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June 9, 2005
Boston Union Corruption Exposed As Child's Play

Massachusetts has launched an investigation into corruption in a Boston longshoreman's union as investigators discovered falsified records of employment, listing children as young as two years old as dock workers. Union officials apparently issued worker cards to their children and grandchildren in order to build up their seniority and increase their wages and access to jobs when they became old enough to work:

The state is investigating allegations that longshoremens union locals in Boston have placed children as young as 2 on the payroll in a scheme to give them higher wages as adult dockworkers.

Massachusetts Port Authority officials have turned their records over to Attorney General Thomas Reillys office and the State Police, said Kurt Schwartz, chief of the attorney general offices criminal bureau. Reillys office has launched a grand jury probe.

Because seniority is determined by when a union member first receives a union card, regardless of the number of hours worked, union members who got their children enrolled are believed to have ensured that their children would receive higher pay, Schwartz said in a statement Wednesday.

The attorney general is investigating allegations that the seniority of some union members has been fraudulently exaggerated, resulting in excessive wages being paid, Schwartz said.

This story seems more than a bit ironic, as unions regularly congratulate themselves for eliminating child labor from American industry -- although that was less from altruism than it was a response to the threat that their cheap wages represented to adults. Now the union bosses stack the rolls with their kids before they even get out of diapers, and it isn't just about the wages, either. Seniority plays the largest part in determining who gets the best job assignments, and also who becomes shop stewards. Those people wind up as labor officials and move up the organization.

In effect, the union bosses have devised a corruption which allows them to create a nepotistic chain of succession that keeps union power in the hands of a few powerful families. Their children and grandchildren would wind up running the union after their retirement. That not only allows the bosses to ensure a steady and prosperous career for their progeny, but it also protects the current leaders after their retirement from prying eyes discovering other methods of corruption that may exist in the union.

This looks like an interesting application for a RICO Act prosecution. I would expect to see the feds taking a close look at this case very, very soon.

UPDATE: Forgot the story link; it's there now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 9, 2005 12:00 PM

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» If American unions are doing it, what about Canadian unions? from Angry in the Great White North
Hey, if American unions are pulling this sort of scam, maybe we should check on some of unions north of the border... [Read More]

Tracked on June 9, 2005 12:24 PM



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