Sunday, October 31, 2010

New York carpenter remembered as hero to New Orleans Fire Department

Gerry Crimmins, of the New York District Council of Carpenters Labor Technical College, signs a beam at Engine 38 fire house in New Orleans in August, 2009.
Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune

As the casket was carried out of the church, a group of New Orleans firefighters wearing dress blues snapped to attention and saluted, choking back tears.

The New Orleans Fire Department lost 22 of its 33 firehouses to Hurricane Katrina. 
Despite their uniforms, the hero they were honoring was not a member of their ranks. At least not officially.

Gerry Crimmins, 51, was a New Yorker who came to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and managed to help rebuild 11 of the 22 firehouses damaged in the storm while bureacrats dithered.

He died Oct. 21 of liver cancer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Joseph Olivieri, Former Trustee of Carpenters Union Benefit Funds, Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Perjury

Department of Justice Press Release

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and MARJORIE FRANZMAN, the Special Agent-in-Charge for the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations ("DOL-OIG"), announced that JOSEPH OLIVIERI was found guilty yesterday of perjury after a one-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge VICTOR MARRERO.

OLIVIERI is the former executive director of the Association of Wall, Ceiling, and Carpentry Industries of New York (the "Wall and Ceiling Association") and a former trustee of the benefit funds managed for the District Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (the "Carpenters Union"). According to the evidence presented at trial, OLIVIERI lied under oath about his ties to the Genovese Organized Crime Family, as well as his ties to a union contractor that was defrauding the Carpenters Union benefit funds while OLIVIERI was a trustee.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reputed Genovese soldier Joseph Olivieri found guilty of perjury

BY Brian Kates

A Genovese soldier who ran the city's largest contractor association was found guilty of perjury on Wednesday in a case that showed the mob's grip on construction.

A Manhattan federal jury took only four hours to reach its verdict against Joseph Olivieri, former head of the Wall-Ceiling Association, a group of 165 carpentry contractors.

He was the last of nine construction powerhouses to face judgment in a racketeering indictment that saw city carpenters union boss Michael Forde and seven others plead guilty. Olivieri faces five years behind bars when sentenced Jan. 21.

Testimony painted Olivieri as the mob's go-to guy in city construction unions.

Also a trustee of the carpenters union benefit funds, he was charged with lying in a sworn deposition in a related case that he had no relationship with Genovese capo Louis Moscatiello or corrupt contractor James Murray, owner of On Park Contracting.

The perjured testimony came in 2007 as the feds were fighting to continue court-ordered corruption monitoring of the carpenters union.

Witness after witness testified that Olivieri, 55, carried Moscatiello's orders to Forde and other union bigwigs on the take.

Olivieri, who still faces possible prosecution on four other counts, is free on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Open Letter To The Executive Board Of Local 157

On October 18th, the executive board of Local 157 voted no to a request that prior to the start of all meetings, all members receive a copy of the meeting minutes from the previous month’s meeting and an open microphone put in place in-order to better understand speakers clearly and accurately.

I respectfully submit this memorandum in support of a request for reconsideration on the grounds that the executive boards decision is antithetical to the goals stated by UBC Supervisor Frank Spencer with respect to:

"Having a more open and transparent union that promotes communication, inclusion and paves the way for a new era, building a better district council by taking the highest moral ground, representing the best interest of union carpenters and, there is nothing in the law, UBC constitution or bylaws that prohibits the executive board from distributing copies of meeting minutes to the membership."

Feds rest in mob-union trial of reputed Genovese soldier Joseph Olivieri

BY Brian Kates

Prosecutors ended their case Tuesday in the perjury trial of the Genovese crime family's reputed go-to guy in city construction unions.

A parade of mobsters, crooked contractors and corrupt union officials told of cocaine-fueled sitdowns with the boss of the city carpenters union, payoffs in bars and a clandestine meeting in a graveyard as the FBI closed in.

