Crime and Corruption
Nearly fifty years after John F. Kennedy first condemned corrupt leadership in the American labor movement, it is still plagued by rampant corruption, embezzlement, racketeering and influence from numerous organized crime organizations. From penny-ante theft to multi-million dollar embezzlement schemes, labor leaders continue to violate the trust of the members they claim to represent.
The labor movement is nothing but the sum of its many parts—millions of working Americans who’ve entrusted union leaders to spend a portion of their hard earned salary for the benefit of the collective good. Financially speaking, the sum of the movement’s parts totals more than $10 billion dollars annually in mandatory dues and controls another $400 billion in financial assets in strike funds, pension plans, and health care benefits.
In fact, in just the last five years, hundreds (maybe thousands) of labor leaders at all levels of the movement have been convicted of embezzlement, corruption, racketeering, or engaging in organized crime. The problem is rampant, getting worse, and yet the unions seemingly refuse to address it.
- During fiscal years 2000–2019, OLMS investigations led to over $156.3 million dollars of restitution in over 2,100 criminal cases;
- OLMS investigations also led to 2,297 indictments and 2166 convictions;
- The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act’s (LMRDA) reliance on self-government, public disclosure, and ultimately deterrence has failed;
- The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has investigated and prosecuted union leaders for embezzling more than $100 million in union dues since 2001;
- Investigations by the DOL’s Office of Inspector General, which investigates labor racketeering and organized crime’s influence within the labor movement, has resulted in more than $1 billion in fines, restitutions, and forfeitures;
- Fewer than 5 percent of unions audited by the DOL received unqualified passes.
- Past Corruption, Reforms, and Failures
- Union Members’ Bill of Rights
- Disclosure and Deterrence
- Death by 23,000 Cuts and the Failure of Self-Governance
- Defiance, not Deterrence
- Qualified Opinions: Compliance Audits
- Examples of Compliance Audit Closing Letter Notices
- On the Waterfront: Union Leaders and Labor Racketeering
Labor Racketeering Enforcement Actions
|Cases referred for prosecution||105||73||91||74||66||65||51||62||51||44||37|
|Fines, restitutions, forfeitures, and civil monetary actions ($ in millions)||$72.9||$75.3||$109.2||$14.7||$18.1||$31.8||$122.1||$41.7||$15.6||$39.1||$68.1|
OLMS Enforcement Statistics Financial Integrity