Union organizers impersonate Labor Department inspectors? - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
HomeThe 907Union organizers impersonate Labor Department inspectors?

Union organizers impersonate Labor Department inspectors?

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Early Wednesday, a report was filed with the Anchorage Police Department stating that two men entered a midtown job site and presented themselves as Department of Labor employees who were there to do an inspection involving wage and hours.

The job site was the commercial building that houses the Anchorage Legislative Information Office, at 1500 Benson Blvd.

The company doing the work on the building was Bauer Construction. Bauer Construction filed the report at 7:50 am Wednesday.

The two imposters? They were identified in the report as Chris Dimond and Dustin Swatek, both organizers with the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

According to the police report, Dimond and Swatek entered the job site and identified themselves to the superintendent as officials from the Department of Labor.

While touring the site, they managed to pull private information from one of the employees, including his name, phone number, job title, and the wage he was being paid.

The company superintendent had his doubts, however. The two didn’t act like state Department of Labor employees. One of them had a hardhat with a Neeser Construction sticker on it. Swatek is a former carpenter with Neeser.

When pressed, Swatek admitted that he worked for the union, but said that Dimond worked for the Department of Labor.

The men were asked for further identification; Swatek provided a business card right before he left the parking lot in his vehicle that had no State of Alaska identification. Dimond walked off the premises.

Dimond was a candidate for office in Juneau in 2018, when he ran for the House seat for downtown Juneau that was vacated by former Rep. Sam Kito III. Dimond ran as an undeclared candidate and lost to Democrat Rep. Sara Hannan.

Alaska Statute 11.56.830 says it’s a criminal offense if a “person commits the crime of impersonating a public servant if the person pretends to be a public servant and does any act in that capacity.” It’s a second degree, Class B misdemeanor.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Another example of ends justifies the means for Marxist organizers.

  • Those guys would impersonate Jesus if they thought that would get their way. I have nothing against private sector unions but they appear to pulling their stunts in a different direction. Not good. That certainly gives all unions a bad name. They won’t stop there. Make sure all correspondence, including trash, is kept tidied up or they will snatch it in a heartbeat. They certainly know better but they’ll do it anyway, to get an inside track on any possibility for more membership. They watch the public employee unions getting away with whatever they want and think they can do the same. Next thing you know, a “public employee” branch of their union will spring up.

  • Susan, you need to know that Bauer Construction is as straight-shootin’ construction business as there is in Alaska. I know them very very well. They are committed Christians who would rather have go hungry than lie. They work hard and do excellent work. They won the bid for that LIO work via fair and square process. Of course they are not “public sector union” – corruption is not their way of work or life. The swamp is getting desperate. Steve

  • Does any criminal activity the Union engages in surprise anyone? It’s sad that they preyed upon Bauer Construction, but I’m not shocked by this. They should be prosecuted for violating the law, but sadly…they won’t be.

  • It doesn’t make much difference whether they’re union organizers or DOLWD employees; the DOLWD is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AFL-CIO. It exists to make sure injury claims get paid by Workers’ Comp rather than union H&W Trusts, to keep Prevailing Wage as high as possible and to use its wage and hour and worker safety enforcement powers to harass employers who don’t toe the union line. There’ve only been two commissioners of labor that didn’t come from organized labor, Nancy Usera under Hickel and Dianne Blumer under Parnell; all the rest were former union business managers or business agents. Most of the investigatory and enforcement staff comes from the unions and ALL are vetted by the unions.

    • Art, I rarely comment on these things, but congratulations, your comment was so special I had to comment. Your post is distinguished by its characteristics of being as incorrect as it is idiotic. So, let’s break it down piece by piece shall we?

      “It doesn’t make much difference whether they’re union organizers or DOLWD employees; the DOLWD is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AFL-CIO.”

      I’m going to assume this is rhetorical because on its face it is simply false. It’s a state agency beholden the laws written by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The Executive has the power to manage the enforcement of those laws. Unions sway left, as has been asserted by other people who have posted (I think the term used was “Marxist”) and the last time I checked we have had Republican (right leaning) governors for the majority of the past two decades (three decades if you count the general affiliations of the independents). So, your position is rather dubious. DOLWD employees are there to enforce the laws under the direction of the Governor not the policies of any union.

