The Fairness Center has represented corrections officers in multiple cases against the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) seeking to bring financial accountability and transparency to the union; to defend corrections officers’ First Amendment rights, and to enforce the union’s duty to fairly represent both members and nonmembers.
Corrections Officers Expose Financial Corruption
In Huntingdon, Pennsylvania corrections officers Chris Taylor and Cory Yedlosky suspected that union officials at PSCOA were mishandling union funds. Their own audit of the union’s finances confirmed their suspicions: local officials had mishandled thousands of dollars of union members’ dues.
Concerned, Cory, Chris, and a colleague brought their findings to Jason Bloom, then- president of the statewide PSCOA union, but he “blew off” the audit and “put [it] in a drawer to collect dust.” Cory and Chris resigned from the PSCOA in disgust, but they refused to give up on their goal of holding their union accountable.
Their persistence would eventually reveal that union officials had spent members’ money on NFL tickets, a $12,000 Rolex watch, and outings at PGA Tour-level golf courses.
Lawsuit Forces Accountability in the PSCOA
In 2020, the Fairness Center filed the complaint in the lawsuit, Yedlosky v. PSCOA, on the officers’ behalf to force union officials to address the officers’ concerns. A month later, state police arrested local union treasurer Bryan Peroni on felony theft and forgery charges for writing checks to himself amounting to nearly $30,000. Peroni pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced.
After our client’s lawsuit, PSCOA officials tightened oversight of their finances, revealing even bigger problems and even more mishandled funds. In July 2023, state police charged former PSCOA President Jason Bloom with six felony counts of theft for using the union’s credit card for personal expenses. Bloom wasn’t the only one; four other former PSCOA officers, including former presidents Roy Pinto and Larry Blackwell, were also charged with theft. And court documents revealed claims that officials had used union credit cards for more than $200,000 in personal expenses.
Including the arrest of former PSCOA Local SCI—Huntingdon treasurer Bryan Peroni back in 2019, mere weeks after our clients’ lawsuit was filed, this marks six PSCOA officials being held accountable for theft.
Union Threatens to Violate its Duty
While working to expose the PSCOA’s financial practices, Chris had to file a lawsuit to force union officials to recognize his membership resignation. Though Pennsylvania law says public-sector unions have a legal duty to fairly represent all members of a bargaining unit—both members and nonmembers—PSCOA officials retaliated by saying they would charge Chris fees for representation. Chris filed another lawsuit, Taylor v. PSCOA, about the union’s duty of fair representation.
Litigation Continues to Defend Corrections Officers’ Rights
Yedlosky v. PSCOA is currently on appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Our clients are seeking a refund of their dues and a judgment that the union breached its contract and violated its fiduciary duty.
Chris’s and Cory’s litigation has made enormous progress towards their goal of bringing transparency and accountability to the PSCOA. Since our clients’ lawsuit, the union has instituted trainings for local treasurers, reduced union membership dues, and tightened credit card oversight.
“When our clients filed this lawsuit, they suspected that their local union was playing fast and loose with members’ money, but what they uncovered was far worse. Officials at their local and state unions have been charged with theft, while it appears that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been mishandled. Our clients believe corrections officers deserve transparency and accountability from their union and will continue to press their case in court.” – Nathan McGrath, president and general counsel for the Fairness Center.
Yedlosky v. PSCOA is currently on appeal before the Pennsylvania Superior Court.