View the Table of Contents.
Read the Introduction.
aI am not aware of a book that covers the same ground as this
one--let alone one that does so using such thorough research and
with such technical competence.a
Anthony M. Gould, Universite Laval
"Jacobs offers a history of the federal government's efforts to
curb labor racketeering. The heart of his text focuses on the
results achieved by employing Civil RICO suits to weed out
organized crime from unions long mired in corruption. The Justice
Department has mounted twenty such efforts since 1982, and Jacobs's
book is the first to provide a comprehensive assessment of this
controversial tactic. He tackles this ambitious project with a
combination of detailed research, clear writing, and judicious
consideration, all of which have been a hallmark of his previous
texts on corruption and organized crime. The result is a must read
book for anyone interested in the problem of union corruption and
what to do about it."
--"Industrial and Labor Relations Review"
"Jacobs, legal scholar and expert on the Mafia, sets out to show
how the Mob has distorted American labor history, explaining the
relationship between organized crime and organized labor, as well
as recent federal efforts to clean up unions"
"James Jacobs, a New York University law professor and author of
Mobsters, Unions and Feds, says Mafiosi were hired by union
organizers in the early twentieth century to combat company toughs.
Now, he says, they specialize in 'selling the rights of
"Jacobs further burnishes his reputation for advancing the study
of organized crime in America with his latest work of scholarship,
billed by the publisher as 'the only book to investigate how the
mob has distorted American labor history.' This worthy successor to
"Gotham Unbound" and "Busting the Mob" is an exhaustive, albeit
sometimes repetitive, survey of the grip La Cosa Nostra has exerted
on the country's most powerful unions. While many will be familiar
with the broad outlines of the corruption that riddled the
Teamsters, which is recounted by the author, his summary of some
lesser-known examples of pervasive labor corruption help illustrate
his thesis that the entire American union movement has suffered
from the intimidation and fear the mob used to gain and maintain
control of unions. Especially valuable is Jacobs's examination of
the relatively recent use of the RICO law to bring dirty unions
under the control of a federally appointed independent trustee, and
the book's posing of hard questions about the mixed success those
monitorships have had."
"Jacobs has covered a wide range of legal issues, including such
hot-button topics as hate crime laws and gun control, but he always
returns to the world of mobsters and the men and women who
investigate, prosecute, and sentence them."
"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 inorganized 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
--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
welcomenews to all who root for the revitalization of the labor
--Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and
Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell University
Nowhere in the world has organized crime infiltrated the labor
movement as effectively as in the United States. Yet the
government, the AFL-CIO, and the civil liberties community all but
ignored the situation for most of the twentieth century. Since
1975, however, the FBI, Department of Justice, and the federal
judiciary have relentlessly battled against labor racketeering,
even in some of the nation's most powerful unions.
Mobsters, Unions, and Feds is the first book to document
organized crime's exploitation of organized labor and the massive
federal clean-up effort. A renown criminologist who for twenty
years has been assessing the government's attack on the Mafia,
James B. Jacobs explains how Cosa Nostra families first gained a
foothold in the labor movement, then consolidated their power
through patronage, fraud, and violence and finally used this power
to become part of the political and economic power structure of
20th century urban America.
Since FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's death in 1972, federal law
enforcement has aggressively investigated and prosecuted labor
racketeers, as well as utilized the civil remedies provided for by
the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute to
impose long-term court-supervised remedial trusteeships on
mobbed-up unions. 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 victory cannot yet be claimed.
The only book to investigate how the mob has exploited the
American labor movement, Mobsters, Unions, and Feds is the most
comprehensive study to date of how labor racketeering evolved and
how the government has finally resolved to eradicate it.