      “It exists to make sure injury claims get paid by Workers’ Comp rather than union H&W Trusts”

      Apparently you don’t understand how insurance works… But, let’s first tackle Health and Welfare Trusts. These trusts exist to provide general healthcare coverage through a number of different vehicles to employees. This is different from workers’ compensation that is there to make sure employees’ injuries on the job are able to be financially addressed. Insurance spreads the liability of an expense over a great number of people rather than making it necessary for one
      party to carry the individual burden. If each employer had to “self-insure”, or in other words hold money in escrow, it would be excessively burdensome (especially for small businesses). Unfortunately, some employers would like to save money by risking the livelihood of their employees by not having coverage. So the government (an entity you don’t seem to enjoy) enforces coverage requirements that have been mandated so as to avoid problems that have arisen in the past when employers did not, or could not, cover those liabilities. If the H&W trust were to cover both areas, the trusts could be bankrupted by a singular incident of a workplace injury burdening the other employees with the differed cost, rather than the employer that should carry the burden of that expense.

      “[T]o keep Prevailing Wage as high as possible [.]”

      Here you would have to ascertain how the prevailing wage is determined. You could reach out to the state’s research and analysis office to see what factors go into that determination, which certainly would take both union labor and private labor costs into account. These numbers are adjusted and published twice annually and they change… If the unions had complete control we would see the amounts continuously rise or remain unchanged. But, that is not what we see. We instead see them fluctuate up and down. I’m not an expert, but that would lead me to believe that different economic indicators and indexes are used to arrive at the wages specified. If you question that formula you should consider blaming the laws not the people doing the enforcement of said laws.

      Prevailing wage requirements, while it can be argued raise the costs of public projects, serve to stabilize wages and the quality of production in the economies where they are a part. Much like “resident hire” requirements aimed at preventing carpetbaggers, these laws help prevent a wage race to the bottom. If we deregulated the entire system, as you appear to suggest, we would see low paid, unskilled labor working long hours and producing inferior products. This may not be so in some markets, however those open to competitive bidding practices would trend in this direction.

      “[T]o use its wage and hour and worker safety enforcement powers to harass employers who don’t toe the union line.”

      Those state employees who are tasked with enforcement of the labor and safety laws are doing just that, enforcing the laws. If an employer is making sure the working conditions are safe and that employees are paid correctly under the law, that employer should have nothing to worry about when visited by state regulators. The DOLWD employees enforcing those laws, which you seem to take issue with, are actually doing employers a favor. By making sure that unscrupulous employers who flout safety and pay provisions of the law to save money are held to account, it evens the playing field for all parties. It is more expensive to provide a safe environment and to pay employees correctly. So, law abiding employers are saddled with a higher cost than those who choose to ignore the law. Anyone who values an economy that provides a good work environment and fair practices should be happy the DOLWD employees are on the job. If the
      “union line” is making sure that employers and employees alike are protected by the law then good for it.

      “There’ve only been two commissioners of labor that didn’t come from organized labor, Nancy Usera under Hickel and Dianne Blumer under Parnell; all the rest were former union business managers or business agents.”

      Fair enough, however, as with most government positions there is a revolving door between industry and government. You may not like it, I certainly don’t, but it does provide for persons entering into civil service to be well healed in the topic areas in which they serve. Again, most governors of the past three decades have been right leaning, so the argument your statement seems to allude to (being that unions put who they want in power) is specious at best. Those commissioners serve at the will of the governor. If they had a far left agenda antithetical to the agenda of the governor they could easily be replaced.

      “Most of the investigatory and enforcement staff comes from the unions and ALL are vetted by the unions.”

      This is a spurious argument (don’t look it up, it means that it’s bullshit). The employees of DOLWD go through the same hiring process with the Department of Administration (DOA) as any other state employee. They are not vetted by unions and the jobs are posted publicly. Unions are not consulted by the DOA in the hiring process. Your statement is just wrong and idiotic. And while I’m at it, the earth is not flat.

      DOLWD employees do a lot more than you point to here with your narrow interests taking front and center. They look after OSHA provisions to protect employees, they make sure people are paid and paid correctly to avoid what amounts to slave labor, they make sure employees are qualified to do the labor they provide with certificates of fitness, they make sure contractors have licenses, they inspect elevators, electrical systems, and boilers to keep the public safe, they look after unemployment to provide a safety net to those persons out of a job, they help employees find jobs and find training, they monitor labor trends to help policy makers adjust to a ever changing economic landscape and they help employers find employees qualified for openings that they may have available. If you want to enter into some libertarian utopia it would help if you provided a quality alternative to the services these hard working Alaskans provide. If all you
      are going to do is throw shade I suggest you keep your dumb ass conspiracy theories to yourself. Just because you have a right to free speech, that doesn’t mean you should inflict it on us.

      Let the expletive filled tirade begin in 3… 2…1…

  • Hey Publius, a lot… blah blah blah… of… blah blah blah… anger… blah blah blah… there.

  • Cool story… I’m not angry, your boy just simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and since he was almost an advisor to the governor ( boy did he f*** that up) I thought somebody should educate him.

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