Chicago Sun-Times

Angelo Fosco, Powerful Chief of Laborers' Union


Charles McWhinnie

February 14, 1993

Angelo Fosco, 71, one of this country's most powerful labor union officials, died Thursday [02-11-93] in a Hollywood, Fla., hospital. He had been attending a charity golf tournament in Florida.

An Elmwood Park resident, he was general president of the 600,000-member Laborers' International Union of North America He was elected in 1975 after the death of his father, Peter, who previously ruled the labor organization.

Mr. Fosco was known as an innovative leader who expanded the union's base and improved the quality and quantity of services that it provides its members.

"Angelo Fosco dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for the working poor - and all working people," the Rev. L. Jackson was quoted by the union as saying.

Former Labor Secretary Ray Marshall was quoted by the union as calling Mr. Fosco "an effective labor leader with good judgment who served his people well."

Mr. Fosco was credited with foreseeing economic changes that eventually swept through the country in the 1980s and 1990s. Washington, D.C.-based Laborers' International historically concentrated in the construction industry, but Mr. Fosco moved aggressively to organize emerging sectors that were experiencing rapid growth, including public employees and the hazardous waste clean-up industries.

He built a nationally recognized model program, the Laborers' International Union's National Health and Safety Fund, to improve working conditions in the construction industry.

Mr. Fosco was an innovator in fostering labor-management cooperation, especially in worker training. During his tenure, he played a major role in helping the Laborers Associated General Contractors Education and Training Fund conduct an award-winning training program in the area of hazardous waste removal, asbestos removal and lead abatement. He founded the Laborers'-Employers' Cooperation and Education Trust to facilitate greater collaboration among labor, management and government.

In 1981, Mr. Fosco and the union found themselves fighting charges of having mob ties when he and 14 other people, including Tony Accardo, were indicted by a Miami grand jury. The federal-racketeering charges involved allegations of $2 million in kickbacks made in connection with union life and insurance contracts. Both men were later acquitted while seven others were convicted.

Besides also serving in various posts with the AFL-CIO, he co-chaired a number of funds that benefitted Laborers' International members.

Survivors include his wife, Marie; two sons, Peter and Paul; a daughter, Marycarm; seven step-children; 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. tomorrow and Tuesday at Salerno's Galewood Chapel, 1857 N. Harlem. Services will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the chapel. Mass will follow at 10 a.m. in St. Vincent Ferrer Church, 1530 Jackson, River Forest. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery, 7800 S. Archer, Justice.