Part of OCGS' mission involves combating the infiltration by organized criminal groups of labor unions, employer organizations and their affiliated employee benefit plans in the private sector of the economy. Historically, elements of organized criminal groups referred to as La Cosa Nostra (LCN ) or the "Mafia" gained substantial corrupt influence, and even control in some instances, over labor unions by creating a climate of fear and intimidation among their members by threats and acts of violence. Through such domination, these criminal groups were able to place their associates in key official positions with various unions and in other positions of influence and to thereby exploit the unions and the employers which dealt with such unions and derive illegal proceeds from the operation of the unions' affairs and labor-management relations. See, President's Commission on Organized Crime (PCOC), The Edge: Organized Crime, Business and labor Unions (U.S. G.P.O. Washington, DC 1986) at 1-32. The PCOC specifically concluded that the LCN had for decades controlled and corruptly influenced certain major labor unions in the United States, including "the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the Laborers International Union of North American (LIUNA), the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HEREIU), and the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA)." Id. at 4.
In accordance with the PCOC's recommendations, the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, working with various United States Attorneys' Offices, devised a strategy to use criminal prosecution and civil RICO lawsuits to eliminate such corrupt influence and/or control of particular labor unions and their affiliated organizations. As of 2010, the United States had obtained relief in 24 civil RICO cases involving employer associations and labor unions including the IBT, LIUNA and the HEREIU. Such relief has generally consisted of the appointment of court-approved monitors to oversee the operation of particular organizations, supervise the election of new officers, and discipline or expel officials and members for corruption or knowing association with organized criminal groups. The results of the Department of Justice's strategy in 23 of the civil RICO cases can be reviewed on Civil RICO Manual Appendix B (starting on page 343 of the pdf). The implementation of that strategy continues under the guidance of OCGS' Labor-Management Racketeering Unit which supports federal criminal prosecution and civil RICO litigation in cases involving labor-management relations, internal labor union affairs, and the operation of employee pension and health care plans in the private sector.