March 5, 1999
For your information, enclosed is a copy
of a decision by a hearing officer into protests I made following
a fraud-filled election held on September 30, 1998 for local union
officers of Local Union 190, Laborers' International Union of
North America (LIUNA), Albany, NY.
This decision is disturbing for many reasons.
The so-called "Independent" Hearing Officer, Peter F.
Vaira is,in reality, not so "independent," but rather
has a long history of close association with LIUNA International
officials. It is not so surprising then that while Vaira was forced
by overwhelming and compelling facts to admit that many of my
allegations into the fraudulent conduct of this election by incumbent
Local 190 officers and officials were true, he nonetheless conveniently
ruled the election results should stand. This is, of course, absurd!
Even more disturbing and bizarre is that Vaira, using faulty and
illogical reasonings to outright reject other charges I filed,
created potentially serious problems for future union elections.
Many of these charges concerned outright violations of the LIUNA
Constitution. Furthermore, Vaira steadfastly refuses to provide
me a transcript of a hearing conducted on October 15, 1998 which
would contradict many of the conclusions he reached in his decision.
Vaira drove a knife deep into the very heart
of fair union elections when he ruled that it is proper and correct
that watchers and observers be kept far away of the area where
election ballots are counted and play no role in discussions about
whether certain questionable ballots be counted or be declared
void. Too, Vaira found no problem that LIUNA Constitution provisions
regarding the safeguarding and availability of counted ballots
were seriously violated. Vaira's decision is a slap in the face
of all union members and must be overturned.
Vaira's rulings will have far-reaching and
negative effects on any dues-paying union member, in any union,
who challenges incumbent officers. His rulings set precedence
allowing incumbent union officials wide lattitude in using improper,
even illegal, tactics to retain power and suppress challengers.
As an "independent" hearing officer, Vaira should be
concerned with protecting and preserving fairness in union elections.
but it appears he has, in fact, done the direct opposite.
I have written my concerns regarding this
ridiculous ruling to United States Attorney Janet Reno. members
of Congress and the congressional committee on Education and Work
Force. I urge you and all working people interested in creating
a fairer union election process and preserving your rights to
If you have any questions regarding this
decision, or wish additional information, please feel free to
Very truly yours,
Carmen Francella Jr.
6 Laurel Lane
Schenectady, NY 12304