BY CAILIN BROWN
November 5, 1993
The parent union of Laborers' Local 452 has
revoked the Troy local's charter 54 years after its founding.
The executive board of the Washington-based
Laborers' International Union of North America voted to dissolve
the Troy local in the wake of an audit in September that uncovered
misuse of union funds and the loss of about $570,000. Frank Archina,
the local's business agent at the time, faces federal charges
of stealing or misappropriating much of the money. He disappeared
after the audit and remains a fugitive.
Letters notifying the local's 400 members
of the revocation, which is effective immediately, were expected
to be mailed Thursday.
The executive board encouraged members to
transfer their memberships to other Laborers' locals. They could
join Local 190 in Albany or Local 157 in Schenectady.
Sam Fresina, business agent of Local 190,
said, "The pension fund will continue to operate as is."
However, as far as new contributions are concerned, "everything
stops today," said Fresina, who has served as a temporary
trustee overseeing Local 452 for the last two months.
Any contributions to the pension fund collected
beginning today will follow the members wherever they go, Fresina
If someone chooses to transfer to Local 190,
Fresina said, the Albany local will start collecting the member's
benefits. Those benefits currently in the pension fund are protected,
In addition, Fresina said, if a member of
Local 452 has five years with that union, he can apply those years
to his membership at Local 190, and once he has another five years,
for a total of 10 years, that person will be vested, he said.
Fresina's 1,100-member union currently has
an employment rate of about 90 percent. Recently, about 75 percent
of the Troy local have been out of work.
Members who choose to transfer to Local 190
will be placed on a work list, and Fresina said he will try to
get them on the job.
"I believe out of bad that some good
will come" in jobs for the Troy laborers, Fresina said. "It's
a sad day for labor that this had to happen."
The Troy union hall on Sixth Avenue is expected
to close down immediately. The union owes the hall's building
association $18,000, Fresina said. The building has three owners,
including Local 452.
"We'll pay what we can pay and then
the lawyers will take over at that point and litigation will be
forthcoming," Fresina said. "The money just isn't there.
It's sad to say, but the money is just run out."
Fresina was appointed trustee of Local 452
after the Laborers' union found that the local's leadership had
misused funds. Archina allegedly used union money to take trips
to warmer climes and to rent a new Cadillac. He is also accused
of writing checks to family members without proper authorization.
A statement released from the union's headquarters
Thursday said: "The general executive board found that the
conduct of Local Union 452 was far beyond that which can be tolerated
from an affiliated union. The extent of the debts incurred by
the local union forecloses the possibility of merger with any
other affiliate, which might otherwise be a desirable course."
Fresina said this is not the first time a
local has had its charter revoked. "Most times it's beause
the area just couldn't sustain themselves" because of an
influx of non union work, Fresina said.
In addition to blaming Archina for the union's
problems, Fresina also said, "I believe that the officers
have to share the blame. One man couldn't do it himself. But I
think he was the architect."
The Laborers' union was founded in 1903 and
represents more than 650,000 men and women in 650 locals in the
United States and Canada. Its workers perform a variety of jobs,
including construction, hazardous waste remediation, health care,
mail handling, and clerical, custodial and maintenance work.
The FBI, which issued a warrant for Archina's arrest, is continuing to follow leads, but had nothing new to report Thursday, according to Michael O'Brien, special agent in Albany.