Peter Cacchione

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Peter V. "Pete" Cacchione (November 1, 1897 – November 6, 1947) was a communist labor leader who was elected to the New York City Council in 1941. He was born to Italian-American immigrant family in Syracuse, New York on November 1, 1897 and grew up in Sayre, Pennsylvania. He became director of sports activities for the Catholic Welfare Council, later becoming a steel worker in Bethlehem, a street car conductor, riveter and later a trainman on the Lackawanna Railroad. According to fellow communist city councilman Benjamin J. Davis and newspaper accounts, Cacchione served in World War I.[1][2] Cacchione joined the Communist Party USA in 1932 and led a delegation of the communist affiliated Workers Ex-Service Men's League in the 1932 Washington D.C. bonus march. He became National Commander of the League in 1935. Cacchione moved to New York City, Bronx, in 1932 and was later elected Bronx County Chairman of the Communist Party USA in 1934. After relocating to Brooklyn, he was elected Kings County Chairman of the Communist Party in 1936.

In 1936, New York City voters amended the City Charter to implement the proportional representation system for council elections beginning with the 1937 election cycle. Cacchione ran that year losing by a slim margin of only 300 votes. He ran again in 1939 but was thrown off the ballot along with all the other communist candidates on procedural technicalities. He was finally elected for the first time in 1941 and re-elected in 1943 and 1945; the last time receiving the full quota of 74,000 votes. Cacchione served until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1947 after attending a meeting of the City Council.

Immediately after his election in 1941, Councilman Hugh Quinn, Democrat of Queens, announced that he would challenge Cacchione's right to sit on the Council pursuant to the Devaney Law. Other Councilmembers opined that they preferred him to openly disseminate his political doctrines on the council rather than to do so through "underground channels".

Despite Cacchione's political affiliation, he was genuinely popular and well-liked by his fellow councilmen. Cacchione was an attorney by trade and married to his wife Dorothy with one son, Bernard, born in 1940.[3][4]


  1. ^ Davis, Benjamin J. (1969). Communist Councilman From Harlem. p. 170. 
  2. ^ Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Guide to the Peter V. Cacchione archives
  3. ^ "New City Council Has 26 Members, One a Communist". The New York Times (Vol XCI..No. 30,609). November 13, 1941. 
  4. ^ "Cacchione Dead; Council Member". The New York Times (Vol. XCVII...No. 32,794). November 7, 1947. 

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