Financial Mismanagement - March 09
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An examination of the financial records of UNITE HERE and the Culinary Union raise many questions, foremost among them, do rank and file members approve of how their hard earned money is being spent?
 

Decreasing Assets?

According to the last federally required financial disclosures submitted by UNITE HERE, they lost over $38 million in total assets from January 2011 to December 2011 ($207,217, 168 to $169,011,132).1 
 

Excessive Union Boss Salaries? 

The Culinary Union has repeatedly criticized executive pay at the Station Casinos.  However, in 2011, 47 of UNITE HERE’s officers and employees received an annual compensation in excess of $100,000, with the compensation to such union executives totaling $6,544,144.2 

In 2011 the top 5 highest compensated executives of UNITE HERE were:3 

John Wilhelm, President, 2011 compensation $390,9584 

Nick Worhaug, Executive VP, 2011 compensation $295,2815 

Sherri Chiesa, Secretary/Treasurer, 2011 compensation $233,3646  

Karl Lechow, International Vice President, 2011 compensation $214,7067 

Donald “D” Taylor, General Vice President of UNITE HERE and Treasurer of Local 226, 2011 compensation $214,113 ($187,439 from UNITE HERE, $26,674 from Local 2268

226 Executives

 


The Cost of Infighting

According to a New York Times Article on union mergers and restructuring, then-UNITE HERE President Bruce Raynor complained that the merger of UNITE and HERE was supposed to produce more organizing but was producing less, despite increased spending on organizing efforts.9   For example, during the strife between the UNITE and HERE factions, SEIU was spending millions of dollars trying to persuade members of its rival to quit and join SEIU.10 
 

Donations to Professional Athletes?

The Culinary Union and UNITE HERE criticize the UFC for the conduct of its fighters, however, in 2011 alone, UNITE HERE donated $25,000 to the NFL Players Association.11  

At least 45 NFL players were arrested in 2012.12 Isn’t it hypocritical to, on one hand, criticize the UFC for the conduct of its athletes, while at the same time donating many thousands of dollars of members' hard-earned dues to an organization of professional football players?
 

Appointments

Unite Here continues to allow former President Bruce Raynor to serve as chairman of several union-affiliated national pension and insurance funds despite his 2011 resignation as Union President amid allegations of misappropriation of personal expense funds and falsifying union records13.  Nevertheless, Raynor continues to serve as chairman of several union-affiliated national pension and insurance funds.14

D Taylor’s wife, Bobbette Bond, acts as a lobbyist for union-backed health bills and represents the Culinary Union’s health fund during negotiations with Valley Health System.15 She was also as a contributor for a Culinary Union-funded health study.16

Lobbying

The Culinary Union has criticized Zuffa for making political contributions of $231,650 in 2012.  However, in 2012, UNITE HERE itself spent almost 5 ½ times more than Zuffa on cash disbursements for political activities and lobbying, totaling $1,252,676.17  Additionally, UNITE HERE paid a total of $1,158,598 to “consultants” in 2011.18  
 

Wasteful Spending

As described in a September 11, 2011 Las Vegas Review Journal article,19  in April 2011, four representatives of Culinary Local 226 traveled from Las Vegas to Frankfurt, Germany to attend the annual meeting of Deutsche Bank AG, which is a minority owner of Station Casinos.

“The four sat through nine hours of discussions by the German financial firm. But they left before the meeting ended, without presenting any remarks.

Maybe they wanted to check out the Goethe House or sample some Apfelwein before making the nearly 5,600-mile trip home…..

The firm's insiders weren't surprised by the visit, which might have cost the union as much as $5,860 for intercontinental airfare.

‘We know the head of that union keeps failing to organize Station Casinos,’ said one source. ‘It's become his white whale.’20

Attacks against the Stations Casinos have included full-page advertisement in Billboard magazine at an estimated cost of $14,340 to dissuade Hispanic performers from performing at Station Casinos properties.21 
 

  1.   2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Statement A, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.  
  2.   2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Schedules 11-12, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.  
  3. 2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Report, Schedule 11, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  4.  2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Report, Schedule 11, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  5.  2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Report, Schedule 11, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  6. 2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Report, Schedule 11, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  7.  2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Statement A, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  8.  2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Statement A, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.
  9.   Greenhouse, Steven, Infighting Distracts Unions at Crucial Times, The New York Times, Jul. 8, 2009, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/business/09labor.html?_r=2&.
  10.   Greenhouse, Steven, Infighting Distracts Unions at Crucial Times, The New York Times, Jul. 8, 2009, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/business/09labor.html?pagewanted=1&.&_r=2. 
  11.   2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Schedule 14, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.  
  12.   NFL Arrests Database, The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC, available at http://www.utsandiego.com/nfl/arrests-database/.
  13.   Greenhouse, Steven, Garment Union Chief Resigns Under a Cloud, The New York Times, Apr. 26, 2011, available at http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/garment-union-worker-chief-resigns-under-a-cloud/; Greenhouse, Steven, S.E.I.U. Accuses Workers United Chief of Misconduct, The New York Times, Mar. 30, 2011, available at  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/s-e-i-u-accuses-workers-united-chief-of-misconduct/.
  14.   Greenhouse, Steven, Garment Union Chief Resigns Under a Cloud, The New York Times, Apr. 26, 2011, available at http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/garment-union-worker-chief-resigns-under-a-cloud/; Greenhouse, Steven, S.E.I.U. Accuses Workers United Chief of Misconduct, The New York Times, Mar. 30, 2011, available at  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/s-e-i-u-accuses-workers-united-chief-of-misconduct/.
  15.   Nevada 76th (2011) Session – Complete Lobbyist List, available at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/AppCF/Lobbyist/reports/ListLobbyists.cfm?Paid=2&Session=76;  Nevada 26th (2010) Special Session – Complete Lobbyist List, available at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/AppCF/Lobbyist/reports/ListLobbyists.cfm?Paid=2&Session=26SS;  Nevada 75th (2009) Session – Complete Lobbyist List, available at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/AppCF/Lobbyist/reports/ListLobbyists.cfm?Paid=2&Session=75;  Nevada 74th (2007) Session – Complete Lobbyist List; available at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/AppCF/Lobbyist/reports/ListLobbyists.cfm?Paid=2&Session=74.
  16.   Scherzer, Teresa, et al., Work-Related Pain and Injury and Barriers to Workers’ Compensation Among Las Vegas Hotel Room Cleaners, Am J Public Health, March 2005, 95(3): 483-488, available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1449206/.
  17.   2012 PAC Summary Data, UNITE HERE Summary, Open Secrets, available at http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00004861. 
  18.   2011 UNITE HERE Form LM-2 Labor Organizational Annual Report, Schedules 15, 16, 18, and 19, File Number 000-511, Mar. 30, 2012.  ($163,980 for “Representational Activities;” $336,303 for “Political Activities and Lobbying;” $654,117 for “General Overhead;” and $4,198 for Union Administration”.)
  19.   Stutz, Howard, Union spares no passion in this fight, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 11, 2011.
  20.   Stutz, Howard, Union spares no passion in this fight, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 11, 2011.
  21.   Stutz, Howard, Union spares no passion in this fight, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 11, 2011.