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Mobsters, Unions, And Feds: The Mafia And the American Labor Movement

Mobsters, Unions, And Feds: The Mafia And the American Labor Movement

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"James Jacobs brilliantly documents and analyzes a remarkable and untold chapter in the history of American law enforcement. This groundbreaking book should be a starting point for officials around the world who confront powerful organized crime groups."--Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York and former Director, National Institute of Justice

"A pathbreaking work. For 50 years, organized crime has been the elephant in organized labor's living room, unacknowledged and unexplained. Jacobs has critically analyzed every facet of this apparently intractable problem--from its roots to the federal government's various efforts to challenge organized crime's influence. From this point forward, no one can think critically about this problem without relying on Jacobs' work."--Robert Luskin, General Executive Board Attorney, Laborers' International Union of North America

"Jacobs presents a near encyclopedic account of the Mafia's infiltration, control and exploitation of four major national unions and a number of large local unions. It is a sordid frightening story of violence, corruption and oppression, the betrayal of union members and extortion of employers, defiance of the law and disregard for human decency. This disturbing story should be required reading for all who seek strong and more democratic unions, all who would protect the rights of workers, and all who are concerned for the health of our political and social processes."--Clyde Summers, Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania Law School

"A fabulous and fascinating book. Jacobs demonstrates the continuing impact of organized crime on the American union movement, and details the legal mechanisms developed in recent years to combat mob influence. History has come home to haunt us, and Jacobs makes the case for using law to fight against the mob for union democracy." --Stanley N. Katz, Professor of Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

"Jacobs demonstrates that while it has been remarkably difficult to defeat labor racketeering, much has been achieved. This will be welcome news to all who root for the revitalization of the labor movement."--Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell University

Nowhere in the world has organized crime infiltrated labor as effectively as in the United States. From the early 1930s to the assassination of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa in 1975, the federal government neglected this illicit marriage for most of the twentieth century. Since 1975, the FBI, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies have pursued a relentless battle against labor racketeering in mobbed-up unions all over the country. This struggle continues today.

Mobsters, Unions, and Feds is the first book to tell the full story of the relationship between organized crime and organized labor, as well as recent federal efforts to clean up unions. One of America's leading experts on the mafia, James B. Jacobs explains how the Cosa Nostra families first gained a foothold in labor during violent struggles between workers and employers in the early twentieth century, then after Prohibition's repeal, made labor racketeering its top priority. Jacobs also outlines the failure of law enforcement to address the problem, especially the inaction of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.

Since Hoover's death and Hoffa's murder, the U.S. Department of Justice has aggressively prosecuted many of the mafia's activities using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute. Jacobs places the federal efforts to liberate the unions in the context of this larger war, which has sent hundreds of organized crime members and bosses to prison. There have been some impressive victories--including substantial progress toward liberating the four most racketeer-ridden national unions from the grip of organized crime--but there have been many frustrating defeats in a struggle that continues to this day.

The only book to investigate how the mob has distorted American labor history, Mobsters, Unions, and Feds sheds new light on the influence of the mafia in American unions and the extraordinary efforts of law enforcement to erase the shadow that the mob has left on the labor movement.