The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 22

December 1998

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

Max Warren - What's Going On In Hawaii???

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 LIUNA?

Connecticut Local 665 Wins Biggest Victory for Rank & File In 20 years

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 & file.

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 it"

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."

Members Picket San Jose Local; Demand Justice

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 nothing back.

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.

Report From Fresno Local 294

Dear Members:

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:

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

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