The AFL’s Anti-Crime Sham

Westbrook Pegler

Spartanburg Herald-Journal/May 12, 1940

New York, May 11.—This is an opportune moment to put a finger on the pietistical sham of William Green, wherein he calls upon the public authorities to prosecute malefactors operating under the fair name and sacred sign of labor with a capital L.

A few months ago Mr. Green went to East St. Louis for an official occasion, and in the course of his remarks to the assembled brothers showed the boys an expanse of white eye as he called on heaven to witness that, like Calvin Coolidge’s parson, he stood foursquare against sin.

Then, in an “officer-do-your-duty” tone of voice Mr. Green put it up to the public authorities to arrest and send to prison all unioneers who rob their subjects of dues, fines and assessments, extort money from employers or others, or otherwise offend against the ten commandments or the laws of the United States or its political subdivisions.

We come now to the case of the predatory A.F. or L. racket known as the Building Service Employees’ union, which has been holding a convention in Atlantic City to calm the confusion arising from the indictment of Gaorge Scalise, the gangster of the Little Augie tribe.

Scalise, a pander, was indicted for extortion by Thomas E. Dewey, and his resignation from the presidency was approved with regret by the same national board, minus one member, which, last January, rejected the same. The member now missing from the board who voted not to accept the resignation in January is Robert Everitt, who has a long but cheap police record compiled over a 29-year career composed of entries ranging in degree from spiptting on the sidewalk to the passing of counterfeit money. His convictions were for receiving stolen goods and breaking and entering, and he is now under indictment in Boston with two accessories—one a counterfeiter, the other a swindler—on a charge of misusing the label of the A.F. or L. in the promotion of a fraudulent we-boys publication. His prosecutor is Daniel Doherty, who formerly was national commander of the American Legion, and it may be said to the parenthetical credit of a subsidiary of the A.F. of L. that his indictment and prosecution were procured by the Massachusetts Federation of Labor, whose leading officials appear to resent the rise of underworld influence in labor circles.

In Atlantic City, however, when Mr. Dewey’s agents picked up three officials of the Scalise racket on witness subpoenas and tried to catch the union’s bookkeeper the union, far from co-operating, not only obstructed the attempt but denounced Dewey as a political opportunist and enemy of labor, failed to produce the bookkeeper and sounded jiggers to other such rackets to keep out of New Jersey because the law there permitted the extradition of material witnesses to New York.

It is not assumed that these ornaments of labor will come to New York to assist in a serious criminal case. If they should take it on the lam to Illinois, the main, or headquarters, rat hole of the labor racketeers, they probably cannot be compelled to give any testimony at all. One of these individuals, incidentally, is Thomas Burke, who was third vice president under Scalise and accompanied Scalise, Little Augie and Charles Fischetti, a cousin of Al Capone, to Cuba in February, 1938. He has now been elevated to the first vice-presidency in the “reform” of this main subsidiary of the American Federation of Labor.

So Much for Mr. Green’s solemn demand that public officials do their duty against labor racketeers and his insistence before his maker that the A.F. of L. stands for law and order and the highest standards of American citizenship.

(Source: Google News,