The mission of VCRS includes combating the infiltration by organized criminal groups of labor unions, employer organizations and their affiliated employee benefit plans. VCRS' Labor-Management Racketeering Unit supports federal criminal prosecution and civil litigation involving labor-management relations, internal labor union affairs, and the operation of employee pension and health care plans in the private sector.
Historically, organized criminal groups such as La Cosa Nostra or the Mafia gained substantial corrupt influence, and even control, over labor unions by creating a climate of fear and intimidation among employers and union members by threats and acts of violence. Working the United States Attorney’s Offices, the Labor-Management Racketeering Unit in VCRS has assisted criminal prosecution and civil RICO lawsuits to eliminate such corrupt influence and control of labor unions and their affiliated organizations. As of 2020, the United States had obtained relief in 24 civil RICO cases involving labor organizations affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the Laborers International Union of North American (LIUNA), the former Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HEREIU), and the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA).
During the period from 2017 to 2021, the Labor-Management Racketeering Unit worked with the United States Attorney’s Office in Detroit to charge and obtain guilty pleas from the Fiat-Chrysler Association (FCA), officials of the FCA, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union involving more than $3.5 million in illegal payments and gifts from the FCA to officials of the UAW. As a result of those and other guilty pleas involving abuse of union funds, the UAW agreed to be subject to court-approved officers as part of an anti-fraud consent decree directed at the removal of corruption within the UAW.
President's Commission on Organized Crime (PCOC), The Edge: Organized Crime, Business and Labor Unions (1986)
Civil RICO Manual Appendix B (detailing use of civil RICO lawsuits to combat infiltration of labor unions by organized crime)
Press Release regarding FIAT Chrysler and UAW plea agreement