Just when you thought Unions (the people who brought you bankrupt auto industries, failing pensions, and organized crime) were starting to clean up their act, the Union Chief of the New York District Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America and nine others are facing corruption charges.
The 29 charges include “racketeering, bribery, fraud and perjury.” Bribes of about $1 million were paid to the men by contractors so they could pay workers below union scale, hire illegal immigrants and non-union workers, and skip contributions to the union’s benefit fund.
This is not the Union’s first brush with these types of accusations. In 1990, Manhattan prosecutors brought up similar charges in a civil racketeering lawsuit. The lawsuit led to a court appointed “corruption monitor,” which is still in place and as effective as most government appointed regulators.
 The Union’s “history of mob influence, labor racketeering and bribery” has not caused politicians to distant themselves. Just six weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg released a press release that the union had endorsed him for a third term. At a recent Union event, Michael J. Forde, one of the men facing indictment, introduced the Mayor as their “endorsed candidate” and gave him a hug.
Another man included in the indictment is Association of Wall, Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York executive director Joseph Olivieri. Olivieri has strong ties to the Genovese crime family, according to the FBI and law enforcement officials. The indictment does make reference to the Genovense family, but as of now, they are not included in the indictment.  The investigation is ongoing.
Lev. L. Dassin, the acting United States attorney who announced the charges, said, “Instead of protecting the financial interests of union members and their families, corrupt union officials and the contractors who bribed them are charged with betraying the carpenters’ union and its benefit funds to enrich themselves.”
For more information, visit the AWF Union Transparency Page.
Photo Credit: Eugene Pivovarov