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Policy: Labor

NLRB nominee accused in union corruption case

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Corruption,NLRB,Analysis

Richard Griffin, President Obama's nominee to be the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel, is accused of making false statements under oath in a union corruption complaint in California district court.

The charges stem from when Griffin was the top lawyer for the International Union of Operating Engineers. The complaint alleges that he gave a false explanation in a deposition for why union officials sought the ouster of a colleague who was blowing the whistle on internal corruption.

Griffin was formerly one of Obama's recess appointees to the NLRB, which is the nation's labor law enforcement agency. His nomination is scheduled to be voted on by the full Senate this week.

In the complaint, members of IUOE Local 501, which represents southern California, claim that James McLaughlin, business manager for the local, uncovered evidence of financial misconduct by Dennis Lundy, the then-manager of the local's apprenticeship trust.

The whistleblowers told the union's leadership about the misconduct in 2008 by giving the information directly to Griffin. This allegedly prompted retaliation by then-IUOE General President Vince Gilbin, a friend of Lundy's.

The retaliation included harassment and death threats. The complaint also claimed Lundy engaged in ballot stuffing during a decertification vote involving Local 501.

The complaint alleged that:

Attorney Griffin provided a false declaration. ... Attorney Griffin swore under oath that the decertification was a reason for removing McLaughlin, but that was false since the decertification was an entirely pretextual reason — not a legitimate or true reason — for the removal of McLaughlin. At the time he executed this sworn declaration, Attorney Griffin in fact knew that his own client Giblin had directed the ballot stuffing effort in the UCLA decertification vote.

The complaint filed Oct. 23 is an amended version of one filed last year that was dismissed on lack of standing grounds. Griffin is not named as a defendant in it.

The IUOE and NLRB did not respond to requests for comment and Griffin could not be reached for comment.

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner