The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 30

July 1999

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

Illegal San Jose Trusteeship Continues

After two long years of a trusteeship run by Laborers International Union First Vice President Mason M. Warren, San Jose Local 270 is still in a shambles. Back in October 1997, Independent Hearing Officer Peter Vaira struck a deal with LIUNA Vice-President Mason Warren to leave Secretary-Treasurer Ramon Duran in office.

Duran is the guy the GEB Attorney's office says, "authorized expenditures without approval of the membership" and participated in the "submission of false evidence to a GEB hearing panel." Mason Warren not only left Duran in office - he promoted him to Business Manager! Duran also remained Sergeant-at-Arms at the Northern California District Council of Laborers. Duran was paid $16,071 a year plus $92,251 as Local 270 Business Manager.

Ken Casarez (a long-time yes-man for Mason Warren) was put in charge of the day-to-day operation of the local. They also recruited Sal Lopez (allegedly a retired union painter) to help Casarez watch over the local. It was not long until Lopez' wife received a contribution to her favorite charity from Ramon Duran and the 270 E-Board.

This set off a series of protests led by long-time reformer Carlos Lujan. The goal was to restore democracy in Local 270. When Lujan asked questions about expenditures and hiring hall procedures at meetings, he was ruled out of order by Warren's puppet, Ken Casarez.

The reformers set up informational pickets at several Labor functions to protest the lack of democracy in 270 and began a letter-writing campaign to Inspector General W. Douglas Gow and GEB Attorney Robert Luskin.

After two years of letters and frustration, the GEB Attorney's office finally removed Ramon Duran and Mason Warren and Ken Casarez as Supervisors, but replaced them with another one of Warren's puppets - retired member Paul Radford.

Radford is the ex-Business Manager of Local 185 in Sacramento and ex-Secretary Treasurer of Mason's Northern California District Council. Radford's son is the current Sacramento Business Manager and paid auditor of the Council.

At the very first meeting, after being introduced to the Local, Radford said "If you give me any crap, we will not have union meetings - I will suspend them." Radford practices nepotism and cronyism, and the word "democracy" does not exist in his vocabulary.

The reformers believe Radford will leave Warren's friends on the payroll of Local 270.

Carlos Lujan wants to know why Mason Warren was ever allowed to supervise the trusteeship by Peter Vaira. Warren used the 270 trusteeship to steer money to his favorite politicians and political causes through Ramon Duran.

Frank Romero (a long-time Warren aide from Phoenix) was put on the payroll as a business agent and on the executive board by Duran and remains there today. Sources close to the executive board told Lujan that Terfari Gerbe from the Young Democrats in Sacramento was hired as an organizer and given a union car even although he had no California drivers license.

Gilbert Duran was put on the payroll as a business agent.

More disturbing is the fact that the Department of Labor has done nothing to correct these problems.

In December 1998 Lujan wrote for a copy of an LM-15 report. The report could not be found even though federal law requires it be filed within 30 days of imposing a trusteeship. One finally turned up, signed and dated March 11, 1998.

The DOL did not receive the LM-15 till December 1999 when Lujan started asking questions.

Lujan says this is an illegal trusteeship in violation of several sections of the Labor Management Reporting and

Disclosure Act and that the people responsible for it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. As we go to press we learn Brother George Ramirez had finally been removed.

Feds Raid NYC Construction Unions - Again New York Daily News, June 17,1999

A team of more than 300 police and State investigators probing construction industry corruption raided more than two dozen sites in three states yesterday, hauling away hundreds of boxes of records, officials said. Among the locations raided were three of the city's most powerful construction unions and the offices of a building contractor in New Jersey, allegedly tied to the mob. Investigators also hit locations in Connecticut.

The raids were launched by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who is probing widespread alleged employer payoffs to union officials, often with organized crime involvement. law enforcement sources said.

Police in blue windbreakers arrived early Wednesday morning at Carpenters Local 608, the largest carpenters union in the city. Union official Maurice McGrath had no comment as police stacked boxes of seized documents from the Bronx office of 608. Also raided were Carpenters Union offices in Linden, New Jersey. Investigators raided the offices of S & S Contracting, a firm owned by Sara Riggi, daughter of John Riggi, the reputed head of the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family.

The New York Daily News reported in February that Local 608 officials allegedly ignored the use of dozens of non-union workers by S & S Contracting at a multimillion-dollar renovation project at the Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue.

Sara Riggi declined comment to the Daily News.

Investigators also went to the offices of the Bricklayers Union in Queens and Laborers Local 79 on West 18th Street. "They are welcome to whatever they want. We are cooperating and we have nothing to hide here," said Richard Weiss, a spokesman for the Laborers Union. Bricklayers Union officials could not be reached for comment.

How Can Labor Free Itself?

What will it take to cut the powerful tentacles of Organized Crime to Organized Labor in America? Rank-and-file union members blame most corruption on the powerful International Unions based in Washington D.C. The International Unions have an alliance with corrupt politicians who are able to quash charges against the top union officials in exchange for political favors and contributions.

As one honest retired FBI Agent, Jim Moody, put at the Hearings before the House Subcommittee on Crime July 24 and 25, 1996, "Once they take over the labor union, first they have the entree into the political community because, No.1, they have the money to contribute to political campaigns, No.2, they can provide the workers to work in the campaign, and No.3, they can guarantee votes.

And when you start talking about the ability to guarantee votes and swing a lot of votes to a particular individual, they're a very sought-after commodity."

One example Mr. Moody spoke of was a MOB Captain from the Gambino Crime Family on trial in New York City. There to testify on his behalf were a sitting Mayor, a former Mayor, a sitting Governor and a former Governor. To me that is a bit frightening...

What is basically happening is: Your per capita tax and union dues are being used to fund a war against your basic rights to vote on your contracts and elect your union officials.

This crime is being supported by the Corporate Lawyers who represent our International Unions and is backed by the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor, whose track record for sending corrupt union officials to jail is not impressive.

Just look at the way Mob Puppet Arthur Coia and First Vice President of LIUNA Mason Warren and their friends have been treated under a so-called clean-up agreement with the Government: Some Union Officials were removed from one local only to surface in others at high-paid positions.

What union officials have been indicted or sent to jail under the LIUNA oversight by the United States Government? NONE!

From the Little Crooks in California to the Big Crooks in Washington, it appears to be Business As Usual

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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