By Albert Samaha
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The failure of the DOnofrio venture had left him in the position of having to go head-to-head with the union at the negotiating table, Weider explained. Plan B, he said, was to force the union into a long strike.
"So my only solution is now the legal solution, to negotiate in good faith and come to an impasse and then theyll strike. And really, legally there is nothing they can do about that. If you get to an impasse, you get to an impasse," he said.
There is of course little "good faith" being displayed by an employer who has already decided he wants to force his employees into the street. But the sincerity of such "good faith" bargaining efforts is always a key issue when complaints are lodged with the National Labor Relations Board. And unions have long complained that employers all too often make a pretense of honest bargaining, thus shielding themselves from penalties and prolonging labor disputes indefinitely.
Strikes can be messy affairs, however, and Weider wasnt happy about the prospect of picket lines and other attendant strike-related problems outside his buildings. Thats where the knowledge and experience of the men visiting his office might come in handy, he suggested. Since an impasse at the bargaining table was inevitable, Weider said, maybe there was someone they could to talk to at Local 32B-J. "We would save legal fees, would save headaches, would save vandalism," Weider said. "All we need is someone to explain them that, listen, it is gonna happen anyway. Come to sit peacefully by the table and make a full settlement."
Did Sammy Meatballs and his friends maybe know someone reasonable like that?
As a matter of fact they did, or at least they knew someone who knew someone else. In any event, they assured Weider, they were pretty certain theyd be able to accommodate him. "Were not gonna play no games with you," said Sammy Meatballs, offering the kind of pledge that often means the exact opposite in gangland. "Were gonna tell you exactly the way it stands." The wiseguys departed, cackling amongst themselves about the potential bundleas much as $600,000, they figuredto be earned from the deal. Back in the car, Sammy Aparo said, "Well whack up the six." "Yeah, well go three each," said Vincent Aparo.
LESSON TWO in the art of labor union manipulation was offered two weeks later at a diner on the Upper East Side where Durso and the two Aparos gathered to discuss the Vanderveer matter with a wealthy and successful labor consultant from Westchester County named Glenn McCarthy.
The McCarthy family is widely known in labor circles. Jack McCarthy, Glenns dad, was considered the key union fixer for the Genovese mob dating back to the 1950s. Convicted four separate times on racketeering charges, the senior McCarthy was a star hostile witness in the mid 1960s before the U.S. Senates McClellan organized-crime hearings, where his ties to a score of corrupt unions were detailed.
Jack McCarthy died in 1990, but Glenn, along with his three brothers, followed him into the labor business.
At the diner, the three wiseguys ordered cheeseburgers, fries, and Diet Coke s. McCarthy settled on the onion soup and a club soda with a wedge of lemon. He then summed up the situation in basic terms. "You got a Hasidic guy under the arm," said McCarthy, referring to Weider. "The Hasidic guy is getting his balls broke by 32B ."
McCarthy had several thoughts on the matter, beginning with a rant about how the new leadership of Local 32B-J was not to be trusted, at least not by those interested in making money off its members. The old head of the union, Gus Bevona, who was ousted in 1999 by the international for letting his membership slide by thousands while living like a pasha at their expense, had been someone with whom "you can go and have conversations," said McCarthy. "Now you go and talk to them, you could just figure they are going to be wired , OK?
"Let me explain it to you," he continued, warming to his argument. "You cannot talk to 32B; take them off the table, you cant talk to them because theyre rats, okay? So nobody in America is going to go talk to them," he said.
There was, however, another way to approach the situation, and it so happened that McCarthy was expert at this method and knew just the businessman to carry it out. That man was Michael Francis, he said, owner of a major maintenance firm in New Jersey called Planned Building Services, Inc. "He was the finance chairman for Christine Whitman," said McCarthy, referring to the former New Jersey governor and current head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . Francis, who was appointed head of the states Sports and Exposition Authority by Whitman, lost that post after he was hit in 1997 with state charges of using mob connections to extort building managers to use his company. Whitman dropped Francis like a stone, but the contractor was acquitted of the charges in February 2000, just a few months before McCarthys sitdown .