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Mr. KENNEDY. You are going to form your own association?
The CHAIRMAN. You do solemnly swear the evidence you shall give before this Senate select committee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. VLADECK. I do.
TESTIMONY OF STEPHEN C. VLADECK
The CHAIRMAN. State your name, your place of residence, and your business or occupation.
Mr. VLADECK. My name is Stephen C. Vladeck. I reside at 37 Riverside Drive, New York City. My office address is 280 Broadway, New York City. I am regional counsel to the Retail Clerks International Association.
The CHAIRMAN. You waive counsel, do you?
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Vladeck, how long have you been with the Retail Clerks?
Mr. VLADECK. I was brought into the Retail Clerks in March of 1957.
Mr. KENNEDY. What were you doing prior to that?
Mr. VLADECK. I have been an attorney in the practice of law in the city of New York, representing labor organizations and engaged in the general practice of law. Mr. KENNEDY. In March or so of 1957, did the International Union
into New York and take over certain local unions of the Retail Clerks?
Mr. VLADECK. Yes, it did; and it was in connection with that that my firm was retained as counsel for the trustee and for the International.
Mr. KENNEDY. One of the primary situations with which you had to deal concerned a vice president of the Retail Clerks, a man by the name of Paul Lafayette; is that correct?
Mr. VLADECK. That is correct.
Mr. KENNEDY. He has already featured to some extent in the hearings that have been held by this committee over the period of the last couple of years.
You also went in and took over some locals that were operating in the field of coin-operating machines ?
Mr. VLADECK. Yes. There were at least so far as the records were concerned-three local unions which had been chartered during the period of Mr. Lafayette's tenure as vice president, between September of 1952 and the imposition of International trusteeship in March of 1957. They were locals 1690, 433, and a local called Amusement and Concessionaires Local 413.
Mr. KENNEDY. Would you tell us what the situation was as far as local 433 and local 1690 was concerned, and then I would like you to move into the situation as far as Mr. DeGrandis is concerned.
Mr. VLADECK. With regard to local 433, our International representatives went to the office of local 433, located on Northern Boulevard, in Flushing, found no one of authority in the office, found no books or records in the office. All there was was a petty cash box. They left a notice of the trusteeship, signed by President Sufridge; changed the locks; and sent by registered mail to the last address which we had a copy of the notice of trusteeship imposed by the International president.
We heard nothing from any of the so-called representatives of 433 for a period of several weeks.
We later discovered that two of them were operating out of a store front in the West Forties, under the heading of local 531, and also under the title of local. 465. They were Alexander Cohen and James Caggiano.
We felt at that time, and still feel, that their lack of responsiveness to the International's imposition of trust, the absence of books and records; the fact that it took us weeks to uncover who and where their membership was, and some additional facts that I would like to go into in a moment, warranted the International's action in suspending them from office and revoking the charter of local 433.
The situation with regard to 1690 was quite different. Local 1690's officers immediately came in. They had presented us with their books and records, which were turned over to the district attorney of New York County, who has checked them and found no violations of law. We found that they had membership lists. We found that they had a collective-bargaining agreement. And we found that they were willing to cooperate with us in the administration and correction of their affairs. "We had many conversations with the officers of that local and with the officers of the Music Operators Association of New York, with whom they had an agreement.
After considerable soul searching, quite frankly, it was determined that that charter would not be revoked, that we would continue that local under International supervision, with the clear-cut understanding that the local was to function as a labor organization; was to negotiate with regard to wages, hours, and other conditions; that the local would not in any way act as enforcer by reason of loss of locations or obtaining locations for members of the association, and that if this was the kind of union which the industry was willing to accept, this was the only kind of union which we were willing to permit to continue under our charter.
With regard to Mr. DeGrandis, he at the time was an officer of local 413. The local, as I indicated, had jurisdiction over amusement and concessionary employees. In fact, it had less than 100 members, all of whom were employed in a hospital in Staten Island.
Our representatives found in his office no membership lists; no books; no records; no indication at all of the existence of a union. They found two items, a gun and a billy. Mr. DeGrandis was forthwith expelled from the Retail Clerks and his charter was lifted.
Mr. KENNEDY. That, of course, is of extreme importance because he became and is now the dominant figure in New York.
When you went in to find out how he was meeting his responsibilities as a union official, you found no books of records, no membership lists of any kind?
Mr. VLADECK. None.
Mr. KENNEDY. There were only two items in the office. One was a gun and the other was a billy? Mr. VLADECK. That is correct. Mr. KENNEDY. This was what date? Mr. VLADECK. This was March of 1957. Mr. KENNEDY. March of 1957.
The CHAIRMAN. Is this the man that was testified about here this morning, that is undertaking to organize and monopolize the whole area ?
Mr. VLADECK. He is connected with local 266 which Mr. Kasper said was the local attempting to monopolize this industry.
The CHAIRMAN. It is now undertaking or did start a program to take over the whole industry?
Mr. VLADECK. That is correct, Senator.
Mr. KENNEDY. Where you had a proper Teamster Union, local 202, which had been active in the field. Then you have the situation where Mr. DeGrandis is thrown out of the Retail Clerks, and they found these two items in the office. He then gets a charter from the Teamsters and becomes active in that field. The Joint Council under John O'Rourke takes jurisdiction away from the good Teamsters Union and turns it over to this twice-convicted felon, and he takes over the union and is trying to gain control and domination over the whole of New York City.
