A former Albany, New York union boss was sentenced to six months in prison for his role in a firebombing of a concrete plant five years ago.
The May 2003 arson was part of an organized effort by two union officials to sabotage companies that were using non-unionized workers at construction sites.
The sentencing of Michael Kwarta, 32, who had served as a labor organizer and sergeant-at-arms for Local 190 of Glenmont, marked the culmination of a meandering federal investigation into the underworld of Albany’s politically connected laborers’ unions.
The arson triggered a federal grand jury investigation of the union’s ties to elected officials, public contracts and organized crime figures, and also whether top union leaders had authorized the firebombing.
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Kwarta was the third person convicted in connection with the arson. Remarkably, despite widespread knowledge in the union’s ranks that he was involved in the firebombing, Kwarta remained on the union’s payroll until May, just days before he pleaded guilty. He admitted his role as the statute of limitations on charges in the arson was set to expire.
Just think, if some union bosses are willing to firebomb a company for using non-union labor, what do you think they will do to get workers to sign a so-called “union Authorization card”?