Monday, June 17, 2013

Judge says greedy Oakland hustler owes workers $1M

A greedy, Teamster-hating hustler cheated port drivers out of nearly $1 million in wages, and now a judge is making him pay it back.

We've told you about this guy, Bill Aboudi. He hates unions and he especially hates the Teamsters. He has threatened to blow up Teamster leaders. He has commented in news stories about "pathetic" Teamster organizers. He has posted tweets calling Teamsters "union-busters." He has opposed every effort California Teamsters have made to improve the lives of the port workers, whether by organizing the port drivers or bringing good union jobs to the Oakland Army Base.

Now an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Abboudi stole  $965,000 in wages from 73 current and former employees. The judge also noted that his managers wouldn't let the drivers take bathroom breaks, telling them to urinate in bottles. Female drivers were told to use a funnel or a bucket.

Aboudi may never pay his workers. But the judge's ruling may force the Oakland City Council to drop the protection it has been offering Aboudi for nearly a decade.

East Bay Express tells us:
The judge's May 21 ruling comes at a time when the Oakland City Council has been working behind the scenes to help Aboudi, who also runs the companies AB Trucking, Oakland Port Services Corporation, and Oakland Maritime Support Services. Aboudi has been complaining publicly about not being able to strike a deal to move his truck-parking operation onto port property while the city redevelops its half of the former Oakland Army Base. So the council ordered city staffers to intervene on Aboudi's behalf, and they are currently hammering out a deal for the city to lease space from the port and then sublease it to Aboudi. 
The council's actions on behalf of Aboudi also come despite the fact that there is strong evidence his truck-parking facility in West Oakland routinely violated federal pollution laws, and public records show that he has repeatedly fallen behind on his rent payments to the city — to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of dollars (see "City Contractor Faces Labor and Environmental Charges," 3/6). 
In an interview, Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said the judge's decision might prompt the council to rethink its favorable attitude toward Aboudi. "We value workers' rights; so this judgment is disturbing," she said. "I'm sure it is something we will talk about."
Aboudi blamed the Teamsters for his legal problems. He probably should. We've brought another lawsuit against him, along with environmental groups, claiming he let polluted stormwater flow into the bay for years. East Bay Express notes he can't pay his lawyers and he probably can't pay his fines. And, sadly, he probably can't pay the drivers he cheated, either.