Local 208 Receivership Update
July 9, 2020
A lot has been accomplished since the last update on Local 208’s receivership. We are rapidly improving our financial and legal status in a short period of time. These efforts will put the local in a much better position as we will begin contract talks with COTA soon. A rundown of our efforts is included below.
We have paid $186,879 in overdue lost time to COTA. We are now current on these bills.
The local’s insurance policy will pay a claim of $22,525 for Alesia Combs’ financial misconduct with local finances. The insurance company is still reviewing an additional claim for a little over $10,000 for fraudulent checks that were cashed against the local’s bank account. We hope this claim will also be paid soon.
On June 10, Local 208 filed lawsuits in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court against former Secretary Treasurer Alesia Combs and Mellman & Purdue, CPAs, the auditing firm that worked for the local during Ms. Combs’ time in office. This litigation seeks to recover the missing funds.
We continue to file revised tax forms so we can recover our tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization. The local’s new auditor is revising all our financial records and preparing tax forms for 2016 and 2017. The firm will also revise our records and tax forms from 2018 and 2019. We expect this will all be completed in the near future.
We will continue to provide periodic updates on the receivership in the weeks ahead.
Local 208 Receivership Update
May 29, 2020
Local 208 is making real progress in improving our financial and operating situation. Here is the latest update for local members.
• The debt that we owe to COTA has been cut in half to about $81,000. Because of very careful spending, we hope to have it zeroed out in the next several months. We have paid all monthly lost time invoices from COTA on time since the start of receivership.
• We requested and received a $30,000 payment from our bonding insurance company. This will be used to help settle our lost time bill. We are also waiting on a response to another insurance claim. The local will be close to a sound financial footing more quickly if all our insurance claims are paid.
• The former Local Secretary Treasurer admitted to engaging in criminal activities from 2014-2019. To cover her tracks, she filed inaccurate and fraudulent financial documents with state and federal oversight agencies. We are working hard to revise those filings with completely accurate financial information. We have started to file corrected 2014-2018 filings to the State Employment Relations Board (SERB), which is the agency responsible for administering the Ohio Public Employees’ Collective Bargaining Act. We are also preparing several years of IRS Form 990 submissions. (The 990 must be filed annually by all tax-exempt organizations.) Our 2019 submission should be filed soon. We are preparing Form 990s for 2016-2018, because the local did not submit them during that period.
• The IRS has not answered our request for relief of interest and penalties on unpaid taxes. Because of federal staffing issues during the pandemic, we don’t know when to expect a response.
We will continue to provide periodic updates on the Local 208 receivership in the weeks ahead.
New Driver Sign Up Underway Now!
New Schedules for COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on our daily lives.
For the health and safety of Local 208 Bus Operators, on April 14, Local 208’s Executive Board met with COTA management to discuss service cuts to be enforced, as needed, as ridership decreases during the pandemic. The Executive Board agreed upon one of the models of service presented, and met again with COTA on April 21 to finalize details. The new service schedule only affects Bus Operators, not Maintenance. This is a pandemic-driven schedule and does not reflect further picks.
In an effort to address both the decrease in ridership and to further limit exposure to the virus, Bus Operators will work a schedule with modified runs and days off. Drivers will be able to sign up according to seniority. Sign up is underway now and new runs are scheduled to begin Monday, April 27.
Sign up as soon as possible!
TWU CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES
Dear Local Presidents,
As we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to update you on the efforts our government affairs team have undertaken to protect TWU members’ health, safety, and jobs. Below is a summary of what our government has done and what we are asking them to consider on behalf of TWU members. We are encouraging all TWU members join this fight by calling their U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 and demanding they pass a pro-worker coronavirus relief bill immediately.
Congress has discussed tackling the coronavirus in three phases. On March 6, the President signed into law phase one: $8.3 billion in spending for public health costs associated with the coronavirus. This spending is now reaching public health departments and research facilities working on a vaccine.
Phase two was passed by the House of Representatives on March 16: a bill focused on personal health. This bill (HR 6201) is currently awaiting action by the Senate and includes the following provisions.
- Paid leave for public employees who are diagnosed or quarantined with COVID-19
- Paid leave for public employees who are taking care of a child diagnosed or quarantined with COVID-19
- $1 billion for increased administrative costs at state unemployment insurance agencies
- Federally funded free testing for individuals who may have been exposed to the coronavirus
Private sector workers at large companies have been exempted from the paid leave requirements. TWU has been fighting to broaden these provisions to include ALL workers. We have also been fighting to include an emergency temporary standard from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). This standard would require employers to implement new, more stringent safety standard for workers in the areas most likely to be exposed to the virus – including public transportation. Unfortunately, both of these provisions were removed at the last minute at the request of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.
The House and Senate are now constructing an economic stimulus package for the industries most effected by the drop in demand due to the virus. This bill may be introduced as soon as today (March 18). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has committed to include public transit in any transportation aid package.
The TWU is working with Congress to get $12.9 billion in emergency funding to transit agencies in the short term. This money would reimburse transit agencies for increased cleaning costs, as well as for decreased farebox revenues. These funds are essential for making up huge deficits expected at our transit agencies.
Additionally, we are demanding that any emergency funds be tied to labor protections and that none of the money be allowed to undermine existing collectively bargained agreements. Furthermore, we are asking that these funds be specifically directed to operations in order to ensure that no agency will be able to sideline any money away from the frontline workforce.
TWU has coordinated with the other public transit unions, as well as many transit agencies, in these efforts. Together, we are asking for Congress to move as quickly as possible to get this money into the system and into workers’ pockets.
If you have any questions on the ongoing legislative fight, please contact Zack Tatz, Director of Government Affairs, at ZTatz@twu.org.
The Transport Workers Union of America has placed Local 208 in receivership after discovery of apparent malfeasance by the Local 208 Secretary-Treasurer, who has resigned. TWU International staff member Theotis James has been appointed the Local 208 administrator at this time. The International leadership has mailed a letter concerning the receivership to all Local 208 members. This matter will be on the agenda of the next local union meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, November 12, at 10 am, 3 pm and 7:30 pm. Only members in good standing may attend.
Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs
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PEOPLE BEFORE ROBOTS THE TWU FIGHT BACK CAMPAIGN AGAINST AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES THREATENING GOOD UNION JOBS NATIONWIDE
Columbus wants to put dangerous driverless buses, controlled by computers, not people, on our streets. Learn about this threat to public safety, the importance of community jobs and the necessity of having uniformed Central Ohio Transit Authority Bus Operators on buses.
Executive Board Meeting — 1st Tuesday every month at 7:00pm
Union Meeting — 2nd Tuesday every month at 10:00am, 3:00pm and 7:30pm
Office: 2800 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43207