Blue-Collar Crime: Conspiracy, Organized Labor, and the Anti-Union Civil RICO Claim

By Levin, Benjamin | Albany Law Review, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Blue-Collar Crime: Conspiracy, Organized Labor, and the Anti-Union Civil RICO Claim


Levin, Benjamin, Albany Law Review


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  I. INTRODUCTION

 II. WHY TELL THIS KIND OF HISTORY AND WHY TELL THIS
     PARTICULAR HISTORY?
     A. Critical Legal (Cultural) History
     B. Why RICO: Why Now?

III. COMMON LAW CONSPIRACY AND THE NINETEENTH
     CENTURY UNION

 IV. A MORE PERFECT UNION: THE NLRA, THE "CULTURAL
     FRONT," AND THE NEW ERA OF LABOR'S LEGITIMACY
     A. Legislating a New Deal for Labor: The Wagnor Act's
        Doctrinal Shift
     B. Labor's Acculturation: Ideology, Representation, and
        Remaking an "American" Union
  V. DISORGANIZING LABOR: RICO's RISE, THE CRISIS IN
     COMTEMPORARY LABOR LAW, AND THE STRUGGLE TO
     DEFINE THE SOCIOLEGAL STATUS OF THE MODERN UNION
     A. Labor's Legislative Losses: Setting the Doctrinal
        Framework for Modern Labor Law
     B. The Anti- Union RICO Suits and Their Place in the
        Landscape of Modern Law
        1. RICO's Criminal Roots
        2. Civil RICO's Rise
     C. Corruption, Cartels, and Coercion: The Ideological
        Significance of the New Assault on Organized Labor..
        1. The Union in the Contemporary Cultural
           Imagination
        2. The Place of the Civil RICO Suit in the
           Contemporary Cultural Climate

VI. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

Gone are the employer's goon squads and the billyclubs; today's union-busters wear business suits and carry attache cases. Sharp lawyers and Madison Avenue propagandists have replaced the straight-forward coercion of brass knuckles with carefully calculated devices designed to destroy, without leaving any visible bruises, the desire of workers to organize.... There is no excuse for a continuation of the present situation. There are no complex legal mysteries to be solved. (1)

On May 4, 1886, Chicago's Haymarket Square was host to a rally in support of a national strike by workers seeking a standardized, eight-hour workday. (2) Despite derision and hostility from the government and the press, the strike succeeded in hobbling many industries, particularly those that had previously benefited from a national building boom. (3) The Chicago rally, like others across the country, was intended to be a peaceful show of solidarity and to provide a forum for explaining the importance of the eight-hour day. (4) With Chicago police looking on, labor leaders and leftist political activists spoke to the crowd from a speakers' wagon throughout the day without incident; suddenly, for no apparent reason, the police marched on the square and ordered the workers to disperse. (5)

Exactly what happened next is unclear, but it is uncontested that someone hurled a pipe bomb that killed one of the police officers moments later. (6) What had been by all accounts a peaceful rally deteriorated into a chaotic battle during which many were wounded and seven officers and four workers were killed. (7) In the wake of the Haymarket Affair, the speakers and organizers of the rally, as well as members of the immigrant and anarchist communities, were investigated and prosecuted in connection with the pipe bomb death. (8) During the trial, the prosecution failed to offer substantial evidence linking any of the defendants to the actual bombing; instead, the prosecution argued that the "general principles" of the organizers made them conspirators who were legally guilty of the murder. (9) Ultimately, a jury convicted eight of the defendants of murder, and seven were sentenced to death. (10)

On March 5, 2008, nearly a century and a quarter after the Haymarket Affair, Cintas Corporation, the largest manufacturer of business uniforms in the United States, filed suit in federal court in the Southern District of New York, (11) claiming that worker-organizing campaigns by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UNITE HERE, Change to Win, and numerous other named and unnamed defendants had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Blue-Collar Crime: Conspiracy, Organized Labor, and the Anti-Union Civil RICO Claim
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.