Bureau Of National Affairs


Monday July 8, 1996










Eleven years after a presidential commission called for a government crackdown on labor racketeering and union corruption, the Labor Department's inspector general and other agency officials will present a progress report to a House subcommittee July 11.


The House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Affairs, chaired by Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn), will hear testimony from six witnesses: Charles C. Masten, inspector general, Department of Labor; Stephen Cossu, deputy assistant inspector general for labor racketeering; John Keeney, acting assistant attorney general, Criminal Division, Department of Justice; J. Davitt McAteer, acting solicitor of labor; John Kotch, director, Office of Labor-Managements Standards, Department of Labor; and Alan Lebowitz, deputy assistant secretary for program operations, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Department of Labor.


It is one of two hearings scheduled for this month on allegations of labor racketeering and union corruption. A second series of hearings by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, tentatively scheduled for July 17, 18, and 19, will explore the genesis of a 1994 agreement between the Justice Department and the Laborers' International Union intended to reform the union. House Republican leaders say they want to determine whether Laborers' President Arthur Coia, a major fund-raiser for President Clinton, received special treatment from the Justice Department. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla).


Shays said the hearing by his subcommittee also will focus on the recent semiannual report to Congress from the Labor Department's inspector general, which identified as an investigative priority “the emerging nontraditional organized crime groups that adversely affect the workplace and America's workers.”


“Racketeering is costly to the interests of union members,” Shays said in a statement announcing the hearings. “For example, the members of one union in New York are being taxed $1 per hour by their union to replenish funds looted from their benefit fund. Corrupt union officials also betray the trust bestowed upon them as elected representatives of union workers.”


In its most recent report, the inspector general's office noted that the President's Commission on Organized Crime in 1985 identified four international unions “under the control of La Cosa Nostra.” The four unions were the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Longshoremen's Association, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, and the Laborers. Since 1989, the report said, the government has reached agreements with all but the ILA to sever ties with organized crime figures and to end improper or corrupt practices.


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