IN THE MATTER OF
LOCAL UNION 230, (MANOS, JULIAN, AND OLIVEIRA)
DOCKET NO. 98-36P
This Order and Memorandum addresses the
Protests filed by Stephan Manos ("Manos"), John Oliveira
("Oliveira'), and Gene Julian ("Julian") concerning
the election of officers of Local Union 230 of the Laborers' International
Union of North America ("LIUNA") in Hartford, Connecticut
("Local 230") held on June 20, 1998.
Based upon interviews conducted by independent
Hearing Officer ("IHO") staff members by telephone and
on site in Hartford, pertinent documentary evidence, and further investigation by the IHO, the protests of
Manos and Julian are GRANTED. The protest of Oliveira is DENIED.
The election for Business Manager and for members of the Executive
Board will be rerun, including the nomination process which will
be open to all eligible members.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Manos served as Vice President of Local
230 from 1995 to 1998.
2. In April of 1997, Manos, while serving
as Vice-President, announced his candidacy for Business Manager
in the June 1998 election. On the same date, Julian, who was not
an office holder, announced his candidacy for a seat on the Executive
Board. Both individuals intended to run as a team. Oliveira announced
his candidacy for a seat on the Executive Board shortly thereafter.
3. Although Manos and Julian announced
their candidacy over one year prior to the election, they immediately
began to campaign actively. Their campaign activity triggered
responses by the incumbents well prior to the nomination and election.
4. Due to their effect on the election
outcome, I will consider in this protest certain acts which occurred
during the year prior to the nomination meeting. The evidence
shows the incumbent officers of Local 230 and Manos became entangled
in a bitter campaign of character attacks, charges and counter
charges which degenerated into a carnival like atmosphere, Other
members of Local 230 were swept into the maelstrom.
5. Paul Tigno ("Tigno"), Louis
Sanzo ("Sanzo"), and Horace Daley ("Daley")
were appointed Judges of Election ("Judges" ) by the
Executive Board on May 11, 1998. Tigno was appointed Chief Judge.
6. The nomination meeting for the Local
230 Election of Officers was held on May 18,1998.
7. On May 20, 1998, the candidates were
interviewed by the Judges as part of the candidate screening process.
At the screening, Manos and Charlie LeConche ("LeConche")*,
the incumbent Business Manager, filed protests with the Judges
regarding the qualifications of certain candidates discussed below.
8. On May 28, 1998 Manos and Oliveira filed
timely protests with the IHO pertaining to the nomination and
upcoming election of officers of Local 230. On May 30, 1998 Julian
filed a similar protest.
The correct spelling of "LeConche"
has been made throughout this document
Protest of Manos1
Incidents Arising From Articles Published
in the Local 230 Newsletters
9. Manos alleges LeConche used union funds
to support his campaign by publishing campaign literature in
the Local 230 newsletter,
10. LeConche is the author of the text
of the Local 230 newsletters, which are distributed to the entire
membership. The investigation indicates that approximately 200
members out of a membership of 800 members attend the regular
monthly union meetings. Thus, the newsletters are a major source
of information of the internal activities of Local 230 to the
majority of members in Local 230.
11. In the February 1998 newsletter, an
article was published under the title "Hearing Scheduled
in Steward Firing." The article reported that, Antonio Osman
("Osman") had filed trial board charges against Julian
for having him fired for refusing to wear a Manos/Julian campaign
12. Osman was a steward for Capital Concrete,
where Julian was the foreman. Julian fired Osman, Osman then filed
trial board charges against Julian, alleging that he was fired
for refusing to wear Julian's campaign button. The IHO heard the
trial board charges by special designation of the General President
pursuant to Article XTI, Sec. 3 of the Uniform Local Union Constitution
13. In an interview with IHO staff, LeConche
acknowledged the contractor terminated Osman for insubordination
and not for the reasons published in the newsletter.
14. Julian was acquitted of the charges
by the IHO on April 10, 1998. Despite being given ample opportunity
to do so, LeConche offered no evidence that he in any way published
Julian filed protests similar to Manos.
the results of the trial board that indicated
his original report was directly affected by decision of the IHO.
