With 60 to 65% of its members unemployed, things are heating up inside Niagara Falls' infamous Laborers Local 91 (of the Laborers International Union of North America or LIUNA).
According to the Niagara Falls Reporter, the union has local leadership elections going on and the union bosses are at war with each other.
Leadership of Laborers Local 91 here has become so fragmented that current kingpins Rob Connolly and Rico Liberale have been unable to put together a full ticket to run with them in the May elections.
And with 60 to 65 percent of the union's roughly 700 workers currently jobless, dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file has reached unprecedented proportions.
Late last week, and against that backdrop, Dick Paladino formally announced his intention to run for Connolly's job, telling the Niagara Falls Reporter that the once-powerful union local has slipped into near irrelevance under the current regime.
Union investigators -- and FBI agents -- have been particularly interested in both union hiring practices and the complicity of union leaders in a fraud and embezzlement scheme involving Newfane dentist Scott Geise and Local 91 member Tony Fazzolari, both of whom have pleaded guilty to federal charges and are actively cooperating with the feds.
The history of corruption and violence in Laborer's Local 91 is too vast to go into in one post. However, with threats, political ties, violence and former officials now imprisoned, this former "brutal" criminal enterprise seems to be having a hard time shaking its all-too-recent past.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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