State Sen. Tony Corcoran played a key role in the most important accomplishment in the 2003 Legislature: reform of the Public Employees Retirement System.
For this public service, the Cottage Grove Democrat claims, his union employer removed him from his job and stripped him of his 15 years of seniority. However, leaders of the Service Employees International Union Local 503 deny there was any retaliation against Corcoran for his work in the Legislature.
The state Bureau of Labor and Industries must get to the truth of the matter. No member of Oregon's citizen Legislature should ever face retaliation for doing the public's business in Salem. The law is clear: ". . . an employer shall not discharge or threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of the employee's service or scheduled service as a member . . . of the Legislative Assembly."
It's always difficult to get lawmakers to look out for the public interest, rather than narrow special interests that help them get elected. It won't get any easier with the lawmaker who most demonstrated political courage in the last Legislature claiming that it cost him his job.
Corcoran, 54, served as chairman of the Senate committee that handled PERS reform. He did more than any other member of the Senate to bring the runaway costs of the public pension system under control.
It was the toughest sort of political duty. Corcoran has spent his career as a union organizer and leader. But the blunt-spoken Democrat recognized what his old friends and supporters in the unions did not: Sweeping reforms of PERS were necessary not only to save taxpayers billions of dollars but also to save the pension system itself.
Corcoran, who was emptying his desk Thursday on his last day of work at SEIU, said union leaders came to his office on July 22 and told him they were canceling his contract because of "pushback" they had received from union members angry about his work on PERS.
Corcoran is preparing to file a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries. This case deserves a thorough investigation and a public airing of the results. Every Oregon lawmaker should be protected from the kind of retaliation that Corcoran is alleging.
Corcoran, meanwhile, is leaving the Legislature after two terms in the House and five years in the Senate. Gov. Ted Kulongoski has appointed him to a new full-time job on the state Employment Appeals Board, which will require him to resign from the Legislature.
The departure of the feisty, unapologetically liberal and public-spirited Corcoran from the Legislature is a real loss. The greater damage, though, is the warning his story sends to future citizen legislators: Your boss is watching.
SEIU is one of the Most Corrupt Unions in America Today!
National Legal and Policy Center -- Organized Labor Accountability Project
UNION CORRUPTION UPDATE
Information on America's most corrupt & aggressive unions
SERVICE EMPLOYEES (SEIU)
New York Local Linked to Mob Probe
Three federal indictments and one complaint filed Apr. 26 in U.S. Dist. Court in Brooklyn charged 45 reputed members of five N.Y. crime families with racketeering, murder, and other crimes. Among the charges, Salvatore "Sammy Meatballs" Aparo, Vincent Aparo, Jerry Brancato, Peter "Petey Red" DiChiara, Pasquale Falcetti, John "Johnny Green" Faraci, Ismat Kukic, Alana "Baldie" Longo, Glenn McCarthy, Michael Norrito, Louis "Big Lou" Vallario, and Abe Weider were charged with a scheme to bribe Service Employees Int'l Union Local 32B-32J bosses. The local was formerly run by AFL-CIO boss John J. Sweeney.
Allegedly, in exchange for bribes to be paid by Weider, a building owner, the local would replace union workers with nonunion workers. The Genovese family's "Aparo/DiChiara crew" allegedly solicited help from the Gambino and Bonanno families to identify and contact SEIU bosses who might be willing to accept bribes.
Also, Falcetti and George Barone were charged with conspiring to extort port companies. Barone allegedly oversaw the scheme for the Genovese family. Allegedly, at least one firm was forced to pay about 0,000 to ensure labor peace. [USAO E.D.N.Y., Media Release 4/26/01]
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Union Corruption Update is part of NLPC's Organized Labor Accountability Project which is investigating and exposing corruption and extremism in the SEIU, AFL-CIO and many other union organizations. NLPC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation promoting ethics and accountability in government through research, education and legal action.