Arnold Beichman's Feb. 2 commentary,
"And he keeps the Ferraris," is one of the most blatantly
anti-union propaganda pieces that has ever appeared in The Washington
Times. Given your paper's track record on organized labor and
its leadership, that's saying quite a lot.
Of course, most of the statements
Mr. Beichman makes are dead wrong. For example, the Boston federal
court case he refers to involving Arthur A. Coia was a matter
that resulted in no loss or detriment to the Laborers' International
Union of North America (LIUNA). While the case was certainly regrettable,
the matter in no way detracts from Coia's lifelong commitment
and contributions to the cause of working families.
Additionally, Coia chose to
retire from LIUNA after 42 years of service on Dec. 31 and was
not "forced out by the U.S. government investigators,"
as Mr. Beichman contends. Moreover, the "emeritus position"
is not something wholly created for Coia, as was implied. Not
only has LIUNA awarded the title to past retired officials, but
it is not uncommon throughout the labor movement to grant the
honor to deserving retired officials. The position provides Coia
only with the difference between his pension and his salary as
Coia worked tirelessly as a
committed, visionary and dynamic leader of the Laborers' Union.
His initiatives in organizing, training and education, health
and safety, political action and labor-management cooperation
have helped LIUNA to become one of the most democratic, influential
and diverse unions in North America.
Moreover, General President
Emeritus Coia led our union in developing our innovative and successful
internal reform programs, which have been credited by the U.S.
government as fair, effective and a model for others to follow.
Just recently, the U.S. Attorney's
Office in Boston praised Coia's leadership in this regard saying
he has been "supportive of the reform process from the beginning
and in specific cases," and has urged that Coia be given
credit "for his substantial assistance to the reform process."
Our union remains proud of
Coia's years of dedicated service to LIUNA. Without a doubt, the
record will show two things: First, that Coia has helped to create
a better life for hundreds of thousands of working men and women;
and second, that The Washington Times serves regularly as a highly
biased mouthpiece of the extreme antiunion movement.
Laborers' International Union of North America