15. Although union newsletters are not
held to the same journalistic standards of fair reporting as commercial
news publications, under the facts of this matter and under the
Ethical Practices Code "EPC"), LeConche owed it to the
membership, and to Julian, to publish the results of the trial
board before the election since he had originally published the
notice of hearing, including statements about Julian's conduct.
This event, when considered with the other campaign activities
of LeConche indicates he had a campaign motive in publishing the
16. In April 1997, LeConche organized
a picket line at site of an employer, Capitol Concrete, to protest
the contractor's removal of Manny Lambert ("Lambert")
as steward. LeConche's nephew video recorded the events occurring
during the picketing.
17. The record reflects that Local 230
filed a grievance regarding the firing of Lambert, an appropriate
action under Local 230's collective bargaining agreement with
Capital Concrete. Nonetheless, LeConche set up an informational
picket line. LeConche does not dispute it was an informational
18. At least fifteen Local 230 members
crossed the picket line to work, including Manos and Julian.
19. In June 1997, LeConche requested the
video of Manos and Julian crossing the informational picket line
be shown to the general membership. The Executive Board approved
the request and the video was shown. At the meeting, members cursed
and booed Manos and Julian and walked out in protest.
20. LeConche then published an article
in the Local 230 newsletter in July 1997 which described the events
of the meeting including the derogatory terms used to describe
Manos and Julian. The showing of the video
and describing the incident in the union newsletter was done for
political purposes. Fifteen members, including Daley, crossed
the picket line in plain view of the camera. The other picket
crossers were not mentioned in the newsletter. Daley was later
appointed a Judge of Election for the June 1998 election,
21. Informational picketing is a protected
activity designed to inform the public of a particular dispute
but does not request workers to refrain from working. By contrast,
a picket line enforcing a valid strike is a concerted stoppage
of work and a union member may be disciplined by the union for
working at the sitc. Bruce Feldacker, Labor Guide to Labor Law
335-336 (1990). LaConeche described the picket line set up at
Capitol Concrete in the following manner follow, "An informational
picket line is nothing else but information, asking no one to
honor anything or to do anything but realize that there is a problem
on the job and that the sign is strictly as information."
In this particular situation, a member could cross the informational
picket line without fear of discipline by the union.
22. Without addressing whether LeConche's
decision to set up the picket line was proper in the context of
a labor management relationship, under the circumstances of this
matter, Local 230 may not discredit members for crossing this
informational picket line. Moreover, the use of the video of the
picket line and the reports in the newsletter had an overriding
23. In part, Local 230 justifies the publication
of the articles in question by stating the incumbents were merely
defending themselves against the accusations leveled against them
by Manos in his private newsletter and in person. Manos's private
newsletter was often vitriolic and accusatory, however, it was
a private newsletter paid for by Manos with his own funds. Local
230 is not prohibited from responding in its newsletter to allegations
regarding official actions of
its officers, Local 230, however, cannot
use the union newsletter to attack political opponents for purely
political purposes. Title 29 U.S.C. § 481 (g) prohibits union
funds from being used to promote the candidacy of an incumbent
or in opposition to an opposing candidate. The prohibition includes
union publications. Usry v. International Organization of Master,
Mates and Pilots, 538 F. 2d 946 (2nd Cir, 1976) (Newsletter paid
for by union and distributed during campaign which was laudatory
of incumbent and critical of opponent constituted prohibited campaign
literature under Section 48 1); McLaughlin v. American Federation
of Musicians, 700 F.Supp. 726 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (Improper for incumbent
officers to use "entrenched positions of leadership"
through vehicles of local union newspapers to promote their choice
for union office.) The articles in the Local 230 newsletter discussed
above were not meant to rebut any allegations. The articles and
the video of the picket line were clearly used in part as a vehicle
attack to the political opponents of LeConche and his slate. Even
if the article had been meant as a rebuttal, the use of union
money to distribute documents to "correct" prior remarks
is improper where it serves mainly to highlight one candidate's
remarks with the intent of hindering another's candidacy. Brock
Metropolitan District Council of Carpenters , 653 F.Supp. 289,
290 (E.D. Pa. 1986)
Bias on Behalf of the Judges of Election
24. Manos alleges the Judges fostered personal
animus towards him and members of his slate,
25. In November 1997, Tigno distributed
fliers at a membership meeting. The fliers consisted of a photocopy
of the return address portion of one of Manos's newsletters, including
Manos's phone number. Next to the address was written, "Call
at midnight to express yourself." The purpose of the flier
was clear; to incite members to harass Manos in the middle of
Tigno was appointed a Judge of the June 1998
election. Manos alleges this event indicates Tigno was biased
against him and should not have served as a Judge Of Election.
