The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 12

February 1998

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

Report from Fresno Local #294


LIUNA Appellate Officer W. Neil Eggleston has sent a message to all dispatchers in the Northern California District Council of Laborers: I see through your corrupt Hiring Hall practices. Eggleston stated "abuse of the hiring hall process represents one of the most insidious, damaging misuses of authority that can be committed by a local union officer. The very purpose of the union is to protect its workers' rights to employment. Thus, the operation of a hiring hall, which matches unemployed workers to available jobs, serves as the local union's core function in a more direct and beneficial manner than almost any other action the local union can take on behalf of its members. Abuse of the hiring hall therefore is tantamount to corruption at the very core of the local union's purpose."

This case also exposes District Council Attorney Victor Van Bourg, who seems to make a habit of defending corrupt LIUNA leaders. Eggleston said, "Equally troubling to the Appellate Officer is the reciprocal fact that Attorney Van Bourg continued to advise Mr. Guinn even after being expressly informed by the IHO [International Hearing Officer] that his conflict of interest disqualified him from representing Mr. Guinn in this proceeding. Mr. Guinn's self-proclaimed lack of sophistication might lead one to conclude that his continued contact with Attorney Van Bourg resulted from an innocent misapprehension of the IHO's disqualification order, but the same lack of sophistication can hardly be thought to have affected Attorney Van Bourg himself."


On November 7, 1997, the General Executive Board Attorney filed charges against General President Arthur Coia. The charges accuse Arthur Coia of associating with Mafia members, permitting Mob members to influence union affairs, and accepting benefits from an unnamed vendor. A Federal grand jury in Boston is also weighing evidence against Coia. Some people close to the investigation believe more charges may be brought against Coia for running a smear campaign against Mob informant Ron Fino. It is alleged that Arthur Coia hired Anthony Traini for $$150,000 to dig up dirt on Fino.
Question: Did Coia use union money and did the General Executive Board approve it?


On November 18, 1997 Arthur Coia sent a letter to all local unions telling "I have been diagnose with prostrate cancer." However, Coia thinks his chances of beating the cancer are good and promised to fight on to retain his $250,000-a-year job.


After Connecticut District Council Business Manager Charles LeConche was heard on tape threatening a member of LIUNA, LeConche and his cronies have come up with a no-tape-recorder policy. Here is a quick look at Paranoid Charlie's policy: (1) Policy will be enforced by Sergeant-at-Arms, who will refrain from physically touching any individual entering the meeting room; (2) Before entering the meeting room, each member of the Executive Board and any guest will be requested to open any bag of brief case for inspection by the Sergeant-at-Arms. In addition each person entering the meeting room will be required to submit to a search consisting of emptying their pockets, removing jackets, and patting down any area as directed by the Sergeant-at-Arms, who is authorized to demand that any suspicious article be left outside. (3) Any person refusing to submit to the above procedures will not be allowed into the meeting groom and will be listed as unexcused and absent.

This is what wee call "Democracy"- a paranoid District Council Business Manager, who never sends out minutes of the meetings to the delegates, now wants to start searching delegates for wires.

We would like to recommend that the Inspector General's office issue a memo to all District Councils throughout the United states and Canada instructing them to send a copy of all District Council meeting minutes to all local unions prior to the next District Council meetings so the rank & file members can tell the delegates how they would like them to vote at the District Council meetings.

In the spirit of real Democracy and reform, the time has come for the LIUNA General Executive Board to stand up and change the Constitution an let the rank & file members elect the District Councils by a vote of the membership. District Councils have become too abusive of their powers and forgotten the membership they represent. District Councils have become a cash cow for the Business Managers and their relatives. Connecticut, California and New York are just three prime examples. Put the power back in the members' hands - give us the democratic right to elect and set the salaries of all LIUNA officials.

Report from San Jose, Local #270


Brothers & Sisters,
Our local union is under the supervision of the Laborers International Union. Out Business Manager has been convicted on several charges and removed from office. How come our Secretary Treasurer, Ray Duran, who was also convicted and is a paid officer of the Northern California District Council , has been left in office by the International Union? We have been told by former Business Agents that Ramon Duran has lost over a million dollars of the local's money in bad stock deals. He put his younger brother on as a Business Agent. He bought $50,000 Chevrolet Suburbans without union permission. Yet he was left in office by LIUNA 1st Vice-President Max Warren.
What is going on here? Brothers, is this reform? The International is coming in to our local and leaving people convicted of robbing us in office. It is not right and it is not reform. Why have the GEB Attorney and Inspector-General allowed this? Members of Local #270 must start attending meetings and being vocal - we must stop this corruption.


Chicago Local #225 Business Manager Mike Galiotto says his local is under attack because he is Italian. We believe selective prosecution istaking place in LIUNA.

In Niagra Falls, New York, about ten locals have stopped paying per capita tax to the District Council. The Business Manager of this District Council, Mike Quarcini, opposed Jack Wilkison for GEB Vice-President at the Las Vegas Convention and lost by three votes. So it looks like it's okay to screw Quarcini's District Council and not pay per capita.

Bruno Caruso, accused of being an associate of organized crime by the International Union, still awaits the outcome of a hearing. Is Bruno Caruso being prosecuted because he, too, opposed Arthur Coia at the Convention?

In California and Connecticut, members are beaten and forced to pay illegal assessments, while trust funds refuse to audit corrupt contractors. Lawyers violate direct orders from the I-G's office and nothing happens. Is it because these people aren't Italian or is it because some high- ranking LIUNA General Executive Board members have made deals with the Government to save their own skins? It's funny - if you supported Coia, you get away with anything. Isn't this selective prosecution?

(In Alaska, where the Alaska Laborers-Employers Pension Trusts swindled 8,000 workers who worked on the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline out of nearly $200,000,000 million dollars (that's right - millions!) in forfeited pension contributions, the law suits to recover this stolen money have dragged on for over a decade.

If the employers or the bankers who loaned themselves over $10,000,000 million dollars of illegal loans from the Alaska Laborers Pension Plan had Italian surnames do you think the federal government would have exempted them from the penalties?

Do you think that two United States Senators, Stevens and Murkowski, would have introduced an amendment to the 1984 tax bill to exempt 5 Alaskan pension plans from the minimal provisions of ERISA if the trustees and bankers parents were Sicilians. What these two Senators did is like saying the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to all States except Mississippi. And the federal government did nothing to stop it!)


The Agreement between LIUNA and the Justice Department has been extended for another year - big deal . The Justice Department is only kidding themselves, not the members of LIUNA, who can see it is "business as usual." It's sad, really. The U.S. Justice Department is shit on by a two-bit "Mob puppet" with big political connections.

We don't make up these stories - Union members send them to us. We get so many complaints about hiring halls and dispatch rules we can't keep us with them all.

We urge all members no to give up - when you file a complaint with the Inspector-General's office, send a copy to:
Hard Hat, the national magazine for construction workers, P.O. Box 40668, San Francisco, CA 94140;
The VOICE, Laborers for Justice & Democracy, 1601 Ocean Ave., #346, San Francisco, CA 94112;
The Association for Union Democracy, 500 State St., 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11217;
Labor Voice, a Laborers Local #230 rank-and-file newsletter, P.O. Box 845, Glastonbury, CT 06033.
Laborers for a Democratic Union, reform group, P.O. Box 72938, Fairbanks, Alaska 99707



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All original work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.