Another domino has fallen in the strange, violent saga of Laborers Local 91. For years the local dictated the terms of hiring at construction sites in Niagara County, N.Y. Their targets were nonunion workers and any contractor foolish enough to hire them. Their preferred methods of enforcement were vandalism, assault and extortion. In a predawn raid in 2002 federal agents arrested more than a dozen union members. In recent weeks, two of them, Anthony Cerrone and Andrew Shomers, pleaded guilty to racketeering.
Reading the tea leaves, Salvatore Bertino has become the next to go down. The 53-year-old former local vice president pleaded guilty on Tuesday, June 21 to racketeering conspiracy. At his hearing, Bertino cited five incidents in which Local 91 President Mark Congi directed him and others to engage in extortion. Seven other union officials, including Congi, are set to go on trial later this year. (Buffalo News, 6/22).