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As Membership Continues to Decline, an Epidemic of Embezzlement Plagues America's Unions

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, 10.7 percent of all wage and salary workers are members of a union. Back in 1983, the first year that union membership statistics were measured by the Bureau, 20.1% of wage and salary workers were members. The Congressional Research Service goes back even further and reports that membership peaked at 34.8% in 1954.

Since 1954, the percentage of wage and salary workers who are members of a union has dropped by a staggering two-thirds. For an organization that funds itself with membership dues, the trend predicts a grim future.

And public sector unions now must contend with the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

The Wall Street Journal writes, “Unions, which long have anticipated this day, have been preparing strategies to retain membership, but significant drops in support are likely.” Less support translates to less money coming from members who are no longer compelled to “contribute” their earnings to the union political machine. Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air has a great rundown of exactly how the unions’ political heft is about to be further neutered.

But what is happening to the declining sums of money the unions are taking in as their membership shrinks? Aside from sizable political contributions, it appears there is a national epidemic of embezzlement by union leadership grifters. Let’s take a closer look at what’s been going on around the country.

First stop is New York. Meet Aaron Collington: he’s the former president of the Troy, New York Police Union. Collington was accused of stealing $6,200 from the union bank account to pay his rent and was charged with third-degree grand larceny. The money he allegedly stole came from the Troy Police Benevolent Association’s bank account. Collington has pled not guilty.

Moving over to Massachusetts, we find Henry Clay Green, Sr. who was the former secretary treasurer of Unite Here Local 26 between 2011 to 2016. Mr. Green has pled guilty to embezzling more than $170,000 from his union:

As secretary treasurer, Green held sway over the union’s financial operations, and used his position to embezzle $171,455 from the union for his own use, authorities said. He confessed when confronted by union officials, according to prosecutors.

If your union salary isn’t large enough to cover you and your wife’s drug habit, you could do what Ryan Jones, former secretary treasurer of Maine’s Local S6 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, did: steal $280,865 from his union. “The former secretary treasurer of Bath Iron Works’ largest labor union was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars from the union, largely to support his and his wife’s drug addiction.”