An official with a local transportation union pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling $39,000 in union funds.

Joseph Grygorcewicz, 63, of Amherst, former secretary-treasurer of United Transportation Union Local 1566, admitted stealing the money between late 2009 and early 2011.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito Jr. said Grygorcewicz had check-writing authorization – the union required two signatures on every check – and used it to cash checks with his signature and the forged signature of the union president.

Ippolito said Grygorcewicz had paid back about $14,000 of the $39,000 he stole by the time union officials discovered the missing money. He faces a sentence of between six and 12 months in prison.

Local 1566 represents local railroad workers.