May 20, 1999

Norma Rae to Scoop: #$%@ OFF"


When organized labor says it's getting a raw deal,
Scoop wants to know the details. So
when a group of
rugged-looking men picketed outside the offices of one
of the Advocate's Constitution Plaza neighbors last
Monday, Scoop darted
across the street to find out
why. But the boys weren't talking.

'I've got no comment for the Advocate, said one,
whom a colleague identified as Frank but who refused
to give his  name. "Not for that paper."

Asked why he didn't want to be our friend, Frank
replied, "Ask Steve Manos."

It turns out the men belong to Connecticut
Laborers Local 230, the local branch of the Laborers
International Union Of North America, or LIUNA.
LIUNA has been the target of a
federal probe,
Congressional hearings and lawsuits alleging its
national leadership tampers with union elections and
gets too close to the mob,

Manos is a plaintiff in a racketeering lawsuit. Against
the Connecticut Laborers, of which he was once vice
president and a candidate for business manager, He
has been quoted in a handful of Advocate stories. He
was not quoted in the Advocate's most recent story
about the union, however, which told of Gov. John
Rowland's appearance at a laborers function. Charles

LeConche, the business manager of the local, was
called for commentary for
that story, but he did not
return the call. After the article appeared, he wrote a
letter in which he faulted Scoop for unfair reporting
and stated that the Connecticut Laborers goes out of
its way to help members through tough times.

After being rebuffed by the picketers last Monday,
SCOOP tried to talk to LeConche to find out what the
protest was about. but he did not call back,

Undaunted, Scoop learned that the Constitution
Plaza protest was one of three the union staged that
Day, the other two sites were Trinity College and
Storrs. The picketing was aimed at Connecticut
Acoustics, and the union's beef was that the company
Is letting members of the carpenters' union unload
trucks, which is supposed to be laborers' work.

Meanwhile, an independent hearing officer arbitrating
union disputes has disqualified Connecticut
Laborers' board member Wayne Silva from running in
the rerun election scheduled for this May. The rerun
was called to address charges by Manos that LeConche
stole the last election, charges LeConche denies.
Silva's name was tossed out because he is a contractor,

and it's against union rules for him to run. Although
Silva is a close friend of LeConche, even people fight-
ing to oust LeConche say Silva has 30 years experience
with the union and overall is not a bad guy. Thus the

Laborers' internal strife claims yet another leader;
Manos himself was already disqualified from running
because he's retired,

Troubles aside, it's to the union-credit, it can
still manage to call out three picket units for a bread
and-butter dispute like the one with Connecticut Acoustics.


Laborers for JUSTICE 1999 as to original work.
Scanned and formatted as a free service to LIUNA members
and the public by Laborers for JUSTICE.