Cronyism by Any Other Word
The Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals sitting in Cincinnati, yesterday upheld the conviction of two UAW union representatives accused of extortion in an extended strike at the General Motors assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan. The court stated, “In the midst of the world’s current financial struggles, when the unemployment rate in this country fluctuates between 9 and 10 percent, it is somewhat laughable to argue that Douglas and Campbell did not demand a ‘thing of value’ when they demanded high-paying jobs for their cronies.” The two had insisted that GM hire two unqualified employees as a condition of ending a 87 day strike at the auto plant that had cost the company millions of dollars.
On appeal of their criminal convictions, the defendants argued that their sentence was too harsh because they had not engaged in extortion, but only blackmail. The Court of Appeals disagreed, deciding that the two jobs which each paid the unqualified employees $150,00 in annual compensation were indeed “things of value”.
Accordingly, instead of reducing the six month prison sentence and two year probation, the court sent the matter back for harsher sentencing than the trial court had originally imposed.
Be careful what you ask for.
Larry W. Bridgesmith, Of Counsel
Suite 1200, One Nashville Place
150 Fourth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219