Archive for March, 2014

JOB VACANCY – ITI Administrator

Joe Nigro, as General President and International Training Institute (ITI) co-chair trustee, announced on March 28, 2014, his intention to replace James Shoulders, Administrator of the ITI.

James Shoulders, who was appointed ITI Administrator by retired millionaire General President Michael Sullivan, had asked Joe Nigro to relieve him of his duties as ITI director in order to spend more time with his family.  Joe, being the good dude he is, agreed to the reassignment of Brother Shoulders.

Interestingly and sadly,  a recent Ventlines’ blog just reported that the ITI was in the process of selling real estate it had purchased in 2012.  The property is in Winter Haven, Florida.  The building is now being sold at a loss to the ITI.  The building was never used by the ITI.  The building was renovated at great expense to the ITI.  The potential loss to the ITI could reach two million dollars.  Nevertheless, it is good to see trustee Joe now on top of the sorry events he had apparently blessed in 2012.   And to further cement his reputation, during the same time period, trustee Joe also managed to lecture Local 28 on how best to administer 28 trust funds.   Hmmmm!

Unfortunately, Joe Nigro, co-chair of the troubled ITI, is himself, not seeking reassignment.  Joe however, did grandly pronounce to all Business Managers and I.A. staff throughout the United States that,  ”…We are in the process of updating a job description that reflects the skills we believe will be necessary for the next (ITI) director…”  Accordingly, in the spirit of brotherhood and based on the sordid record, Ventlines suggests the following partial job description for Nigro’s new ITI administrator:

1.  Must be willing to arrange annual lavish trustee meetings far away from Washington, D.C.  2.  Must be familiar with a variety of exotic resorts throughout the U.S.  3.  Must be capable of spending two million dollars per year on trust fund travel expenses.  4.  Must be willing to take a bullet for Joe if the DOL investigates alleged wrongdoing.  5.  Must be willing to work with minimal supervision of the board of trustees’ co-chair Nigro.  6.  Must be skilled in obsequiousness and unable to say no to a dumb idea.   7.  GEC fawning experience a plus.   8.  Must be a friend of a friend.

That’s a start.





Price reduced from $1,900,000.00 to $1,600,000.00.   A bargain – NOT.  😉

The Nigro International Training Institute (ITI) purchased the land and building in 2012; it went up for sale in 2013 and the price was reduced by $300,000.00 in 2014.   More of Nigro’s hypocrisy, excellence and leadership at work.  According to Nigro, Local 28 was not being properly managed by Cuiffo and Conners – so what’s for sale next?  500 Greenwich Street?  195 Mineola Blvd.?  What the hell – it’s not his money.  And its only a wasted couple of million $.  Are we entitled to an explanation?  Should someone resign?  How about the I.A. Finance Committee resigning?

Click on the link below.


ITI and Hypocrisy

Here is an example of hypocrisy at its finest.  (Sorry for the small print.)  International Training Institute (ITI) co-chair trustee Nigro gives himself first class air travel arrangements to annual trustee meetings held at exotic resort locations all around the country every year, while he and his front man DiOrio fret about Local 28 penny anti expenses.  But if you look closely at this PDF excerpt copy from the IRS ITI Form 990 for the year 2012 you will also notice that the ITI has finally stopped paying the first class airfare (under any circumstance).  Hmmmn.  Why stop now?  Especially after years of following the first class air fare policy for co-chair Nigro?  Could the ITI be the mysterious fund under investigation by the DOL?  Were the trustees compelled to reimburse the ITI?   Could the end of the first-class airfare entitlement be a result of a settlement with the US DOL?  Are we entitled to know if the DOL has investigated and settled with the ITI?  Damm Right!  Will Nigro disclose the information voluntarily?  Hell no!   Ventlines needs help to find out the truth.  The entire I.A. membership needs the help of whistle blowers.  The IRS Form 990 listed ITI travel expenses for the year 2012 at $2,186,628.00    Geeeez.


Sham Delegates = Sham Convention



The I.A.’s convention plans have been in the works for years and in the hands of expensive professional planners.  Like those in the past, this convention will follow a very precise plan and be as well timed as a Rockettes’ performance at Radio City Music Hall.  Every effort will be made to make the convention a happy place and keep the delegates thinking happy thoughts.  Delegates will be well paid and vote themselves a raise.  Meaning, absent a revolution, everything Nigro wants, Nigro gets.  That is not bad news, it is not good news.  It is almost not news at all.  That is just a cold sober look at the reality of a traditional I.A. convention.

As was noted in the previous blog, the I.A. is a stickler for rules.  There should be no doubt then; come August, the I.A. fully intends to make plenty of new rules, especially rules that are compatible with one new union instead of two sets of rules for two old unions.  The I.A.’s convention traditions are especially concerned with the proposed rule changes coming out of the General Executive Council, the Finance Committee, Compensation Committee and the Constitutional Law Committee, etc., etc.  (Committees are everything – and they all get their marching orders from a wish list of the general officers and I.A. lawyers.)  Members need not apply to change the Constitution.

