In labor as in business, a merger doesn't always work out. In the case of UNITE HERE, which until recently represented more than 400,000 hotel, food service, textile, laundry and other workers, it's a marriage gone sour. The odd man out is General President Bruce Raynor. But he's far from out of the picture. In fact, he may wind up on top. Raynor and anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 supporters recently jumped ship and formed a new union, Workers United, which recently elected him president and affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). To say that UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm is not on the best of terms with either Raynor or Service Employees President Andrew Stern is an understatement.
Ralph Coppola, a former United Brotherhood of Carpenters boss in N.Y., pled guilty in Sep. to a $1.2 million fraud and was set to receive a 24 to 30-month sentence in Nov. But, Coppola, an alleged Genovese crime family associate, has been missing for a month and is now believed to have been executed for pocketing money that should have been passed on to his Mafia superiors, according to sources of the Daily News. If true, Coppola would be the first N.Y. boss to be killed since Oct. 1993, when a bloody intrafamily war left 10 dead. Those killings, and dozens more by the Gambinos and Lucheses, led to the Mafia's ruling body to reportedly issue a no-killings directive until things cooled off. Coppola's lawyer said it's unlikely that he ran away because they had delayed his sentencing so he could be present for the birth of his third child, born in Oct. Authorities still question why Coppola's body was not dumped in a visible place as a reminder to others to obey the rules. But an underworld source, told the Daily News the message had been received: "The people they're looking to send a message to is not the entire public.