The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 34

January 2000

Published by:
Laborers for Justice & Democracy
1601 Ocean Avenue, #346
San Francisco, CA 94112

Dues increase to pay Mob Puppet

On December 2,1999 a letter was sent to all local unions in Canada and the United States increasing the member's dues a dollar a month. The reason for this increase became clear three days, later on Sunday December 5. While most Laborers were busy preparing for the Holiday and doing their Christmas shopping, the General Executive Board met and Appointed Terrence O'Sullivan General President of LIUNA effective January 1,2000, replacing mob puppet, Arthur A. Coia.

It appeared the rank & file members of LIUNA had finally gotten rid of Coia. But at this meeting the General Executive Board also appointed Arthur A. Coia President Emeritus and decided to pay him a salary for the rest of his life in addition to a very fat pension check from LIUNA. David Roscoe, spokesmen for LIUNA, says that Coia's salary and pension combined "would not exceed $250,000." A quarter of a million dollars every year out of the pockets of the working laborers!

Coia is a person who used his position as General President to get "kick-backs" from companies doing business with LIUNA and to promote his law practice and steer contracts to his friends. Coia was found guilty of a conflict of interest and fined last March by Peter Vaira. Who knows how much he stole from the members over the years? It is criminal (and illegal) for the General Executive Board of LIUNA 15 men to create a position of "President Emeritus" and pay this crook even more money.

By his own admission, Mr. Coia's did nothing to free the members of LIUNA from mob domination and exploitation until the US Governments threat of criminal charges forced him to "make a deal" in 1994.

Many of the current General Executive Board members held office prior to 1994. They were well aware of mob corruption and participated in it either actively or by simply keeping their mouths shut. They gained personal finical wealth for "looking the other way" and betraying the members whom they had sworn an oath to protect. And now they are doing it again with this "President Emeritus" robbery.

A Rigged Election in San Jose Local 270?

Something is rotten in San Jose. Brothers who were present the Local 270 election said the first count took about five minutes and nobody was showed the count. A half-hour later two other counts were taken and Jim Homer declared the winner. According to the "official" count Homer won by 40 votes. The other slates never physically counted the ballots. Then the ballots were left in the 270 safe overnight.

270 Members said acting Supervisor Paul Radford openly campaigned for Homer and may have actually transferred his book into Local #270 in hopes of Homer keeping him on the payroll.

During the election campaign Homer and his slate were given special privileges in clear violation of the election rules. Homer's slate ran an ad in a local building trade's publication, which was then sent to every member of the local at union expense, although the union had never sent this publication to its members before. None of the other slates were told about this secret plan, so only Homers slate appeared in the paper!

Candidates were not allowed to do their own mailing, but wer forced to pay for the local union put the address labels on their campaign mailers. One slate had more then 60 envelopes returned by the Post Office because they had no labels.

Jim Homer used a letter from Robert Luskin to Max Warren in his literature detailing a secret deal in which Warren was ordered to remove Ray Duran , George Ramirez, and Frank Romero. Then Coia would appoint Paul Radford Max Warren's old friend from Local 185.Then Warren himself would resign.

How did Homer get these letters? Who gave them to him? Was it Max Warren or Paul Radford? Did Homer steal them from the 270 files for personal use?

On the other hand, an official from the Inspector General's office tried to intimidate opposition candidate Carlos Lujan because his literature included a copy of a check for $10,000 to Homer for back pay from Local 270 that Homer was not entitled to receive.

Very disturbing accusations were made in a letter to the members sent out by former Business Manager Joe Guttierez. Guttierez said that while he was in office, he tried to file charges against Homer for making illegal dispatches from the 270 hiring hall, but GEB Attorney Robert Luskin would not investigate the charges. Copies of the illegal dispatches showed up in one slates campaign literature and proved to be true. Several Slates we talked to were filing protests and said they have no faith in the in-house LIUNA reform program. One member said "too many back room deals have been cut."

Buffalo Local 210

The Laborers International Union of North America has dropped out of a racketeering lawsuit it brought with government prosecutors against Laborers Local 210. After a federal judge questioned whether the parent union could sue the local it has run for nearly four years under a trusteeship.

Federal prosecutors said they would continue on their own. Attorneys for rank & file members said they would continue their effort to have the trusteeship ended and the union returned to local control. In a Buffalo newspaper article LIUNA Attorney John Curran said "the International still feels it has earned the right to bring the suit, as a result of a cleanup that saw more than a dozen alleged mobsters bounced from Local 210."

One member said "this is strange, LIUNA can get rid of alleged mobsters in Buffalo but then the Executive Board votes to give the big thief, Arthur Coia a salary for the rest of his life at the expense of the members of LIUNA."

Voice of the Rank & File is published by the Laborers for Justice and Democracy. We are dedicated to winning justice and true democracy for all members of the Laborers International Union of North America, working within the parameters of the LIUNA constitution. If you have an article or other useful information for the members of our Union please mail it to us at:

Laborers for Justice and Democracy
1601 Ocean Ave #346
San Francisco, CA 94112

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