Convicted Embezzler, AFSCME Union President Byron Clemons, Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

A judge 's gavel sitting on top of a wooden table.

The Southern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that 36-year-old Byron Clemons, Sr. of Alton was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $200,000 from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME) union. Clemons used the embezzled funds to gamble at casinos and pay for other personal expenses. In addition to serving prison time, Clemons was ordered to pay $202,100 in restitution to the AFSCME union.

Giving governments extraordinary monopoly power through “collective bargaining” to union officials like Clemons denies state and local workers their individual rights and increases the potential for corruption by dishonest union bosses. Eliminating third-party union control over state and local employees would preserve their constitutional rights and eliminate a costly and unnecessary extra layer of government.

Fortunately for government employees, National Right to Work attorney William L. Messenger exposed the unconstitutionality of forcing government employees to pay union bosses just to get and keep their jobs. Because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in JANUS v. AFSCME, government employees, like those Mr. Clemons used to control before he was arrested, are now free to resign their union membership.

Resigning from government unions is easy. Websites such as, created by the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, provide government employees with a simple decertification form and other free legal advice and assistance for employees who wish to resign from union membership.

Former AFSCME Local 124 President Byron Clemons embezzled more than $200,000 from the dues-paying members he had a duty to serve. This sentencing is an affirmation of our efforts with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards to protect the integrity of labor organizations.

Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General

It is decades past time for the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the unconstitutional powers granted to union officials by current federal and state labor laws, regulations, and accepted practices. Nor, should the U.S. Congress and state legislatures remain passive bystanders.