Staff writer

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 said.

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, he said.

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.

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