Operating Engineers’ union boss threatens a nonunion conractor who questions the benefit of using union labor.  Michael J. Caggiano was also convicted of misdemeanor assault on nonunion contractor Timothy Such, whose business is now defunct.   Phil  Fairbanks has the story in The Buffalo News.

The two men had crossed paths before, but this time the altercation escalated, and Caggiano, a union apprentice, stabbed Such, a contractor, in the neck with a knife.

Prosecutors claim the stabbing – Caggiano was later convicted of misdemeanor assault – was one chapter in a 10-year criminal enterprise the union ran.

Caggiano and four other members of the union face allegations that they used violence and vandalism to persuade contractors to hire Local 17 members.

Prosecutors claim the stabbing – Caggiano was later convicted of misdemeanor assault – was one chapter in a 10-year criminal enterprise the union ran.

But one other witness, former Local 17 leader Carl Larson, testified that Caggiano told him he had stabbed Such in order to help the union.

Larson recently pleaded guilty to attempted extortion and, as part of his plea deal, agreed to testify against his fellow union members.

Such’s testimony was often spirited and colorful, filled with stories about his run-ins with the Operating Engineers, a union that represents heavy-equipment users.

He said the union’s leadership was constantly urging him to sign a contract with Local 17 and that he usually resisted those efforts.

“Why would I sign?” he said he asked Larson at one point. “What are the positives to signing? There’s only negatives.”

“By signing, the negatives go away,” Larson responded, according to Such.

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