The Mob Is Still Making Offers That Construction Can’t Refuse

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Corruption, Industry, SEIU, UAW, Unions

The mob remains up to their old tricks in the construction industry with an added twist. Organized crime syndicates now target nonunion builders – intending to avoid detection due to the Mafia’s history of union connections – to collect kickbacks.

Are unions still involved with the mob, though? Oh yes.

A series of corruption prosecutions laid bare how the mob influenced a top union figure, James Cahill, who was once the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council president, to accept $100,000+ in bribes to funnel business toward nonunion labor sites. Cahill, who pulled other union officials into the scheme, was recently sentenced to 4 years in prison.

This trend has been growing since 2015. Associated crimes have led to construction worker deaths following safety violations on these mob-linked work sites. Still, the list of recent offenses, which have resulted in 1,100+ violations tied to at least seven indicted contractors, pales compared to the 1980s – when mobs colluded outright with unionized construction companies and installed crime-family members as union officers.

Here are a few more corruption stories of note:

  • SEIU has been rejected by one-third of the Illinois workers that the union claims to represent. This correlates with a finding that the union only devotes 22% of its spending to worker representation. SEIU has also been questioned over donating $350,000 to the campaign of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, who has been keen on unionizing the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
  • In Canada, retired Unifor President Jerry Dias somehow ducked criminal charges following a kickback scandal involving COVID-19 test kits. The union also declined to discipline Dias despite his exorbitant expenditures that totaled half a million, a sum that has drawn comparisons to the UAW corruption scandal. That UAW mess may still exist in some shape or form, given the union’s recent “travesty of democracy” election process.

INK Newsletter