Thursday, January 20, 2011

Organized Crime Permeates Longshoremen

Union members need to pay especially close attention to this news.  The leaders you trust to run your union may be trying to rip you off and sell you down the river.  That is the lesson of the federal government's crackdown on Mafia influence in the International Longshoremen's Association:

Several current and former International Longshoremen's Association officials were among 18 waterfront figures charged as part of a federal crackdown that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder labeled "one of the largest single-day operations against the Mafia in the FBI's history."

I guess some union leaders are too busy shaking down their members for money and running illegal gambling parlors to fulfill their responsibilities.  I won't be taking bets (no pun intended) on how long it will take to nail down corruption in other unions but this is a great start.  I will give the ILA credit for trying to police up its own ranks by removing a questionable leader from his post, but the corruption vexing the union is so deep and longstanding that they were probably overwhelmed and needed help from law enforcement. 

Union corruption probably amounts to a hefty hidden tax on commerce.  It should go without saying that an organized crime presence in America's major ports is a national security threat.