Local's Ex-Boss Won't Face Charges


Bethlehem-- National laborers union finds no reason for discipline on misuse of funds charge


By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer

June 24, 2004


A former local labor leader accused of misusing funds during a power struggle within one of the region's largest labor unions won't face charges from the national office, which investigated the case.


Ramsis Berghela, former president of Local 190 of the Laborers' Union, maintained his innocence against allegations by Business Manager Anthony Fresina in January. Berghela headed a slate of candidates opposed to Fresina and his allies in last month's union elections.


Laborers International Union of North America Inspector General W. Douglas Gow reviewed Fresina's claims that Berghela had misused a union credit card and member dues. Gow found the matter was "not appropriate for disciplinary charges" and closed the investigation.


Berghela and his slate, which lost the presidency and seven of 11 other leadership posts, claim the voting was riddled with fraud and have asked the national office to order a revote.


With its headquarters in Glenmont, Local 190 has about 1,300 members and is one of the largest labor unions in the Capital Region.


Gow's letter dated May 28 was issued a week after the elections, in which Fresina was narrowly re-elected business manager. "Fresina had made this election all about me. If that letter had come out 10 days earlier, we win the election," Berghela said.

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