Reads Like a Script for the “Sopranos”

A five-year investigation into the racketeering and extortion practices of Operating Engineers Local 17 has resulted in the indictment of 12 Big Labor Bosses.

As reported in the Buffalo News:

Some of the language in a 62-page government indictment reads like a script for the former “Sopranos” television show. . . .

Leaders of a powerful construction union local are accused of a decade-long run of extortion and labor racketeering that federal authorities say added millions of dollars to the cost of projects throughout Western New York.

The allegations include death threats, stabbings, assaults and extreme acts of vandalism against construction company executives and their families. . . .

“They victimized people at small construction sites and large sites, including many that were publicly funded,” U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn said. “We believe they had a negative financial impact on almost every major construction project in Western New York over the past 10 years.”

The crimes ranged from throwing scalding coffee at non-union workers to destroying expensive machinery by pouring sand into the transmissions and gas tanks, according to Flynn. . . .

Authorities described union organizers Carl A. Larson, 43, and James L. Minter III, 36, and the local’s president and business manager, Mark N. Kirsch, 48, as the leaders of the “Local 17 Criminal Enterprise.”

Their alleged attacks were intended to force construction companies into hiring Local 17 workers and punishing those who refused.

While referring to the corruption inherent within labor organizations that depend on the forced tribute of workers, the late U.S. Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.) hit the nail on the head when he pointed out, “Compulsory unionism and corruption go hand in hand.”