Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center: The Mob, Unions, Killers, and Thugs at Your Service

It's not your normal convention center. Chicago's McCormick Place has had a history of organized crime figures working in the building , even today. Let's take a look. In a federal document prepared for the White House in 1978 titled "ORGANIZED CRIME AND THE LABOR UNIONS":
Local 714 IBT - Chicago. This local represents the exhibition contractors who set up trade shows at Chicago exhibition halls. The union is used by the Chicago syndicate for giving hoodlums jobs by placing them on the payrolls of the contractors. The union also shakes down contractors, forcing them to accept unwanted labor and selling them cleanup services. David Kaye, chief steward at McCormick Place Exhibition Hall, was recently convicted by the Strike Force on 74 counts of Taft-Hartley violations for forcing contractors to place him on a number of payrolls at the same time.
There's more:
Local 714. This local represents the men who carry and set up the exhibition equipment in McCormick Place Exhibition Hall. Because McCormick Place is one of the largest and busiest exhibition halls in the United States this union wields tremendous power. Any delay in a trade show or convention incurs irreparable damage. Exhibition contractors cannot protest the slightest demand from the union. As a result the chief steward who supplies the manpower to the contractors is all powerful and can demand extra pay, extra benefits, and force the contractors to take on some of the

most unsavory individuals--convicted felons, dope peddlers, cartage thieves, as workers on their crews. Many such workers will not show up for work or steal the merchandise while they are collecting a full days pay.

The last two chief stewards have been convicted in federal court and have been sent to jail for shakedowns. Davey Kaye, the latest steward, spent eight years of a twenty year sentence in Florida for shooting a recalcitrant union member and dumping him in a canal. Kaye was convicted in 1976 by the Chicago Strike Force on 74 counts of taking money from employers in violation of the Taft-Hartley law. Local 714 has made a point of placing organized crime figures on the payrolls of exhibition contractors. There was a major scandal in October, 1976 when the Chicago Tribune reported that Rocco Infelice, syndicate member, and Mario Garelli, his associate, both on appeal bond after being convicted of distributing heroin, had been placed on the payroll at McCormick Place by David Kaye.
Just in case you think the tentacles of the Chicago Mob are gone in 2011 in McCormick Place: check this story and this one. Are the unions in Chicago working class heroes?