The president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents more than 200,000 unionized construction workers, is among 11 labor officials indicted Thursday on charges including racketeering and fraud.
Federal prosecutors allege James Cahill, president of the Trades Council and an executive council member of the state AFL-CIO, accepted bribes to act in favor of non-union employers and to exercise "corrupt influence within the construction trade."
In one instance, prosecutors claim, Cahill specifically urged a non-union employer that allegedly bribed him not to unionize.
He and the other defendants allegedly accepted bribes worth more than $100,000 since Oct. 2018, Manhattan prosecutors say. Nine of them are current and former officials of Local 638, representing pipe fitters in New York and Long Island.
The 11 men face variety of charges that included racketeering conspiracy and honest services fraud conspiracy, which carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Attorney information was not immediately available. The Trades Council was not immediately available to comment on the news. The AFL-CIO described the charges as "alarming."
“We want to be very clear however that none of the charges involve actions of the New York State AFL-CIO. While at this point, these are allegations - we must be unequivocal: the integrity of the Labor Movement is of paramount importance to the New York State AFL-CIO," the group's president Mario Cilento said in a statement.