Mr. VLADECK. I think there is some additional history that should be of interest to the committee. We have found, as I indicated to your investigators, I frequently must state in admiration of my own clients, the courage they have shown in fighting in this industry since March 1957 for the continuation of one clean local, immediately after the international placed these locals under trusteeship, local 1690, in conjunction with the Music Operators, brought an action in the New York courts to enjoin local 531, which was a local then in the control of Alex Cohen, Al Cohen, who had been secretary-treasurer of local 433 of the Retail Clerks, a charter which we suspended.
We were successful in obtaining from Judge Coleman in New York an order which, in effect, wiped 531 out.
Immediately another local came into existence, another letterhead union, local 19.
The Music Operators proceeded against them in a similar action which, unfortunately, we couldn't afford to join in, but for which we provided information and witnesses, and that local, too, was enjoined from its activity. Subsequently, local 202 showed an interest in this field, and we were frankly surprised because we felt that local 202's interest was a legitimate one, at least we hoped it was
Mr. KENNEDY. That is Teamsters?
Mr. VLADECK. That is Teamsters, but that is a local which was under the direction of Tom Hickey.
We were very shortly advised that it wasn't 202, but it was going to be 266 that we were going to be faced with by way of competition for the organization of people in this industry.
We have since that time attempted to organize in the industry. We have attempted to protect our contracts. We have run into some serious difficulties by reason of the existence of local 266. We are currently, for example, under injunction, issued by the supreme court in Kings County, because we picketed a location and the employer came forward after we were picketing that location-a nonunion location--and alleged that he had an agreement with local 266. We stated before the court many of the facts which are being testified to here before this committee with regard to 266 and Mr. DeGrandis. Nonetheless we are currently under temporary restraint and cannot engage in any activity to protect a contract and to protect a place of employment for our members.
Senator CHURCH. Mr. Vladeck, at this point let me review this picture so I am sure I have it right.
To begin with, there were three locals that were affiliated with the Retail Clerks; is that correct? One was 1690, one was 433, and one was headed up by Mr. DeGrandis. What was the number of that?
Mr. VLADECK. 413. Senator CHURCH. 413 ? : Mr. VLADECK. That is correct.
Senator CHURCH. As I understand it, the international was concerned because of reports coming to it that none of these three unions were living up to the standards imposed by the international, or were in fact legitimate unions operating to protect the employees that were their members.
Mr. VLADECK. That is absolutely correct.
Senator CHURCH. So then responding to this, the international moved in to make its own investigation with the idea of establishing appropriate trusteeships.
Mr. VLADECK. That is correct. Senator CHURCH. In two of the cases you found no evidence of any sort of legitimate union operations going on, and thereupon suspended the charters and expelled the locals. Those two cases were 433 and 413?
Mr. VLADECK. That is correct.
Senator CHURCH. In one of the cases, namely, local 1690, you undertook to establish a trusteeship, or you did not suspend the charter. What happened in the case of 1690? I am not clear on that.
Mr. VLADECK. 1690 was continued under trusteeship.
Senator CHURCH. What is the purpose of a trusteeship in the labor union movement?
Mr. VLADECK. The purpose of the trusteeship was to make sure that the local in the first instance was operating in accordance with the international constitution and bylaws.
In two of these cases the local was not. In the third it was. The continuation of the local trusteeship was to prevent any attempt to subvert this particular local union to the pattern which we unfortunately found in this industry, and to make sure that the local provided nothing more than a trade union which was interested in organizing employees and negotiating with employers with regard to wages, hours, and other conditions of employment.
Senator CHURCH. And you continued the trusteeship in order to give international supervision and control over the union in order to work toward these objectives?
Mr. VLADECK. And also, to use a phrase of yours, Senator, to provide it with a brand name so that we are in effect staking our reputations on the legitimacy of the current operation of local 1690.
Senator CHURCH. And loca] 1690, as of this date, is under the trusteeship of the International Retail Clerks?
Mr. VLADECK. That is correct. I would like to add, if I may, two other things: We did attempt a rehabilitation of the membership of local 433 in a different way. We advised all of the members of local 433 whose names we could find on our international roster that we would be willing to transfer them to a newly established local, local 888, to be administered by the international, and in the meantime we attempted to gain information by discussing with the employers' association in the game industry what terms or conditions of employment could be established.
In the early stages of our discussion we were promised cooperation, and we were told that they would welcome legitimate union organization.
We were later advised in effect that since we didn't offer labels for sale, and since we were really not concerned with protecting locations of employers as between employers, but only concerned with organizing people and establishing wage scales, that they did not extend the cooperation which they had originally offered and, in effect, told us indirectly if not directly, that they would prefer to operate through organizations which were less careful in terms of their administration.
Senator CHURCH. In this connection, were your negotiations with Mr. Blatt, the witness who yesterday testified as spokesman for the operators' association?
Mr. VLADECK. Yes. I had only one telephone conversation myself, with Mr. Blatt, but I do know that Mr. Ammond, who is the international vice president and trustee of these locals, had several conversations, in which Mr. Blatt originally had promised cooperation which was never forthcoming and, further, where we much later-more recently have indicated to local 1690 that they may organize employees in the game industry legitimately, we have met the resistance of this same group
Mr. KENNEDY. It is also of some significance, Senator, that Mr. DeGrandis took over this union, local 266, shortly after Mr. Hoffa became international president of the Teamsters.
The CHAIRMAN. What local was DeGrandis in?
The CHAIRMAN. How long was it after that before he became official in this 266 ?
Mr. VLADECK. I can't give you the exact date. The first time it came to our attention was about a year, approximately a year.
The CHAIRMAN. Within a year afterwards it came to your attention But you
don't know how long he had actually been operating !