There was no evidence of any tears being shed among local labor leaders over the arrest of longtime Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association President Kenneth Wynder July 13 on charges that he embezzled more than $500,000 from his union's welfare fund and members' individual retirement accounts.
It wasn't so much his flamboyant style that turned off a couple of the labor leaders who said that he had gotten what he deserved. Rather, it was Mr. Wynder's past attempts to poach their members. Because LEEBA is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, it is not bound by its no-raiding policy, and while Mr. Wynder has had some successes in bargaining and through arbitration for his 600-plus members, his rivals claim he has tried to get some of their members to decertify by making promises he couldn't possibly fulfill.
"He actually stole from his members, directly from their pockets," Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd said, referring to the charges brought against Mr. Wynder and LEEBA Treasurer Steven Whittick by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. "He betrayed his members' trust while going after other unions to destroy them."
Mr. Floyd in the past fought off efforts by Mr. Wynder to have parts of his membership vote to decertify from Local 237 so they could join LEEBA. "We knew he was not a labor leader; we knew he was a charlatan, and now the facts are going to come out at his trial," he said.
Mr. Wynder's headaches don't necessarily end with the charges that he looted his union's annuity fund. The Office of Labor Relations in late 2018 stopped making payments into LEEBA's benefit funds because he had repeatedly failed to file required financial statements with the City Comptroller's Office, and two benefit providers have alleged he has failed to pay a combined $500,000 the union owes for their services.
Another labor leader who's been a target of a raid by Mr. Wynder, United Probation Officers Association President Dalvanie Powell, said in a statement, "Told ya so. We feel incredibly bad for the public servants who are impacted by the illegal actions of a faux union that was only founded to make--and apparently steal--money. LEEBA brings a bad name to the legitimate unions that represent the hardworking men and women who valiantly serve our city."
She and Mr. Floyd both said the uncertain fate of LEEBA members was a cautionary tale about raiders who assure workers they can do far better for themselves if they decertify.
"It's a lesson to people," the Local 237 leader said: "Nobody who promises that much can produce something that good."
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While some top aides to President Trump have tried to discredit the wisdom of the head of his coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, they're having a tough time convincing the public outside the Fox News universe. In fact, a Quinnipiac University poll released July 15 indicated Mr. Trump is lucky he's running against Joe Biden rather than Dr. Fauci.
The survey showed Mr. Biden leading the President by 52 percent to 37 percent, a 7-point jump in the former Vice President's lead from four weeks earlier. At least as alarming was that 60 percent of those polled gave Mr. Trump a negative rating on job performance.
And while his biggest problem involved race relations, with 65 percent disapproving while 31 percent gave him good marks, he did nearly as bad on his handling of the coronavirus, with just 35 percent giving him a thumb's up while 62 percent viewed his performance negatively. Just as damning was that 67 percent of the respondents said they don't trust information offered by Mr. Trump regarding the disease and his administration's efforts to deal with it, while 30 percent believed what he said.
Conversely, Quinnipiac's Tim Malloy said, by a count of 65 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed, those surveyed "say they trust the information Dr. Anthony Fauci is providing about the coronavirus."
Perhaps that's because he's more "presidential" than Mr. Trump.
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