Proposed rule changes from local unions and individual delegates have a very brief shelf life.  (Minutes/hours)  What gets done gets done only through committees.  The Convention’s Compensation/Finance Committee proposes rules that set the salaries of the I.A. General Officers. (Who picks that committee?  Hmmmm?) The Law Committee proposes rule changes to the I.A. Constitution and Ritual, etc., etc.  On top of those changes, expect that even more self-serving rule proposals from even more GEC led committees will also be larded onto the new SMART constitution.   In the past, all committee proposed rule changes have been uniformly adopted.

However, even if not one new rule is enacted, from the perspective of the I.A., the convention will be considered a success, if the I.A.’s current model of governance is left untouched.  The current model of SMWIA union governance is simple:  The I.A. speaks at the membership and local unions.  All concerned are permitted to listen and obey.  Simple.  The I.A. model, A.K.A as trickle-down democracy, is a not too distant cousin to the trickle-down economics of the national Republican Party, which is responsible for the slow death of the American middle-class and the slower death of American labor unions.

There is one decent thing that must be said for I.A. conventions; all rule changes that come out of our conventions are fairly and legally adopted by a free and open vote of the delegates to the convention.  (So far.) Convention delegates may be massively inattentive to the details and consequences of new rule proposals but in its history, I.A. strong arm tactics rarely were ever deployed to win a vote.  Simply put, it wasn’t necessary.

As a consequence, all new I.A. rules, none of which you are now aware, will hereafter be deemed perfectly legal.  New rules and old, none of which the rank and file ever proposed or had an iota of input into, will be legal and binding evermore on all of us; no matter how odious they may turn out to be in real life.

Point being:  saying something is legal, as with the 28 trusteeship, is not the same as saying a legal rule is a product of wisdom and brotherhood.  For example, what would it signify to the world if this years’ convention delegates freely and openly vote to raise the annual salary of the GP to 600K – wisdom or legal greed?  Would you like a say in that decision?  What would it signify if the rules permit a GP to expel you or an officer you just elected to office, without cause (Art. 3. Sec. 2c) because you or the officer annoyed him or you wrote an unflattering newsletter.  Would it signify a robust democracy – or its end?  What would it signify if the GP could change pension rules for a buddy, to grant ONLY his pal a higher pension, then change the rules back, so no one else could ever get the same pension – arrogance – cronyism – criminality?

Joe Nigro should be a champion of Local 28 as was General President Sullivan when he instituted his welcomed trusteeship of Local 28 –   he is not.  Yet both General Presidents were enabled and empowered by the same exact rules.  The conduct of one was beneficial to Local 28 and free trade unionism. The conduct of Nigro was spiteful and harmful to 28 and is doing long term damage to the notion of brotherhood and democracy.  Point being:  the I.A. constitution too easily permits the misuse of a rule and is missing a vital rule designed to prevent or discourage misguided I.A. behavior, which appears to be the case with the Joe Nigro’s of the world.

The members of Local 28 deserve to be represented at this convention.  Nigro has the authority to convene a Local 28 election of convention delegates.  What will he do?  Guess!  What will it mean if he chooses not to have the election?  Who will he select and send from Local 28.  Without an election of delegates, Local 28 has NO voice or vote at the convention.  NO election = sham delegates = sham convention.

Ventlines’ next convention blog invites discussion on a long term plan on how to kill the I.A.’s trickle-down governance model.



And what should we think?

DOL office of OLMS criminal enforcement, (

1.            6/17/13   Zaborski, Michael, former secretary  treasurer  .  UTU Local 1962, Fremont Ohio.  Sentenced to 5 years probation, restitution of $39,829.00.  Pled guilty one count of embezzlement $41,226.00.  Indicted 5/1/13

2.            4/10/13 Western District Ct of New York.  Joseph Gyrgorcewicz, former secretary treasurer LU 1566 UTU sentenced to 3 years probation and full restitution.  Pled guilty to embezzling $39,990.00 from union.  To continue counseling for gambling, and writing checks and forging president signature.  Indicted 12/7/12

3.            377th Judicial District Court of Ventura City Texas.  Larry Lanier Lacy former secretary treasurer  local union 1205, UTU League City, Texas charged with one count felony theft in amount of $64,110.03 and one count felony misappropriation of Fiduciary Financial property.

4.            2/1/13 US District Ct Northern District of Illinois.  Lawrence E Minas former General Chairman for UTU General Committee of asjustment 449, located in Munster, Indiana, sentenced to six months home detention and pay 10% of monthly income in restitution.  Minas pled guilty 9/20/12 to one count of embezzlement of union funds in the amount of $71,160.00.

