New Hampshire AFT Local Must Run New Election

The importance of the Department of Labor’s oversight of union activity is reflected in this story about an election gone awry.

An American Federation of Teachers-AFL-CIO affiliate has been cited by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) for elections violations.  The complete story is a complicated one involving allegations of mismanagement of funds, as well as election fraud.  The local’s Vice President brought the mismanagement charges before the OLMS, then ended up being the subject of the Labor Department’s investigation and prevailed on a case which turned into election malfeasance.

Let’s begin with Labor Department Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) charges.  The New Haven Federation of Teachers in New Haven, Connecticut must repeat its election for president which occurred in February, 2020, ruling the local denied a member in good standing the opportunity to run for president.  Union officials never served the member with any specific charges and did not provide hiim a fair and full hearing.

 [Vice President Tom Burns]Mr. Burns made allegations about financial practices of the local under Mr. Cicarella’s leadership.  We’ve learned that, in the presence of Mr. Cicarella and two other individuals, Mr. Burns threatened to make his allegations public unless Mr. Cicarella resigns his office.  At the investigation hearing, the two other individuals who heard these statements by Mr. Burns testified under oath that he made them.

The AFT has decided to disqualify Mr. Burns from participating in this election and the next one, or from being appointed to office during this time period.”

The AFT also found no evidence of misuse or mismanagement of union funds by Cicarella.

“In fact, Mr. Cicarella’s expenditures as president are well-documented and are regularly approved by the NHFT Treasurer, Vice President (the position Mr. Burns previously held), and Finance Committee,” the report, which was signed by AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel, said. “NHFT’s finance are well-run and transparent.”

Mr. Burns, who had filed a claim through OLMS regarding President Dave Cicarella, vowed he would continue to follow the OLMS case.

The OLMS ruled that Local 933 prevented a member in good standing from running for the office of president, and barred that member from holding office without providing the member with written specific charges and failing to conduct a full and fair hearing.

Check out AFT Local 933’s LM-2 here.