Union Workers Beaten by Union Bosses Who Enriched Themselves on a Forced Dues Feast

Union Workers Beaten by Union Bosses Who Enriched Themselves on a Forced Dues Feast

  “They were warning me that if I continue to complain about their finances, they would have me killed," a New York union member, who caught the union bosses with their hands in the union member coffers, told the New York Daily News: Unionized phone company employees say they were beaten or threatened after they accused their labor bosses of looting their coffers through various scams. One member of Communications Workers of America Local 1101 said that after he reported a time-sheet padding scheme, a thug beat him so badly his spine was injured. Another says he found a dead rat in his locker, while a third said a union officer warned that suspected informants should be brought off company property and "taken care of." The threats come to light as the U.S. Labor Department is probing charges that union bosses lined their pockets at the rank-and-file's expense. Accusations include an unauthorized 401(k) plan union officers gave themselves funded with members' dues, along with hefty weekly allowances, lavish expense accounts and six-figure salaries, union documents show. The feds are also looking into allegations that double-dipping union bosses illegally received pay from Verizon and the local for the same hours, sources said. "This was union greed and that's worse than corporate greed," said Kevin Condy, a reform movement leader of the 6,700-member local that represents mostly Verizon workers in Manhattan and the Bronx. "These guys acted like they felt they were entitled." And, some members charge, the bosses retaliated when threatened with exposure. In August, business agent Patrick Gibbons said he received death threats and his office was vandalized after he complained that union bosses were misappropriating cash. "They were warning me that if I continue to complain about their finances, they would have me killed," Gibbons wrote in an open letter to union members. Six months earlier, Verizon heavy equipment operators Salvatore DiStefano and Sebastian Taravella sued the local in Brooklyn Federal Court. They said they were harassed after telling Verizon security officials a manager allowed workers to leave early but claim a full day's pay - as long as they completed a quota of assigned jobs. DiStefano told the Daily News he was "attacked by a union thug" as he started the morning shift at a Verizon garage in the Bronx in April 2009. "He pounded me with his fists, he spit on me, he choked me and threw me down to the floor," he said. DiStefano said he suffered two herniated discs and had knee problems that required surgery. He got workers' compensation as a result, records show.

'Wrongful Use of…Violence and Fear'

'Wrongful Use of…Violence and Fear'

(Source: February 2011 NRTWC Newsletter) Subscribe to The National Right to Work Committee® by Email Latest Indictments Show Mob Retains Grip on Several Major Unions Just last September, Tommy Leonardis, president of the Newark-based Local 1235 of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), attended a hearing at the New Jersey Capitol in Trenton to protest a state program targeting Organized Crime in the New York harbor region. Mr. Leonardis insisted Mafia infiltration of the ILA and the waterfront was a thing of the past, grumbling that the program unfairly "tars the industry as mob-influenced." But last month, a federal grand jury issued an 82-page indictment charging that it is in reality ILA union bosses like Mr. Leonardis who continue to blacken the reputation of the New Jersey waterfront. The indictment accuses Mr. Leonardis, along with former Local 1235 Presidents Albert Cernadas and Vincent Aulisi, the latter's son Eddie, and Nuncio LaGrasso, vice president of another Newark-based ILA local, as well as other conspirators, of running an extortion operation in which unionized workers were the principal victims. Specifically, Mr. Leonardis and other conspirators "agreed to obtain property of ILA members, that is: money belonging to ILA union members, with their consent, which consent was to be induced by wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear." One especially egregious form of extortion of which several ILA union-boss defendants are accused is the collection of "Christmas tribute" money from dockworkers after they received year-end bonuses. This tribute was allegedly funneled into Genovese Crime Family coffers as well as ILA chieftains' pockets. A Foreman Who Protests Shakedowns May Need 'to Be Physically Assaulted’ Federal prosecutors' January 20 arrests of half-a-dozen current and former ILA officials and their cohorts were only part of a larger takedown that day. Also indicted was Ralph Scopo Jr., the former president of Local 6A of the New York Cement and Concrete Workers union. This local is affiliated with the notorious Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). The indictment in which Mr. Scopo is named alleges that he and his son, Ralph III, current union president and an unindicted coconspirator, have run Local 6A as a front for the Colombo Crime Family. Among the favors done by Local 6A kingpins for the Colombos was the "coffee boy" scam. In this shakedown, occurring at every 6A-controlled job site, workers were forced to buy all their lunches, snacks and drinks from a mob-selected vendor who kicked back $250 a week to the Colombos. When one foreman protested such extortion, Ralph Jr. escorted him to a meeting with Colombo captain Dino Calabro and Ralph III. According to the indictment, during the meeting Ralph Jr. explained to Mr. Calabro that he had brought along Ralph III in case the foreman "needed to be physically assaulted." Forced Unionism Culpable For 'Almost Every Antisocial Aspect in Labor Relations' "The ILA’s New Jersey locals and LIUNA Local 6A are representative of many other union operations that have remained crooked, decade after decade, despite multiple crackdowns by law enforcement," noted National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.