Laborers for Justice & Democracy
1601 Ocean Avenue, #346
San Francisco, CA 94112
The Regional Director the Pacific Southwest
Region of LIUNA (California and Hawaii) is Mason ("Max")
Warren. When a guy is raking in a $300,000 a year, it's fair to
say he is a Corporate union boss. It's also fair to hold him responsible
for what has been going on in his territory. So we are asking
Warren to explain this deal:
17 years ago, Honolulu Refuse, one of the
largest refuse companies in Hawaii, signed an agreement with Laborers
Local 386. That agreement was renewed five times between 1979
and 1996. But the union and the company never told the workers
they were in a union.
The company did use their "union contract"
to qualify and bid on refuse collection at big, 100% union construction
sites, but they didn't pay into the union health and pension funds
for the workers, and the union never said a word. For 17 years
and five contracts.
This company was so non-union that last year
another union started to organize the workers! Honolulu Refuse
tried to use their "ghost" contract with Local 386 to
stop the organizing drive, so the new union filed charges with
the NLRB. And that's when it all came out.
The Honolulu Starr- Bulletin ran an article about it last January, quoting attorneys Jim Bickerton and Barry Sullivan: "'its mind boggling.'... 'I am really looking forward to questioning these defendants [the union and the company] under oath and find out why no one bothered to comply with or enforce these contracts' Bickerton said.
"'regardless of what motivated this
conduct, it clearly violated both federal collective- bargaining
laws and pension laws,'Bickerton said 'from the employees' perspective,
it is difficult to understand how this could have happened without
a conscious conspiracy between Honolulu disposal and the Laborers
Union. ' Bickerton said."
That was last January, but we haven't heard
a word about it from our Regional Director. Tell us Warren: What
is going on in Hawaii? Is this your idea of the New Reformed
Ron Nobilli, Edward Smith, Byron Gibbons,
Thomas Nilan, Joe Dias, Roger Ried, and Jerry Mckeon brought
a law suit on behalf of their Local Union 665 and challenged the
powerful and undemocratic process by which members of the Laborers
Union are forced to pay dues increases without a vote of the rank
The suit was filed in 1995. The District
Council in Connecticut has now entered into a settlement and agrees
all future dues increases will be put to a secret ballot vote
by the members. The District council also agreed to pay $100,000
in attorney fees for the members who brought the suit. The District
Council also agrees not to "retaliate against any of the
plaintiffs or their employees or supporters or Local 665."
These brave Laborers who took on the District
Council have proved that you can change things for the better
and brought to light the corrupt practices of LIUNA District Councils
throughout the United States.
There is a lesson here for everyone: be involved
in your union, make your paid representatives and Business manager
represent you, the member that elected them. Don't buy that old
bullshit story "we can't do nothing the District Council
handles the agreements and dues increases." Tell them your
needs and make sure they comply.
Judith Schneider put it best in an statement
to the court " Mergers consolidations and structural arrangements
give officials an opportunity to avoid possible consequences of
outright defiance of the LMRDA act by making an end run around
Of the Connecticut Laborers District Council,
she added "The District Council structure as alleged by the
plaintiffs is egregious. It has abrogated to itself total control
over every aspect of the dues process in violation of the LMRDA
requirements for membership involvement and approval...It provides
tremendous opportunities for rewarding political allies."
Brother Carlos Lujan, and other long time
reformers in Local 270, have begun picketing the local union after
work, demanding changes to help the membership, and an end to
the phony supervision run by the Laborers International Union
Vice President Max Warren.
When one of the "Supervisors" of
the local, Sal Lopez, came out of the hall to call Lujan an "asshole,"
Lujan replied: "I earn my living as a laborer working everyday,
not taking a paycheck for allowing corruption to continue."
At a local union meeting Lujan had opposed
the union giving $500.00 to some organization just because Lopez's
wife is on the Board of Directors. Lujan said it was a conflict
of interest and inapproprite for the Supervisor's wife to accept
a donation from the local union he was hired to watch over.
The group running Local 270 have tried to
paint Lujan as "anti union." The truth is Lujan is a
real laborer, working to build a real union, not a corrupt corporate
union boss taking everything he can from the local union and giving
Ray Duran, who is still a "leader" of local 270, lost over $160,000 in union money without the approval of the members and has not offered to pay back one dime. Now that is truly "anti-union." But don't expect his good buddy Max Warren to ask him to pay anything back soon.
After warnings from the GEB Attorney the
Inspector Generals Office our local still refuses to read the
bills to the members.
Expenditures are often made without membership
approval and back-dooring continues in the hiring hall; now they
just don't keep records.
They say this clean up cost over 6 million dollars. Wouldn't it have been cheaper for the Government to kick out Max Warren and Archie Thomas?
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:
1601 Ocean Ave #346
San Francisco, CA 94112