The Voice of the Rank & File

Number 8

August 1997

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

Union Asbestos Workers Abused on City Hall Job

by Alex Corns

I was at the City Hall project in San Francisco, talking to my Local members when approached by several members of Laborers Local 67 with questions about their fringe benefits. They informed me that their employer, CST Environmental Inc., had stopped paying their fringe benefits months before.

I told these workers they should notify Local 67 and the District Council if they were not getting their fringe benefits, but I would talk to the compliance officer on the ( this being a Prevailing Wage job ).

I soon learned that the Laborers District Council signed a one job agreement with CST Environmental, and was told the "proper people had been notified of the workers problems," but got no explanation as to why these workers health benefits were not being paid.

Think about it: These workers are removing asbestos and lead, two of the most dangerous materials around. Exposure to asbestos has caused severe injury and /or killed thousands of workers in America already. Exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis and other types of lung damage as well as several deadly forms of cancer, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

And the Laborers District Council is letting these union member work with this substance without any health coverage?

And how much are these workers getting paid to work with this deadly stuff? The check stub below is from one of the CST Environmental workers; he is getting $10.00 per hour to remove asbestos, and paying $53.60 a month in dues to a union that will not even collect his fringe benefits for him!! His gross pay is $453.60. His Statutory Deductions are: Federal Income Tax - $18.00, Social Security Tax - $28.00, Medicare Tax-$6.58, CA State Income Tax-$0.08, CA SUI/SDI, plus his dues of $53.60 for a Net Pay of $344.09.

OK, that is one side of he coin, now look at the other:

Archie Thomas is the Business Manager of the Northern California District Council of Laborers and sits on the Executive Board of Local 67. Archie Thomas's yearly salary is $185,393.00

Mr. Thomas has twopensions, a generous health and welfare plan and a Cadillac paid for by the members of our union. Mr. Thomas's family has also done very well working for the union, with steady employment, health and welfare plans and great pension plans.

When are the workers in LIUNA going to get treated like the corporate bosses of LIUNA?

Questions about Fresno Elections

Dear Brother
I am a member of Local 294 [ in Fresno, California ]. I noticed in the last Laborers Magazine that Robert Luskin wrote something about Larry Guinn, the Secretary-Treasurer of my Local, that was a big surprise to me:
"the Independent Hearing Officer found Mr. Guinn liable for numerous instances of hiring hall violations and for violating the Democratic Practices provisions of the LIUNA Ethical Practices Code"

Luskin also says: "Guinn was fined $2000 and barred from holding any LIUNA elected office for the term beginning in June , 1996, and from administering the Local 294 hiring hall. An election was order to fill Guinn's position as Secretary-Treasurer."

Could you explain to me how Guinn was just allowed to run for and is now elected as Sec-Treasurer of Local 294-the same position he was just taken out of, according to Robert Luskin??

I'm just a Laborer with 16 years service, and I'm certainly confused by this type of clean-up in our Local.

The magazine says he cannot run, but we just had an election that he won!
Sincerely Yours,
A member of Local 294

Connecticut Laborer Assaulted For Newsletter

by JT Local 230

Steve Manos, the Vice President of Local 230 in Hartford, Connecticut has been publishing and distributing a rank and file news letter, exposing some of the problems in his local. At a recent E-board meeting, held in a local restaurant, Charles LeConche, business manager of 230, attacked Manos for handing out his "Laborers for Justice." When LeConche approached Manos (51 years old ) in a threatening fashion, Manos rose from his chair to defend himself and was immediately "blind-sided" by the 230 Sergeant-at-Arms, who body slammed him to the floor.

LIUNA International VP Verne Hayes happened to be attending the meeting; so what did he do while Steve Manos was being worked over for exercising his democratic right to free speech, supposedly protected by the newly " reformed " leadership of LIUNA? He stood by and did nothing.

Meanwhile GEB Attorney Robert Luskin has giver the leaders of Local Union 230 permission to use the members money to defend convicted mobster Dominic Lopreato against a lawsuit filed by ex 230 members Gary Wall and William Cooksey. So Lopreato, who is in federal prison, convicted of numerous felonies and who robbed the members of Local 230 for years, will now have his defense paid for by the same members he robbed!!

Could it be Luskin is afraid that Lopreato has evidence against certain union officials and he might make a deal and testify against some of the top dogs at LIUNA if his defense isn't paid for by the union?

( If you would like a copy of Steve Manos' "Laborers for Justice"newsletter, write to PO BOX 845, Glastonbury, CT 06033 )

GEB Attorney Files Complaint Against Chicago District Council

by Voice Staff

GEB Attorney Robert Luskin is seeking to put the Chicago District Council under trusteeship in order to rid it of corruption and restore democratic procedures.

The complaint alleges: "Evidence of organized crime influence over the Chicago District Council includes.....Leadership of the Chicago DC by mob members.......a patterns of unauthorized dual salaries-payments to Chicago District Council officials with ties to the mob. The appointment of mob positions of authority over the affiliated Trust Funds......Threats of violence and use of bribes, failure of the democratic process....for at least 25 years.....Democratic elections are circumvented..."

We, at Laborers for Justice and Democracy wonder why the leaders of LIUNA Have waited so long to go after the Chicago District Council?

Several members of the General Executive Board, including Arthur Coia, Max Warren, Bud Vinall, have been in charge for more than 25 years. Why haven't they done anything about this problem before? Hell, Terrance Healy was the assistant regional manager of Chicago. For 25 years nobody knew anything was wrong?

Now look at the Northern California: Although none of the District Council leaders are of Italian decent, they do have dual salaries and excessive salaries, they do appoint relatives to high paying positions, and they do follow undemocratic practices.

Rank and file members do not elect these corporate union bosses, members have no control over their salaries nor can members vote on union contracts. Why has Coia not filed charges against them? If we are going to have Justice and democracy lets enforce it equally in California and Chicago.

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