A recent internal report of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) alleges one of its leaders issued violent threats and committed other misdeeds in the district that includes Pennsylvania. 

The organization’s Emergency Mutual Respect Committee (EMRC) stated CWA Vice President Ed Mooney, a Philadelphia native, engaged in a “pattern of unacceptable conduct.” A current candidate for president of the national union, Mooney is also head of CWA District 2-13 which encompasses the Keystone State as well as Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

CWA’s election of its next national leader will take place next Monday at the association’s 79th annual convention in St. Louis, MO. EMRC’s missive asks union members not to vote for Mooney; it mentions that some committee members are undecided on the election, that some back CWA District 6 President Claude Cummings and that others support CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens.

READ MORE — Bradley Vasoli: Right-to-work is still right

But Steffens could be poorly positioned to distance herself from Mooney’s alleged misconduct. In a review of the EMRC document, journalist and organized-labor activist Mike Elk of Payday Report points out that even though the CWA Constitution obligated Steffens and current union President Chris Shelton to probe accusations against Mooney, they did not.

The committee based its review of the allegations against Mooney on written complaints and oral recollections by seven union-affiliated individuals, all of whom the panel described as “very credible.” Their reported experiences variously took place over the last thirteen years. 

Mooney stands accused of “repeatedly suggest[ing] [local officers] punch their Union members in the face to resolve conflicts.” One punching threat allegedly came after a staffer “used a space heater… in the office” against his wishes.

Another passage summarized a statement from a former employee recalling the leader mentioned he had a gun and “warn[ed] her to be careful” while still another account suggested he asked a local officer to “take [a staffer] out back and shoot her in the head.” A witness also said Mooney told an employee he wished to “execute” her. Multiple individuals reportedly remembered him saying, “I’ve never hit a woman before,” balefully emphasizing the word “before.”

At least one witness asserted it is “widely known” that Mooney hurled a telephone at a D2-13 secretary, though EMRC described this recollection as “hearsay” in contrast to other accusations listed in the report. 

Witnesses faulted him for frequently using language they characterized as “abusive, belittling…, insulting, hyper-aggressive, humiliating…, contemptuous, hostile, demeaning, condescending, toxic, and disparaging.” One openly gay accuser recalled Mooney called him a “c**ksucking f****t” while several others said the leader referred to women as “c*nt[s].”

Two of his former staffers also recalled he “made disparaging or racist comments about their appearance” and another former employee said Mooney ridiculed her physical impairment in front of others numerous times by feigning a limp. According to one recollection, he openly inferred a Korean-American elected official was “a crazy progressive” because “all your people [are] communists.” One ex-employee submitted a written complaint to CWA Human Resources stating Mooney engaged in “racist stereotypes, threats of violence and abusive language” more than twenty times in her experience. 

It’s really just unacceptable that in America today we still have this kind of thuggish behavior happening at the very top levels of some of the nation’s biggest unions.

Another report states he may have put a local into receivership in retaliation for that local’s president filing an administrative complaint.

Such concerns come less than three years after Michael Fuoco resigned from the Pittsburgh CWA NewsGuild presidency and his staff position at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette amid allegations of discrimination, physical abuse and sexual harassment. Elk insists in his investigative reports that Shelton as well as national CWA NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss knew of the accusations against Fuoco for almost a year but resisted starting an inquiry. 

All EMRC members voted to affirm the nine-page report on committee findings about Mooney. The panel comprises nine current and former Communications Workers of America local leaders, among them southeast-Pennsylvania-based retired CWA 13301 President Gwen Ivey.

Greg Mourad, the National Right to Work Committee’s legislative vice president, told Broad + Liberty the physically threatening conduct underscored by EMRC’s report remains all too common among organized-labor leaders.

“It suggests to me that violence is not an unusual thing with a lot of labor unions,” he said. “It’s a regular part of their standard playbook, sadly.”

Over the last few congressional sessions, lawmakers have introduced the Freedom from Union Violence Act to enable federal prosecution of union officials who foment physical threats. Mourad anticipates the legislation will get reintroduced this summer. A state-level bill addressing such threats passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly with almost exclusively Republican support, though Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed it in 2015. 

Mourad’s organization hopes the federal anti-violence measure, in addition to a right-to-work law banning contracts that coerce workers to affiliate with unions, will eventually become law.

“The ultimate solution is a National Right to Work Act that would allow workers who were disgusted by this kind of behavior in their union boss to quit the union without having to quit their job,” he said. “That is a solution that provides another layer of accountability — and a much needed layer of accountability — for these thugs who are running some of these unions. It’s really just unacceptable that in America today we still have this kind of thuggish behavior happening at the very top levels of some of the nation’s biggest unions.”

CWA District 2-13 declined to discuss the allegations against Mooney. The national Communications Workers of America did not return a request for comment. 

Bradley Vasoli is a writer and media strategist. Follow him on Twitter @BVasoli.

One thought on “Internal report accuses union presidential candidate of violent threats, abuses”

  1. That’s too funny…one union thug pointing a finger at another union thug. Give me some interesting news!

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