Republicans are fond of saying that unions are corrupt, opaque, and lazy. It's a mantra of theirs, right up there with de-funding Planned Parenthood and telling liberals to get their god-damned, latte-drinking hands off of their firearms.
But not even in their wildest labor-bashing wet dreams could they have imagined the sadly stereotypical case of local Transport Workers Union president Talib Nashid. A recent county inquiry found that the union boss falsified his time sheets. Fellow bus drivers, meanwhile, accuse him of using union dues to mow his own lawn and pay for his personal Netflix account. Miami-Dade Police are currently investigating the allegations.
Nashid did not return repeated requests for comment. If he does, we will update.
It's unclear whether Nashid is still TWU president. According to county spokeswoman Karla Damian, Nashid is "currently working in the capacity of union president."
But a spokesman for the TWU's local chapter 291 said that Nashid was removed as president when the union was put into trusteeship by TWU International earlier this year.
"Quite frankly there was a problem," said the spokesman, who would not identify himself. "There were a lot of allegations, a lot of disharmony on the board."
"We had problems conducting business," he added before abruptly hanging up and ignoring further calls.
Nashid was hired as a Miami-Dade bus driver in 1987 but took over as TWU president in June 2010. He was paid $64,285 by the county last year and also pulls a salary directly from the TWU thought to be around the same amount.
Despite his salary and benefits, however, a Miami-Dade Transit report dated this March 29 found that Nashid had falsified time records to hide his days off. "Mr. Nashid's failure to report his absences to MDT constitute a violation of Miami-Dade county Personnel Rules, including Conduct Unbecoming."
Damian says that the matter has been referred to Miami-Dade Police and that no action can be taken against Nashid until the criminal investigation is complete.
But fellow bus drivers say that Nashid didn't just screw over the county, he also stole from the union.
"All of us members are disgusted and embarrassed that our 'leader' is a verified thief," says bus driver R. Rodriguez, who asked Riptide to withhold his first name for fear of retaliation.
According to an internal investigation posted on TWU 291's website, Nashid faced nine different allegations ranging from overcharging the union for gasoline and food expenses to the lawn service and Netflix charges. The investigation concluded either that the spending was justified or that a "forensic audit" would have to be ordered (it wasn't).
The most serious allegation in the internal report is $5,000 spent on a TWU gala honoring Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carrol. The gala never actually took place but friends of Nashid's hired to cater the event have yet to pay back the money, according to TWU's own investigation.
Rodriguez has designed fliers with Nashid's face and the allegations against him. But he says he's doing it clean-up the TWU.
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He and his fellow bus drivers feel "anger and a sense of betrayal" over the allegations, he says. "Our union is on the ropes after less than a year of Nashid's Presidency."