BSEIU Investigation Committee Files

Collection Number: 5265

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


BSEIU Investigation Committee Files, 1940-1941
Collection Number:
Building Service Employees' International Union (BSEIU)
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Case files, transcripts .
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Consist chiefly of transcripts of hearings before the Investigating Committee for locals of the Building Service Employees' International Union (BSEIU) and the Window Washers Union.
Collection material in English


In the latter part of 1939, New York City District Attorney Thomas 3. Dewey undertook an investigation of the Building Service Employees International Union. The investigation allegedly arose after the D.A.'s office had received several complaints of extortion from landlords and building operators. The results of this investigation began to bear fruit in March of 1940 with the indictment of L. & I. Schwarz, officials of Local 32 J, BSEIU, for conspiracy of extort money. This indictment was soon changed to simple extortion, a felony.
Soon thereafter, George Scalise, president of the BSEIU, was indicted under similar charges. As the Scalise Case became more prominent, other officials became implicated. Before the investigation was completed, the following union officials were either indicted or dismissed from union activity for irregularities: Peter Byrne, James Seamon and I. Eisenberg, officials of Local 32A, were expelled from the union; James Bambrick, president of Local 323, was convicted of embezzeling $10,000 from the union treasury; Frank Gold, Scalise aid in 32B was convicted of extortion, as were Hymen Palatnik, M. Saverino, S. Abrams and S. Abramson. Among the alleged union irregularities were; failure to issue financial reports, failure to hold regular meetings, rigged election procedure, running of meetings in an autocratic fashion, and failure to process the complaints and grievances of the membership.
As a result of the notoriety that was brought upon the union by the Grand Jury investigation, president-elect William McFetridge ordered an additional investigation into the affairs of all local unions within the city of New York and the immediate vicinity. The committee which was established to conduct these investigations consisted of: Thomas Murtha, president of the New York City Central Trades and Labor Council, Arthur S. Meyer, chairman of the New York State Board of Mediation, Hugh S. Robertson, executive manager of Rockefeller Center, Andrew Jackson, secretary to the Investigating Committee and David Cahill.


Records pertain to hearings conducted by a special investigating committee established to investigate "fiscal irregularities and maladministration of various locals of the Building and Service Employees International Union (BSEIU), notably Local 32 in New York City. Besides transcripts, documents include reports and minutes of the investigating committee; bylaws and pamphlets of the New York Hotel Trade Council; and a jurisdictional agreement between BSEIU Local 32 and the New York Hotel Trade Council.

Meyer, Arthur S., 1880-1955
Building Service Employees' International Union.
Building Service Employees' International Union. Local 32 (New York, N.Y.)
New York Hotel Trade Council

Racketeering--New York (State)--New York.
Building-service employees.
Grievance procedures. Building-service industries. United States.
Trade-unions. Building-service employees. New York (N.Y.)
Trade-unions. Building-service employees. United States.
Trade-unions. Hotels, taverns, etc. New York (N.Y.)
Trade-unions. United States. Corrupt practices.
Trade-unions. United States. Elections of officials.

Form and Genre Terms:
Case files.


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
BSEIU Investigation Committee Files #5265. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
6046: Archives Union File (AUF)


Box 1 Folder 1 1941
Box 1 Folder 2
Box 1 Folder 3 1941
Box 1 Folder 4 1940
Box 1 Folder 5 1940
Box 1 Folder 6 1940
Box 1 Folder 7 1940
Box 1 Folder 8
Box 1 Folder 9 1940
Box 1 Folder 10 1938
Box 1 Folder 11 1940
Box 1 Folder 12 1941
Box 1 Folder 13 1941
Box 1 Folder 14