Carpenters Union Hierarchy as Crooked as Autoworkers Union Hierarchy

Forced-Unionism Abuses Exposed – The facts Big Labor bosses would rather you didn’t hear about.

George Laufenberg, indicted for Union Corruption. (Credit:

“[C]ompulsory unionism and corruption go hand in hand . . . .”

— U.S. Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.)

Many concerned Americans who read news accounts regarding the ever-growing United Autoworkers union scandal undoubtedly have a lot of questions. You may wonder how the widespread outrageous greed and criminality that federal prosecutors have already demonstrated to be rampant in UAW officialdom are among top bosses of other U.S. unions.

As of last November, nine people pleaded guilty to criminal misuse of workers’ union dues and/or corporate funds set aside for worker training. These included six high-ranking UAW bosses and three executives for Big Labor-dominated Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Three other UAW bosses, including former Vice President Joe Ashton, had been charged in connection with the scandal that became public in July 2017. Former UAW President Dennis Williams had already been implicated in the criminal conspiracy and was facing a possible indictment. President Gary Jones was forced to step down. He then later took the extraordinary step of resigning his union membership. This was perhaps to avoid internal union discipline for his alleged extensive misappropriation of union treasury funds.

A review of Big Labor federal indictments and convictions shows the AFL-CIO-affiliated UAW isn’t the only union plagued by corruption.

For example, look at reports from the entertainment industry observer, Deadline. Officers of local subsidiaries of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union in “Alabama, Alaska, Virginia and Michigan” were either indicted, pleaded guilty, or were sentenced “for stealing funds from their local unions”. And this was all within just two years, from November 2016 to November 2018.

Then look over the decade from 2008 to 2018. “Former treasurers, presidents and bookkeepers of IATSE locals in California, New York, Florida, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Dakota have faced similar charges and have pleaded guilty or died before going to trial”. Combined, these IATSE kingpins stole more than $900,000 in union funds.

Now tradesmen across the country who regularly pay dues, whether voluntarily or not, to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) union have growing reason for suspicion. They suspect that their hard-earned money is being pilfered by Big Labor bosses so they can live the high life.

Now let’s take a look at George Laufenberg, the former administrative manager of the UBC New York/New Jersey benefit funds. In September, he was indicted by a grand jury “for defrauding the funds of more than $1.5 million”. This was according to federal prosecutors. Laufenberg was charged with “embezzlement of pension funds, embezzlement of excess annuity fund contributions, conspiracy to embezzle with a ‘low-show’ employee, and making a false statement in an annual financial report”.

Roughly a week before Thanksgiving, it was publicly reported that the UBC hierarchy, along with managers of the UBC pension and pharmacy benefits and several other outfits with close ties to the union, had been issued federal subpoenas.

The Laufenberg indictment and the subpoenas both apparently stem from communications with the Justice Department, the Labor Department, the IRS, and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey by John Ballantyne, the former head of the UBC’s Northeast Regional Council.

In 2018, Ballantyne’s position was terminated as part of a UBC “restructuring”. In a subsequent civil suit, Ballantyne and two of his former staff members charged that UBC kingpins had engineered the elimination of their jobs in retaliation for Ballantyne’s having blown the whistle on Laufenberg.

The illegal retaliation and derivative retaliation suit (eventually settled out of court, with the terms undisclosed) charged that, along with Laufenberg, UBC General Vice President Frank Spencer and UBC Eastern District Vice President Mike Capelli had used their positions of power to enrich themselves at workers’ expense.

For example, Spencer and Capelli allegedly raked in a total of $300,000 in union dues-funded payments to their annuities from the Northeast Regional Council. But, this was at a time when they were no longer employed by that entity.

In addition to Spencer and Capelli, UBC General President Doug McCarron was personally named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

While it is impossible to say at this time exactly how extensive the self-dealing and corruption problems in the UBC union are, rank-and-file unionized carpenters who don’t want to bankroll a crooked organization would already be amply justified in cutting off their financial support for the union.

Unfortunately, there are 23 states that still lack Right to Work protections for employees. This means that UBC bosses will have a green light to punish them for cutting off their dues and fee payments by denying them work opportunities.