Employees Want Answers After Uncovering Pattern of Rule-Breaking Transactions
January 29, Huntingdon, Pa.—Three Huntingdon-area corrections officers have sued their union, the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (“PSCOA”), in a search for the truth after discovering nearly $20,000 in rule-breaking financial transactions.
After investigating their union’s finances, these corrections officers uncovered evidence that, for at least two years, their local union’s former Treasurer and Secretary were breaking union rules meant to safeguard members’ dues. They found evidence of improper cell phone reimbursements, checks written without a description of the goods or services received by the union, and thousands of dollars in unverified donations of more than ten times prescribed limits, among other irregularities.
The complaint states:
“[T]he Local’s treasurer wrote nearly fifteen thousand dollars in checks to himself from the Local’s account, for which there appears no legitimate union business has been established, including purported charitable donations that seem to have never been made, and another nearly six thousand dollars in checks to himself or to the Local’s secretary for purported cell phone reimbursements to which neither was entitled.”
These payments total nearly $20,000 that remains unaccounted for. But when corrections officers alerted state union leaders, they were met with silence. Now, they have filed a lawsuit to determine if union members’ money was expended in violation of the unions’ own rules.
“Public-sector unions have a legal duty to fairly represent members’ interests, but in this case union leaders were asleep at the wheel,” commented Nathan McGrath, Vice President & Director of Litigation at the Fairness Center. “State union officials did not enforce their own financial rules, and when our clients submitted evidence of irregularities it seems nothing was done to correct that. They have no choice but to sue their unions to find out what happened to nearly $20,000 in members’ dues.”
The complaint includes counts alleging breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment on the part of local union officials and breach of fair representation and negligent misrepresentation by PSCOA and its local affiliate PSCOA SCI-Huntingdon.
“Our clients want transparency and accountability from union officials,” continued McGrath. “Those responsible for financial mismanagement should be held accountable and dues-paying members should be made whole.”
The complaint was filed on January 17, 2020, in the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County.
Nathan McGrath is available for comment. Contact Conner Drigotas at 844.293.1001 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those hurt by public-sector union officials. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org.