The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 14

July 1998

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

Local 270 "Supervisor" Threatens Carlos Lujan

Sal Lopez, a LIUNA Supervisor of Local 270 Threatened Carlos Lujan just before the June Local meeting.
Lopez grabbed Lujan by the arm and began telling him "you better watch what you say about Ray Duran", and then made some other bizarre innuendos. Carlos Lujan has been very critical of the so called "supervision" of 270 and the continuing corrupt practices at the Local, located in San Jose, CA.

270's leaders agreed to voluntary supervision by International Vice President Max Warren after Local Officer Ray Duran lost over $180,000 of the members money in bad stock deals that he had made without permission from the executive board or the membership. Duran then tried to clear himself by participating in the submission of false evidence to a GEB Hearings panel.

Found guilty of both charges, Duran's "punishment " was to be appointed Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the local! Duran is also a paid officer of the Northern California District Council of Laborers.

In contrast, Joe Guttierez, the former Business Manager, had not signed any of the checks for the expenditures that were not approved by the membership or the executive board. And he cooperated with the investigation.

Guttierez punishment was removal from office and being barred from running for three years.When he appealed and asked to be allowed to run for office in 1999, GEB Attorney Bob Luskin noted myriad abuses of office and strongly opposed his request. Luskin said "allowing Mr. Gutierrez to run for office would send a message to the membership that the disciplinary system has no teeth."

One LIUNA member commented: "by leaving Max Warren in charge of Local 270 and making Ray Duran the Business Manager they did the exact same August 1998 thing. Now everyone knows the 'clean-up' has no teeth"

Many LIUNA reformers in California can't believe what is going on, and are refusing to even file complaints with the GEB now for fear of retaliation against them. There can be no reform in LIUNA when half of the people named in the draft complaint are still calling the shots from Washington D.C.

Canadians Demand LIUNA CleanUp or Get Out

This letter was sent to All LIUNA Locals from the Canadian Building Trades Council:

"We believe you should be made aware of certain facts affecting your International union. At the last Canadian Building Trades Convention in Vancouver on June 3rd and 5th, 1998 a resolution was overwhelmingly adopted (only one vote against it) requesting the governing body of the Building Trades Department to expel the Labourers International Union of North America unless certain steps are taken by LIUNA to rectify a most ugly situation in Toronto and province of Ontario."

This document is signed by Mitch Griffith President of the Building Trades and Business Manager John Cartwright.

The Resolution of the Canadian Building Trades(?) calls on LIUNA to revoke "their sweetheart agreements that they have put in place with employer collusion to defeat the legitimate organizing efforts of the appropriate craft unions."

It looks like LIUNA has set up a scam union in Ontario that is trying to steal all the other trades work by signing low wage agreements.

If this is allowed to happen we will all be in a "race to the bottom," with everyone ending up at minimum wage! When Corrupt Labor Leaders get in bed with the Corporate bosses and Corrupt politicians it is time for drastic change in the Labor movement.

Luskin Orders "Back Door" Shut at Local 294

On May 5th,1998 the GEB Attorney Robert Luskin wrote a letter to Business manager Mike Muesing telling him "Local 294 routinely dispatches individuals who are not registered on the out of work list. This practices is entirely incompatible with the principles and requirements of the amended job referral rules.

This is what led to disciplinary procedures in the past against 294 officers. This kind of action undermines the Laborers goal of establishing open and democratic practices. Any repetition of this behavior will result in disciplinary action against the officers responsible and the imposition of a supervision over the local union.

We will tolerate no further abuses of the hiring hall. Under no circumstances is the local to refer for employment any applicant who has not registered his or her availability for referral on the out of work list."

This letter should be conspicuously posted in Local #294's the local unions hiring hall and must be read at the next General Meeting. This letter from the GEB attorney is the reason every member in California should give the reform process a chance to work. When you see honest union members like Joe Velasquez and Kevin Reese fighting for your rights, stand up and support them.

A Good Try at Local 230

Brother Steven Manos failed in his bid to unseat the incumbent Business Manager Charles La Conche in the Local 230 elections

The amazing thing about this election is that the La Conche, the Business Manager of the Connecticut District Council, could only muster up 220 votes in Local with 800 members.

Manos fought a good fight but was up against the Coia Machine.

Someday members in LIUNA might get the right to elect the District Councils and vote on contracts. Then corruption in LIUNA will begin to disappear.

LIUNA Members Key Role At NYC Street Action

On July 1,1998 40,000 angry construction workers took to the street to protest the use of a non-union contractor by New York City to build a $38 million subway center. 38 protesters were arrested. 18 cops and 3 protesters were hospitalized when the mounted police charged the workers. Mayor Giuliani (who the New York City Building Trades Unions supported for election) vowed the city will sue the unions for damages.

A New York times article said "it is not very surprising in retrospect that it was the Hod Carriers, floor sweepers and scaffold builders who were at the heart of the demonstration in Manhattan. "There were plenty of skilled tradesmen blocking streets... But the organizers, the ones who shoved and shouted the hardest were the laborers....

"Mike Hellstrom... said it was no coincidence that his union was at the vortex of the rally...Hellstrom and his colleagues have brought what they call a warrior mentality to the 7500 members of Local 79 making it one of the most visible unions in New York . Having grown sick of corruption that long plagued LIUNA and wary of deals with politicians, the new union leaders have created a arena on the street." (NY Times July 8, 1998)

One laborer who was at the rally told us: "It is good to see labor leaders who know what the score really is starting to emerge in LIUNA."

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All original work Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.