Reputed Genovese soldier Joseph Olivieri, ex-head of the Wall-Ceiling Association of drywall contractors, is the last of nine to face judgment in a Manhattan Federal Court case that saw District Council of Carpenters boss Michael Forde and seven cohorts plead guilty to a federal racketeering indictment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Former Polish President Lech Walesa holds Times Square rally for union workers

BY Edgar Sandoval

Former Polish President Lech Walesa (C) attends a rally of building and construction trades union members in New York's Times Square October 25, 2010.
Former Polish President Lech Walesa (C) attends a rally of building and construction trades union members
in New York's Times Square October 25, 2010.
Former Polish President Lech Walesa (C) attends a rally of building and construction trades union members in New York's Times Square October 25, 2010.
Working-class hero Lech Walesa rallied more than 12,000 building trade union workers in Times Square Monday with a rousing speech calling for unity during tough times.

"Some of you are old enough to remember what we shouted then was, 'Union yes!'" said Walesa, who as leader of the Solidarity leader movement helped topple communism in Poland and the rest of the Soviet bloc.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letter From Supervisor Spencer

Local157.blogspot has obtained the following letter dated October, 5, 2010 from UBC Supervisor Frank Spencer to Local 608 Vice President Robert Martin.

The letter addresses issues relating to district council assessments, PLA's, wage freeze and cost associated with the Review Officer, Dennis Walsh.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I was mob stooge, former union boss Joseph Rizzuto says during Joseph Olivieri trial

BY Brian Kates

A former union boss on Wednesday fingered the once-powerful head of the city's largest contractor's association as the Genovese crime family's go-to guy in corrupt construction unions.

Joseph Rizzuto, former head of Operating Engineers Local 14, said Joseph Olivieri was a messenger who carried capo Louis Moscatiello's orders to the unions he controlled in the late 1990s.

Olivieri, ex-director of the Wall-Ceiling Association of drywall contractors, is on trial in Manhattan Federal Court for allegedly lying about his ties to Moscatiello, who maintained the crime family's grip on city construction unions.

Troubled carpenters union probed for spending big on lawyers, PR and a really nice watch

BY Brian Kates and Alison Gendar

Federal Watchdog Dennis Walsh
The carpenters union spent mountains of cash on lawyers, public relations, even jewelry - all while its leaders were under indictment for looting the coffers.

The lavish spending between July 2009 and last June is being investigated by a court-appointed watchdog hired to oversee the District Council of Carpenters.

The monitor, Dennis Walsh, declined to discuss individual expenses linked to the regime of Michael Forde - who pleaded guilty to racketeering over the summer.

The union did not return calls and its spending report is scant on details for big-ticket expenditures - like a quarter of a million bucks on image-polishing and $8,329 at Raineri's jewelers on the Bowery.
Union rank-and-file are convinced the March 4 charge was for a watch given to a retiring union leader, though the jeweler declined comment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF? E-Board Votes No Minutes - No Mic

Local 157 Leadership attending UBC Convention with Supervisors Ballantyne and Spencer
At Monday night's Local 157 union meeting the executive board voted no to a request that “all members receive a copy of the previous month's meeting minutes and an open microphone put in place in-order for members to better understand speakers clearly and accurately.”

Apprently, the leadership would rather keep us, and thousands of other members, in the dark and silent.

On September 27, I faxed a letter (see below) to Recording Secretary Mitch Sonntag, making the request, stating “by having a printed copy of the meeting minutes handed out before the meeting the membership would be better informed.”

Approximately 100 members attended the meeting. In reading the minutes of the executive board meeting, Recording Secretary, Sonntag reported the e-board voted no to the request of both the meeting minutes and open mic.

Open Letter To Review Officer Dennis Walsh

By Steward Ad-Hoc Committee

After much deliberation and angst regarding the recent appointment of Scott Danielson to the newly created position of Inspector General, and after setting aside potentially biased suspicions of Steward Workshop manipulations while Steward Workshops were under his administration; the Steward Ad-Hoc Committee has reached a unanimous decision and has therefore composed the following statement.

It behooves us at the Steward Ad-Hoc Committee that the District Council has found it befitting that Scott Danielson, under whose watch the Out of Work List (OWL) Rules were so rampantly violated, be appointed as Inspector General.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Genovese crime soldier Joseph (Rudy) Olivieri to finger contracting big, prosecutors say

Joseph (Rudy) Olivier
BY Brian Kates

The mob-linked head of a powerful contractors group goes on trial Tuesday in a case expected to dramatically demonstrate organized crime's grip on the city's construction unions.

Joseph (Rudy) Olivieri is the last of nine contracting bigwigs to face judgment in a case that's seen District Council of Carpenters chief Michael Forde and seven cohorts plead guilty this year.

Authorities say Olivieri, 55, is a Genovese crime family soldier who headed the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries. The group represents 160 contractors who employ thousands of workers.

The trial centers on Olivieri's group, which is a force in several unions, and his role in a plot to steal millions from the carpenters' benefit funds.

Prosecutors say he took orders from mob capo Louis Moscatiello, who ran the crime family's construction rackets in the city. Moscatiello was set to testify against Olivieri but died last year in prison while serving time for a 2004 racketeering case.

Prosecutors have massed a parade of mobsters, ex-union officials, crooked contractors and FBI agents to show how the mob infests unions, rips off their benefit funds and pockets kickbacks to let contractors use cheap, nonunion labor.

Reputed Genovese associate Joseph Rizzuto, ex-business agent of Operating Engineers Local 14, has fingered Olivieri as the mob's "contact person" in the union in the late 1990s.

Rizzuto is set to tell the jury how Olivieri "threatened" him and summoned him to a meeting at a LaGuardia Airport hotel after he balked at putting Moscatiello's pick in a top union post.

Jurors also are expected to hear a 2004 recording of capo John (Buster) Ardito and several wiseguys identifying Olivieri as "a friend of Louis" with ties to longtime labor racketeer Vincent DiNapoli.

At a hearing yesterday, defense lawyer Brian Gardner tried to bar prosecutors from using sworn testimony Olivieri gave in a related civil case without warning him he was a criminal target.

Manhattan Federal Judge Victor Marrero decided Olivieri will be tried first only for perjury, one of five counts against him.


Equipped with the recent allocutions of members and officers of this Union, our Inspector General has now brought internal union disciplinary charges against ALL defendants in the August 2009 indictment.

Some of these charges date back to 2006.  These charges are in conjunction with the over 100 members charged in 2006 in relation to these actions.

Consequences have included suspension or expulsion from the union, monetary fines and revocation of stewardship.

The Inspector General will continue to file charges against all union members as information becomes available and allegations are brought forth.

Our Union and Inspector General Office will ensure that justice is carried out and our members are fairly and justly represented.  We will protect the integrity of this union and every one of our members.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking a Vote on Union Construction

By Steven Greenhouse

SAN DIEGO — California’s go-go construction industry came crashing to earth when the housing bubble burst. Ever since, union leaders and nonunion contractors have fought hammer and tongs for a bigger share of the shrunken business, much of which is public sector construction.

Labor unions have used their clout to persuade many city councils, county boards and school districts to adopt policies that favor unionized contractors and workers for building projects like schools and prisons.

Fuming at the favoritism, nonunion contractors have begun turning to the ballot box, asking voters to prohibit cities and counties from adopting such a pro-union tilt.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Carpenter tops his own union in free speech case


After two years absorbing shots from other labor organizations over its organization of an alternative unit representing electrical workers, the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis has now been dealt a blow from within the ranks of its own membership.

The details of the internal dispute emerged in a legal tussle that last week prompted a U.S. district judge in Southern Illinois to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the council's bid to sanction a union carpenter who expressed his dissent by placing a sticker opposing Local 57 on his personal vehicle.

