UFCW Boss Accused of Harassment, Discrimination

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ob ragThree women, who are current or former UFCW employees, are accusing Mickey Kasparian, a powerful UFCW boss, of discrimination and/or harassment. The most serious allegations are from a recent retiree; she alleges that Kasparian repeatedly demanded she engage in sexual acts with him. She has filed a lawsuit against not only Kasparian but also the UFCW because the union did nothing to stop his abuse.

 

 

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Three women, who are current or former UFCW employees, are accusing Mickey Kasparian, a powerful UFCW boss, of discrimination and/or harassment. The most serious allegations are from a recent retiree; she alleges that Kasparian repeatedly demanded she engage in sexual acts with him. She has filed a lawsuit against not only Kasparian but also the UFCW […]

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Former UFCW Local 400 Employee Sues Union for Contract Breach

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One of the most important jobs of a union is to ostensibly protect workers from their employers. The union ensures that the employer does not take advantage of its employees and in return, asks for support from the employees. However, what happens when it’s the union that is taking advantage of the employees? Who oversees the unions when they take advantage of their employees?

Jeffrey Seaman is finding out the hard way that sometimes unions like UFCW can take advantage of their own- after leaving the UFCW, they reneged on their severance agreement:

Seaman claims he did not receive any salary checks after Nov. 5, 2010.
The defendant failed to respond to Seaman when he requested the status of his salary checks or the reason for their absence, according to the suit.
Seaman claims the defendant’s failure to pay his salary violates the severance agreement and he has yet to receive the $25,000 automobile allowance minus appropriate and required withholdings.
The defendant’s actions violate West Virginia code and have caused Seaman damages, according to the suit.

This kind of poor treatment from the union is quite hypocritical because, as they say on their website, “Members of Local 400 are an important part of a democratic organization, one with a very important goal: to help workers obtain and hold onto better paychecks, job security, decent fringe benefits and justice on the job.”

Unfortunately, that dedication to better paychecks and justice does not seem to extend to their own employees after they leave the job.

Fortunately, Seaman has recourse outside of the UFCW to make sure his former employer lives up to their end of the deal- the courts. Because of the UFCW Local 400’s failure to live up to their contract, Seaman has to fight back using legal resources.

At very least, the UFCW needs to live up to their own promises and fulfill Seaman’s severance agreement. More importantly, it needs to ensure that the violations of trust are addressed and dealt with. The UFCW cannot ever hope to gain the trust of their members if they cannot fulfill their promises to their own employees.

One of the most important jobs of a union is to ostensibly protect workers from their employers. The union ensures that the employer does not take advantage of its employees and in return, asks for support from the employees. However, what happens when it’s the union that is taking advantage of the employees? Who oversees […]

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Busted: 3 UFCW Union Leaders Extorted from Employers

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It reads like something out of a crime novel- three men with the same last name organizing crime in extorting money and embezzling from employers, laundering the money and making millions in the process. Except in this case- it’s all too true:

Three UFCW union bosses extorted money from at least a dozen employers, laundered it and tampered with witnesses in a decade-long racketeering enterprise, federal prosecutors say in a 6-count indictment. The defendants are Anthony Fazio, Anthony Fazio Jr. and John Fazio Jr.

In this day and age, it appears that leaders of the UFCW are becoming a replacement for the old-school mafias of the 1920s, complete with embezzling, crime families, and cover-ups.

And the rabbit hole goes deeper: via LaborUnionReport, court documents describe the Fazio’s “Racketeering Enterprise” as one “unlawfully extorting, soliciting and obtaining cash payments, in violation of federal and state labor law, from business owners [whose] employees were represented by Local 348”.

This court documents implicate the UFCW as well- “Members and associates of the enterprise exploited their positions within the enterprise to extort, solicit and obtain unlawful payments of money from business owners”. The Fazios specifically targeted employers who employed UFCW Local 348 members, even as they took paychecks from the Local 348. These employers were “afraid they would suffer physical or economic harm if they did not comply with the Fazio’s demands.”

One of the most insidious effects of these actions is that when the heads of a union negotiate separately with employers in an unlawful manner, often times it means they make deals that hurt the employees. This means that rather than working to get the best deal for union employees, union leaders take cash for their own pockets instead. The employers pay less out, the union leaders take more money home, and the employees are the ones left hurting.

