Labor Racketeering

Labor racketeering is a way of life for many. In 1994 Ronald Fino drafted a report for the FBI and United States Justice Department and later made available to the so-called Laborers International Union clean out the mob team. Even thought it is dated most of what Fino reported is still considered a blue print to assist Federal Prosecutors, law enforcement, and law students throughout the United States and Canada. For those really interested, take your time in reading it. It is quite long but worth it. I have posted a couple of excerpts and a link to the complete document. I have also posted a report that Ronald Fino submitted to  U.S. Asst. Attorney Manvin Mayell, regarding the mob corrupted Mason Tenders District Council in the greater New York City construction industry. Another must read. As a union official himself, Fino was a witness to the victimization of the construction worker and his or her plight. Mafia legal representatives and their public relations teams abound and they have tried to do their best to discredit him as being non-union, an FBI hired gun, or as someone who carries a grudge. In his remarks before congress

Ronald Fino pointed this out quite ably in his statement before Congress, July 25, 1996 when he said:\

You will hear my detractors, and those that I linked to the mob, say that I am a hired gun for the FBI or a story for sale to the highest bidding. I wish to point out that what I am reporting today, or what I have reported to the Justice Department and the FBI, is not new. In fact, everything that I have stated about the Laborers’ International Union and the Cosa Nostra has been well-documented prior to my being compromised by the Cosa Nostra in 1989, and is contained in the voluminous 302′s generated by me and located throughout the country in FBI vaults. Of course, what can my detractors say? “Ronnie is correct; I am a crook,” or, “I like what Ronnie has to say about so-and-so, but when it comes to me, he’s a liar.”

Even though the Cosa Nostra and its absolute control is not always visible, it still remains ever present and ready. Having an unlimited pool of finances available and the ability to hire high-caliber attorneys, this has created a perplexing problem for jurisdictional and judicial prosecution. We sometimes do succeed, and the types of John Gotti are incarcerated. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and we remain in the mob’s clutches.

Many creative members and associates of the Cosa Nostra are no longer adorned in the fedoras, and you will find that they are well educated and take full advantage of that education and the moneys that they have accumulated. Today you will find the mob is as reliant on public relations firms as it is with its high-powered attorneys and accountants. Projecting an image of goodness and popping up at charitable fundraising functions, combined with a voice for social justice, the racketeer builds a formidable defense against the Justice Department and prosecution.

As difficult as it has been to bring criminal indictments and convictions against this stubborn and resilient brotherhood of crime, much has been accomplished, but much is not good enough. Only when the total eradication of the Cosa Nostra influence with our political system, labor unions, and due process is complete will the common worker at last be free to raise his or her hands.

COSA NOSTRA-LABOR UNION ACTIVITY (Labor Racketeering)

By Ronald Fino – April 1994

The first and foremost rule of the Cosa Nostra is the perpetuation of the family and the labor union is the perfect vehicle for achieving this.

The controlled union official makes sure that LCN members, relatives and associates are rewarded with plush jobs either in the union hall itself by creating field representative positions, clerical and secretarial appointments and even janitorial situations for the recipients.

It is important that you understand that the traditional LCN controlled union local and district council have been subjected to years of Cosa Nostra dominance and the years of failure on the part of justice to correct the problem have galvanized the good non-LCN connected member against cooperating

The membership of a union has had to go along with hiring practices. Knowledge of his or her benefits may be lacking and having to watch LCN favored employees receive the best jobs and stewards who are more interested in collecting last nights bookmaking receipts then staying on the job and looking after the workers needs and safety.

To speak or take any action against these practices would leave the outspoken worker without a job and incapable of finding one or at the bottom of a river.

Many investigators will find the lack of cooperation and ability to generate violations quite difficult and lacking success. Federal Investigators, who have been indoctrinated into the utilization of Title 18 violations, will be limited and success may be placed out of reach. Title 29 (Federal Labor law) and State Labor laws are necessary, as well as Title 42 and its environmental laws and rules to achieve in the cleansing.

It is also essential that the investigator have a working knowledge of the local Collective Bargaining Agreement and utilize its violations as an instrument of achieving success.

Many violations are taking place in front of the investigators’ eyes. It’s in knowing what to look for. How can you remedy a problem if you do not know what the problems are?

Hiring Violations

Then compare the list with their standing in the out-of-work list located in the union hall or its seniority list. You will also find relatives of LCN members and union officials on some of the projects who were brought into the union and placed to work over long time workers who are unemployed.

Union employers operating as alter egos or allowed to engage the services of non-union employees.

This is quite common especially in the demolition industry. The union company is allowed to utilize non-union workers to aid in keeping the cost of the project down. Very often they work on a different shift and illegally remove asbestos and other toxins when no one is looking and discard the waste in dumpsters. This practice is prevalent in New York City. These workers are referred to as the sneaker brigade.

Imposed Trusteeships. 

As a result of conviction or by agreement many local and district council unions have been placed under trusteeship by either the International Union or Federal and State authorities.

The final goal of reestablishing union democracy and stopping the misuse is fraught with danger.

In too many instances, the appointed trustee is not aware of the daily problems encountered by a local union and the need to enforce the existing collective bargaining agreement.

Most government trustees are ex-judges or law enforcement officials who have never worked in the construction industry and are incapable of handling daily problems.

Other trades or non-union forces take advantage of the imposed trusteeship and either raid or enjoy this time period.

Under international union imposed trusteeships, the individual named as the trustee, is not aware of local conditions and the different agreements, and special conditions that may appear in the collective bargaining agreement.

Many of these international trustees are also officers in another local or for the international union as an international representative with other work responsibilities.

Many of these trustees call for new elections before the LCN, and its control of the local union has been eradicated.

Too many times this happens! The relatives and cronies of the removed or incarcerated officials become the new officials of the union.

The biggest mistake made by the trustee is to under estimate the vast control that the LCN has of the captive local.

Through the years, the LCN has made the union and the jobs gained by collective bargaining available for its friends, relatives, and associates. These people may even constitute a majority and control the elective process or control the other members. It becomes even more important to identify these people.

The appointed trustee must an untainted member of the local union to assist in this endeavor. This achievement may prove to be quite difficult by is absolutely necessary.

Fear or lack of understanding of due process is wide spread and not easily overcome and the union membership is overly suspicious of the trustee and his goals. To overcome this distrust, the election process should be delayed until creative and untainted members realize that they have the ability to seek office and meet the needs of the union and its membership.

Every person acting as a trustee should become well versed with the different collective bargaining agreements and the local unions craft jurisdiction. Always keep in mind that even though the bad union officials have been removed, the LCN is ever present and still involved.

Advice from friendly members may be coming from someone unfriendly. In many instances LCN activity continues for years in benefit funds because of plan designs and requirements. Plans should be redesigned to create competition between brokers, insurance companies and other service providers.

Find out more about the membership and who may be LCN controlled. Don’t rush to democracy; it takes time to bring about change. Talk to democratically elected union officials about what should be done.

The UAW and most Electrician unions are well run and can offer some good advice. Talk to the membership and keep then informed of progress and of incurred problems.