found LIUNA and the
local liable in 1991. [BNA 2/23/00]