The carpenter, Kevin Price, has long challenged the decision by council of leadership to charter a local meant to challenge the dominance of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 at area construction projects.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NYC District Council of Carpenters Inspector General Office Established

From NYCDC Website:

To ensure that our Council operates in a manner that is ethical and fair to all members, the District Council is establishing an Inspector General Office.   This office will be made up of one Inspector General Scott Danielson, four retired New York City Detectives and two senior District Council representatives, Ramadan Ibric and Martin Szabunio.

As team member of the former Anti-Corruption Committee, Brother Danielson honed his extensive expertise conducting interviews, leading investigations, charging members with UBC Constitution and NYCDCC By law violations, referring criminal cases to law enforcement agencies and bringing forward civil litigation over his 15 year tenure with this council.  Our new experienced and talented team will continue to protect the rights of every member of this council and eradicate corruption from this Council.

Restitution to be Paid to District Council

From NYCDC Website:

With the recent allocution of former officers of this Council, our union is now equipped with the necessary evidence to bring internal union disciplinary and monetary charges against the individuals that have abused their authority.  We will work with the United States Attorney’s office to ensure that justice is carried out and that those who have defrauded our union pay for their actions.  Recompense will be pursued to every extent possible, including requiring former leaders and/ or members to replenish the benefits and pension funds that suffered due to their actions.  Our union has been pursuing this endeavor since the guilty pleas were entered in recent months and will continue to pursue where necessary against future individuals.

The New York City District Council of Carpenters has made a request to the United States Attorney’s office that pension benefits owed to Michael J. Forde be offset.  This request has been based on the anticipated judgment against Mr. Forde in the amount of approximately $18 million in favor of the NYC District Council of Carpenters Benefit Funds for the estimated loss of income as a result of Mr. Forde’s corrupt actions.  A judgment of $500,000 in favor of the NYC District Council is also expected for attorney fees paid to Mr. Forde based on his criminal state court cases.  Although all parties seem to be in agreement on the amounts owed, no agreement has been finalized.  Once an agreement is finalized it is subject to the Court issuing the judgment.

Our Union is also working in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s office to seek restitution from the other defendants, including John Greaney and Joseph Olivieri.  We have asked the government to investigate all options available, financially and civilly, so that our Union receives the restitution we rightfully deserve.  We will continue to fight to make sure that our members are fairly reimbursed for any act of corruption.

Local 157 Members Pass Historic Motion To Recover Money Fleeced By Forde

Monday, October 11, 2010

News From Review Officer Dennis Walsh, Recommended Changes at the District Council

I am pleased that the United Brotherhood has agreed to implement the following recommendations I have made regarding District Council Operations:

Compliance and Investigations Group
The District Council "Anti-Corruption Committee" should be disbanded. A District Council "Compliance and Investigations Group" should be formed ("CIG"). The CIG should be composed of high level UBC Supervision and District Council managers and additional District Council employees from various functions, including the business agent group, the IT group, the accounting and audit group and a limited number of new hires (or transfers of current employees) to perform duties related to (a) Compliance and Ethics and (b) investigations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Update From Supervisor

From The Carpenter Fall 2010.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spencer - Wage Freeze

The below postcard was received October 9.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crooked Shop Steward Accused of Lying to Grand Jury in Casino-Rigging Case

Michael Mitchell
By Rebecca Baker

One day after the last of three defendants was sentenced for rigging promotional giveaways at Empire City casino in Yonkers, the brother-in-law of one of them was charged with perjury, accused of lying to a grand jury investigating the case.

Michael Mitchell, 39, of Yonkers was arraigned in White Plains City Court on Wednesday on a felony charge of first-degree perjury for his grand-jury testimony in June 2009 regarding rigged promotional contests at the racetrack-casino.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, Mitchell testified that he recruited his brother, Brian Mitchell, to act as a phony winner in one of the fixed promotional contests in 2008. Brian Mitchell died in 2001.

Michael Mitchell is married to the sister of former casino promotions manager Donna Cronin; she and coordinators Alicia Murray and Terence Osborne were indicted in the scheme. The three were accused of receiving a combined $177,000 in kickbacks for running a two-year scam to let friends and relatives win promotional contests.