It reads like something out of a crime novel- three men with the same last name organizing crime in extorting money and embezzling from employers, laundering the money and making millions in the process. Except in this case- it’s all too true: Three UFCW union bosses extorted money from at least a dozen employers, laundered […]

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UFCW Local 7

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In 2005, Ernest Duran, President of UFCW Local 7 in Colorado negotiated concessions for 8,000 Kroger workers. The four year contract froze wages and made workers pay health-care co-payments for the first time.1 UFCW Local 7 also negotiated a four year contract for 8,500 Safeway workers that was nearly identical to the Kroger deal, which included pay freezes and health-care co-payments.2

From 2005, the time when 16,500 UFCW members’ wages were frozen, through 2009, Duran’s union compensation increased more than $80,000. Over the course of this time, Local 7 raised membership dues by nearly $200 a year.3
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As the Head of the UFCW Local 7 in Colorado, Ernest Duran, Jr. was responsible for negotiating contracts on behalf of his union’s members. In 2005, Duran had to negotiate concessions for thousands of UFCW members that included having their wages frozen and, for the first time, having to make health care co-payments.

Yet, since 2005, Duran’s salary has increased more than $80,000 and the local, under Duran’s control, has spent more than $76,000 on football tickets to the Denver Broncos, including more than $13,000 in the same year rank and file members were forced to make concessions. Duran charged personal lavish dinners, Starbucks coffee runs, and even a trip to Spain to the union. He also put his family on the union’s payroll, giving them each salaries exceeding $130,000. If that was not enough, when Duran retired at the end of 2009, his local thanked him by giving him a car that had cost nearly $50,000.

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The UFCW and Contracts

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The UFCW proudly touts its democratic principles; in particular, the union points out the fact that its members get a chance to vote on all contracts the union negotiates on their behalf.1

Unfortunately for prospective members, the UFCW also supports the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).2 One of the key provisions of EFCA is binding interest arbitration. Under this proposal, a government appointed arbitrator would be empowered to dictate contract terms to workers and employers. Those terms would then be binding for two years.3

An unfortunate consequence of binding interest arbitration is that workers would lose the right to vote to ratify contracts. Since the arbitrator’s decision would be binding, and there are no provisions for appeal, workers would be denied the chance to hold their union accountable.4

So much for workers’ rights and their ability to vote on a contract.


1http://www.ufcw.org/organizing/how_we_work/index.cfm, UFCW Web site, Accessed 11/30/09
2http://www.ufcw.org/issues/right_to_organize/index.cfm, UFCW Web site, Accessed 11/30/09
3S. 560, The Employee Free Choice Act, 111th Congress
4Editorial, “Bad check; Employee Free Choice Act Would Harm Employers, Employees And Economy,” Columbus Dispatch, 3/30/09

The UFCW proudly touts its democratic principles; in particular the union points out the fact that its members get a chance to vote on all contracts the union negotiates on their behalf.

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Money To ACORN

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Since 2005, the UFCW has given the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) more than $2.3 million in contributions.1 This is the equivalent of more than 15,000 union members’ dues doing nothing other than supporting ACORN.2

While the UFCW was giving ACORN more than $2.3 million, criminal charges were filed against the organization for submitting fraudulent voter registrations in numerous states, such as Missouri, Washington and Wisconsin.3 One newspaper claimed that ACORN has engaged in a “shady, if not flat-out criminal, enterprise nationwide for more than 30 years.”4

After continuous reports of electoral misconduct, the U.S. House of Representatives convened a panel to hear about the organization’s alleged illegal actions. During the hearing the panel heard the statement of an ACORN whistleblower who testified about the mob-like practices of the organization.5

ACORN was also found by the National Labor Relations Board to have engaged in unfair labor practices by interrogating employees about their union activities, threatening them with discharge, and laying off employees who were considering forming a union.6

UFCW members work hard for the dues money they pay to the union. That money should be used to benefit those members, not to shower cash on an organization that practices voter fraud and punishes its workers.


1 UFCW LM-2 Filings, Office of Labor-Management Standards, 2005-2008
2 UFCW LM-2 Filings, Office of Labor-Management Standards, 2005-2008
3 Patrick M. O’Connell and Jake Wagman, “Ex-ACORN Worker Indicted In Voter Fraud Case,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/6/09; Keith Ervin, “Three Plead Guilty In Fake Voter Scheme,” The Seattle Times, 10/30/07; Larry Sandler, “Vote Sign-Up Fraud Probed,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/7/08
4 Editorial, “What ACORN Has Sown,” The Augusta Chronicle, 10/16/08
5 S.A. Miller, “Hill Panel Testimony To Accuse ACORN Of Mob Tactics,” The Washington Times, 3/19/09
6 Association of Community Organizations For Reform and Sarah A. Stephens and Erin Marie Howley and Gigi Nevils, Cases 16-CA-21007-1, 16-CA-21007-2, and 16-CA-21173, 3/27/03

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has given more than $2.3 million of its members’ money to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a corrupt organization known to engage in mob-like practices and criminal activities with the intent of influencing the outcome of elections.

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