The Voice of the Rank and File

March, 1998

Published by

Laborers for Justice & Democracy

1601 Ocean Avenue, #346

San Francisco, CA 94112

Pro and Con Proposition 226

To all members of LIUNA,

We have received a ton of letters on California's Proposition 226, the so-called "Gag-the-Worker Initiative."

I urge you to vote NO on 226. This proposition would remove you, the member, from the political process.

In California the eight-hour day is gone for non-union workers. Prevailing wages will be the next to go for everybody.

Remember: union members are a minority in California, 16% of the work force is union. Have you noticed nobody wants to take away Big Business's rights? Just the little guy's.


by Alex Corns

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I support Proposition 226 for the following reasons:

It assures the union members of California that their union leaders must have rank-and-file approval before giving money to a political candidate.

This is democracy. This is American

I was going to vote "no" until my union showed a video of Arthur Coia opposing it. I am inclined to support anything that "mob puppet" is against.

Why should we have our dues money used by this cockroach to buy and peddle influence, insulate himself from the law and squashed indictments?

If you are a union member who really believes in democracy, how can you deny the members the right to choose how their union dues are spent?

by a concerned LIUNA member

From Laborer Voice

In 1990, investigators looking through the rubble of the looted Heritage Loan & Investment Company found a mysterious bankbook in the vault. That bankbook recorded the fact that a secretive customer, the North American Laborers' Defense League, kept $420,000 in a savings account at the Providence, Rhode Island, bank owned by convicted embezzler Joe Mollicone.

This was no ordinary account. It paid no interest, a fact that helped conceal the League's financial affairs from the government. And the name on the account contained a name well known to LIUNA members - Arthur Coia.

This defense fund was formed in 1980 to defend union officers in the New England area. It is alleged that in Connecticut, members were asked to donate $25 a head. Boston Laborers allege their donations were $100 a member.

In 1986, the President's Commission on Organized Crime criticized the Laborers Union's extraordinary expenditures. Who received the money from the league is still a mystery - and where the money is.

As we went to press, Charles LeConche, the Business Manager of the Connecticut District Council, was going to sue Steve Manos, editor of the Laborer Voice. LeConche, who took over for mob-associate Dominic Lopreato, wrote a letter to Inspector-General Gow and asked that Steve Manos be charged with "barred conduct" for talking to Brother Gary Wall, another member of Manos's Local.

The Inspector-General's office refused to investigate the charge. Brother Wall has taken legal action against Charles LeConche and his crew.

Several years ago, Wall was accused of putting a good ass-kicking on LeConche in a gas station after LeConche tried to intimidate him.

Now, LeConche is suing his only oppostion in the Local, Steve Manos.

This is how REFORM & DEMOCRACY work in LIUNA - if you speak up or run for office, you should be prepared to go to war with your District Council and the International Union (and all their lawyers) just because you choose to exercise your rights as a LIUNA member.

Another LIUNA Scandal

Jonathan Googel, one of the partners and principal architects of the Colonial Realty empire, is cast as the Government's star witness in the wire and mail fraud case against Colonial Realty.

Googel testified that Connecticut Laborers Union leader Dominick Lopreato was receiving bribes for greasing the skids in a scam to lure the investment of pension funds by the Laborers International Union. Lopreato is now serving a 51-month sentence in Pennsylvania for taking $350,000 in bribes from Colonial principals to steer $5 million in union investments into the failing development company.

The Albany, New York, Laborers Local invested an additional $3 million. Lopreato's sentence included a $250,000 fine.

No Reform or Democracy in San Jose Local #270 Trusteeship with Warren in Charge

Dear Laborers for Justice and Democracy,

I am a Hod Carrier in San Jose. International Vice-President Max Warren has left two people convicted by the Independent Hearing Officer in office - Ray Duran and George Ramirez.

The charges were pretty serious. Business Manager Ray Duran lost $180,000 playing the stock market with union members' money and no permission from the Local Executive Board.

He also used the union credit card at Disneyland while on vacation, and said he was on union business.

But Max Warren has left him in. The guy Max Warren put in charge of our Local, Ken Casarez, is a real dictator. He rules this one brother out of order every meeting when this member tries to speak.

He also has people taking pictures of the members in the meetings.

This Brother they will not let speak is getting to them. He has been pushing them to open the hiring hall to the members.

Now they have agreed to open the hiring hall some time in April.

The other over-sight guy, Sal Lopez, needs watching, too. He is with Duran and people say he has accepted donations from the Local for his wife's charity. I wasn't there, but another Hod Carrier told me Lopez went nuts when asked about the donation.

Would it be possible for #270 to get a government monitor? It doesn't look like Reform or Democracy with Max Warren and Ken Casarez, Sal Lopez and Ray Duran. We pay $27-a-month dues and we don't have one officer honest enough to be a dispatcher - we had to hire a woman from the outside.

This Local has been under trusteeship or supervision at least three times under Max Warren and we still have a criminal element running the show.

How can the Inspector-General allow a guy like Max Warren, who has failed three times, take over again and leave the same convicted officers in charge?

Laborers National Pension Fund

A federal judge in Dallas has ruled that the Laborers International Pension Fund, which covers about 15,000 retirees and beneficiaries and 16,000 active workers, is entitled to more than $7 million in damages for improper investments in derivative securities.

The ruling may be the first such recovery by a Taft-Hartley multi-employer pension plan.

The judge ruled that the investment manager breached ERISA's "prudent man" standard of fiduciary conduct by investing $11 million in plan assets in a class of securities known as interest-only strips, or "IOs." The investment - which the court described as new, exotic, and more risky than junk bonds - triggered losses of some $7 million.

The defendants in the case were ANB Investment Management and Trust Company and the First National Bank of Chicago.

What great Laborers Union Leaders were Trustees on this fund?

Could somebody have steered any money their way, like in Lopreato's case?



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All original work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.