In interviews with IHO staff members, Tigno stated that the incident
occurred long before the election, and although he was opposed
to Manos, once be "put on his judge's hat," he became
neutral. This statement is refuted by Tigno's subsequent actions
26. Manos alleges the Election Report regarding
candidate qualifications filed by the Judges following the nomination
meeting unfairly prejudiced his candidacy.
27. On March 2, 1998, the Executive Board of Local 230 filed formal allegations with the LIUNA GEB Attorney Robert Luskin ("Luskin") against Manos for allegedly engaging in barred conduct arising out of Manos's association with a person the Executive Board claimed to be an organized crime figure,
28. On March 9, 1998, Luskin informed Local
230 by letter that the allegations against Manos would not be
pursued by the GEB Attorney.
29. At the candidate qualification screening
LeConche submitted a protest letter to the Judges in an effort
to disqualify Manos on the basis of the alleged conduct.
30. In reviewing the protest by LeConche,
the Judges found no validity to the claim. In their Election Report,
which the Judges read to the membership, they made no reference
to such finding. instead, the report stated, ".. the Executive
Board by letter of March 2, 1998 considers Stephan Manos to be
a barred individual ... ." The report made no mention of
Luskin's letter of March 9, 1998 in which Luskin declined to pursue
the allegations. Tigno was the drafter of the report.
31. The Judges had no basis for making
such a statement in their report. The clear purpose of the report
was to give the incorrect appearance Manos was under investigation
for barred conduct, The incident described above in paragraph
25 and the election report are proof that Tigno was biased toward
Manos and violated his duty of being an impartial judge.
32. I further find that the election report
was improper and was intended to mislead the membership.
33. Manos alleges John Pezzenti and Leonard
Granell, Jr. illegally campaigned at job sites. This claim is
not supported by the evidence.
34. Manos alleges LeConche and other incumbents
had special access to membership information including unlisted
phone numbers, not provided to Manos or Julian. This claim is
not supported by the evidence.
35. Manos alleges the officers of Local
230 denied him the opportunity to speak at membership meetings
by staging walkouts whenever he approached the podium,
36. This allegation is beyond the scope of an election protest. The Executive Board of Local 230 should be aware any such behavior is prohibited by the EPC. It is essential, that in a democratic union, all voices, including those of an unpopular minority, have a right to speak out.
37. Manos alleges Wayne Silva, who ran
successfully for a seat on the Executive Board, is a de-facto
contractor and hence not permitted to hold office within LIUNA
because he is a member of management.
38. The Judges attempted to conduct an
investigation into this allegation, but time constraints and limited
resources prevented a full examination of the matter, Because
ordering a rerun of the election for seats
on the Executive Board, I am requesting a discreet but thorough
investigation of this allegation by the Inspector General, prior
to the rerun election. The IG is requested to report his investigation
to the IHO.
Protest of Oliveira
39. Oliveira protests his disqualification
for running for the position of Executive Board.
40. The Judges disqualified Oliveira pursuant to Article V, Section 4 of the Constitution, for failing to work at the calling for one full year prior to the nomination meeting.
41. Oliveira concedes that between the
months of November 1997 and April 1998, he was unemployed. During
that time he did not sign the out of work list, but instead took
a two week vacation, and did home repairs. Oliveira insists he
did not need to sign the out of work list because he was told
by his employer, Costello Industries, he would be rehired in the
42. Oliveira supplied the IHO with letter
from Costello Industries Superintendent Michael Nastri, which
stated his intention to rehire Oliveira in the spring.
43. A candidate for office has an obligation
under Article V, Section 4 (d) to continually seek work for the
entire year preceding the nomination meeting. Article V, Section
part working at the calling includes:
Periods of unemployment where the member was available for and continuously and actively sought employment at the calling which shall be understood to require full compliance with the lawful rules of the referral service or hiring hall, if any, operated by the Local union.