5.            9/7/12 US District Court, Southern District of Texas.  Vance Valentine former secretary treasurer local 524, UTU, sentenced to one year peobation and ordered to pay restitution of $1,287.00.  Pled guilty to filing false union reports with DOL.  Pled guilty 2/26/12.  Wife Sheila Valentine also pled guilty on 2/23/12.

6.            US District Court of Eastern Michigan.  Paul Morales, former treasurer local 1477 UTU, sentenced 3 years probation and fifteen hours community service first year, and ordered to pay $25,329.39 in restitution and $25.00 special assessment.  Pled guilty to one count of unauthorized cash withdrawals of $22,829.29, on 2/29/12.

7.            5/22/12 US District Court of Alaska.  Carol Reeves former office manager to local 23 SMWIA, sentenced to 3 years probation and fined $6,000.00.  Pled guilty to a single count of embezzling union funds.  1/18/12 charged with $19,000.00 embezzlement.

8.            3/6/12 US District Court of New Jersey.  Kevin McKnight former secretary treasurer local 1390, UTU, Lawrence Harbor, NJ, sentenced to Four months community confinement, four months home confinement, and 3 years peobation, and ordered to pay $54,603.92 in restitution and a $100.00 special assessment.  Nov 2011, pled guilty to one count of embezzlement  of $68,000.00.

9.          2/17/12  US District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg.  Brandon Borders former secretary treasurer of local 997, UTU, Camp Hall Pa, sentenced to 8 months of home confinement followed by 24 months of probation and pay $2,000.00 Fine and Special assessment of $100.00. Had already paid $12,351,16 in September 2011.  Pled guilty to one count of embezzlement.



Under the I.A. Constitution, even if the Nigro has no moral authority, he does have the legal authority to do as he wishes with any member, local or council.  The membership has no say.  Elected officers have no say.  This is a wake-up call on the importance of the upcoming SMART General Convention.  New rules are needed to protect the entire I.A. membership against the whims of a rogue GP.  Note the last paragraph in this post.  Note well its importance.  Local 28 could be looted of its character, wealth and independence under the rule of Joe Nigro or a Nigro clone.  The membership of 28 cannot wait until it is too late to act.  Make sure the issue is discussed and the discussion is RECORDED in the minutes of the next Local 28 informational meeting.  Local 28 must have an election for the delegates to the convention.




SEC. 2(a). Supervision.

The General President shall have…full authority to… remove from office any officer or representative of any local union or council for incompetence, negligence, insubordination, failure or refusal to obey any valid decision or order of the General President, General Secretary-Treasurer or the General Executive Council or for violation of this Constitution or the policies of this Association or for any other neglect or failure of duty. Such suspension of charter or removal from office shall continue until the conditions causing the same have been corrected or until after trial and appeal the charter of such local union or the removed officer has been ordered reinstated, whichever has been ordered first.


SEC. 2(b). Filling Vacancy of Removed Officer.

The General President shall have authority to direct any local union or council to temporarily fill the office or position of any officer or representative of such local union or council removed in accordance with Section 2 of this Article pending the disposition of the charges on which such removal was based. In the event any local union or council fails or refuses to temporarily fill such vacancy within such reasonable time as may be specified by the General President, he shall have authority to designate a member of such local union or council to fill the same pending the disposition of such charges.

Nigro will not use this authority because he knows the members of 28 would use the opportunity to embarrass Nigro and re-elect Connors and Cuiffo.

Sec. 2 (c)

During Trusteeship of any local union or council, the General President or his designated representative shall have authority to ….suspend from office for the duration of the Trusteeship, or permanently remove from office, in either case with or without pay, and with or without cause, local union or council officers, business manager, or business representatives; fill vacancies in such offices with any representatives of this Association or members of such local union by appointment, or call elections for that purpose, or leave some or all of the offices vacant; combine one or more offices and positions; and impound the books, records, funds and property of any such local union or council.

Notwithstanding that they have been elected to fixed terms of office, the officers, business manager and business representatives of a local union or council under Trusteeship shall serve in office throughout the period of the Trusteeship at the pleasure of the General President or his representative. They shall act in accordance with his instructions and faithfully implement the programs, policies and directives promulgated by him so that the conditions that necessitated imposition of the Trusteeship may be corrected and autonomy restored to the local union as soon as possible.

During Trusteeship no votes of delegates from such local union or council shall be counted in a Convention of this Association unless such delegates have been chosen by secret ballot in a local union or council election in which all members in good standing are eligible to participate.

If Nigro thought he could get away with keeping 28 out of the convention he would seize the opportunity provided in this SECTION of the Constitution.  WE WANT THE RIGHT TO ELECT AND VOTE ON THE DELEGATES TO THE SMART GENERAL CONVENTION!