44. Evidence of good faith effort to seek
employment includes signing one's name on he out of work list
at the Local union hall. Oliveria did not do so, instead choosing
to wait until the following season to regain his employment at
Costello Industries. Despite seasonal layoffs, a member seeking
office within LIUNA must actively and continuously seek employment
to qualify for office, See In the Matter
of Local 602, IHO Order and Memorandum, 95-29P (January 18,1996).
Oliveria's decision to maintain only seasonal employment does
not qualify him for office. His candidacy was properly denied
by the Judges.
1. There is a preponderance of the evidence
that LeConche used union funds and personnel in furtherance of
his campaign of using Local 230 newsletters to attack his political
opponents in the instances described above.
2. LeConche used union funds and personnel
to attack his opponents when he showed the video of Manos and
Julian crossing the informational picket line. Under these circumstances,
a member cannot be discredited for crossing the informational
3. The Election Report filed by the Judges
contained false information about Manos, a candidate for election.
4. There is a preponderance of the evidence
to indicate Tigno was not an impartial Judge of Election.
5. There is insufficient evidence upon
which to make a determination of whether Silva is a defacto contractor.
A discreet investigation of Silva's qualifications will be undertaken
prior to the upcoming re-run election by the Inspector General.
6. Oliveira was not working at the calling,
and was properly disqualified from running for office.
7. Both Manos and LeConche both performed
numerous acts that were unbecoming LIUNA union officers. Under
the guise of answering Manos's allegations, LeConche utilized
union funds to attack his political opponents. LeConche's activities
drew into the maelstrom
other members, including the Judges of Election,
The entire campaign degenerated in a bitter contest of name-calling.
8. In the rerun election, the Ethical Practices Act will apply to the activities of all candidates and their supporters. The day is gone from the labor movement when he who shouts loudest or he calls the other the most vile names will win. If the activities similar to those which occurred in the 1998 campaign occur again, it will be evidence for the Inspector General to consider that democratic procedures have broken down in Local 230 and a trusteeship may be, necessary.
I am informed that since the 1998 election
Manos has retired from active LIUNA work and is no longer working
at the calling. Because Manos was the only other candidate for
Business Manager, Manos's retirement calls into question the necessity
of rerunning the election for Business Manager. In LIUNA any member,
including a non-candidate or a retired member, is entitled to
protest an election. The object of this process is to insure a
free and fair election, without regard to the position of the
protestor. It would defeat the spirit of the protest if the determination
of whether election violations occurred depended upon whether
the protestor ran again. It would reward the candidate who possessed
substantial resources to outlast a protestor who had few resources.
The circumstances in this matter are distinguishable from situations
where a member was improperly disqualified from running for nomination
by an honest mistake of the Judges, but after the election, ceases
to be eligible to run again. In that circumstance, without any
additional allegations of improprieties, the election would not
be rerun. See In the Matter of Local 527/527A, IHO Order and Memorandum
Regarding Reconsideration, 97-28P (February 2, 1999). Here there
were campaign improprieties which must be addressed. The
local union membership is guaranteed to have
a free and fair election. Those who commit election violations
will not benefit from their defeated opponent dropping out. Any
eligible member may run in the rerun election.
1. For the reasons set forth above, the
election protests of Manos and Julian are GRANTED. The protest
of Oliveira is DENIED
2. The election for the Business Manager
and members of the Executive Board will be rerun including a new
nomination process open to all members in good standing,
3. An investigation by the Inspector General
will be conducted into Silva's qualifications to run for Executive
Board member prior to the rerun election. The Inspector General
will report his findings to me. A supplemental decision regarding
Silva will be issued before the rerun election,
4. The Judges of Election who served in
the 1998 election are ineligible to serve in the rerun election.
5. A copy of this decision shall be mailed
to all Local 230 members in good standing.
6. The date for the rerun election should
be announced by March 15, 1999
7. The international union is requested
to assign an official or lawyer with election experience to oversee
the rerun election.
s/Peter F. Vaira
PETER F. VAIRA
INDEPENDENT HEARING OFFICER
Date: February 10, 1999
Local Union 230
Michael Bearse, Esquire
Douglas Gow, Inspector General