OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDENT HEARING OFFICER
LABORERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA


IN THE MATTER OF                                                DOCKET NO.

LOCAL UNION 230, (MANOS, JULIAN,                98-36P
AND OLIVEIRA)

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

This Order and Memorandum addresses the Protests filed by Stephan Manos ("Manos"),
John Oliveira ("Oliveira'), and Gene Julian ("Julian") concerning the election of officers of Local
Union 230 of the Laborers' International Union of North America ("LIUNA") in Hartford,
Connecticut ("Local 230") held on June 20, 1998.

                Based upon interviews conducted by Independent Hearing Officer ("IHO") staff
members by telephone and on site in Hartford, pertinent documentary evidence, and further
investigation by the IHO, the protests of Manos and Julian are GRANTED. The protest of
Oliveira is DENIED. The election for Business Manager and for members of the Executive
Board will be rerun, including the nomination process which will be open to all eligible
members.


FINDINGS OF FACT

 

1.              Manos served as Vice President of Local 230 from 1995 to 1998.

2.              In April of 1997, Manos, while serving as Vice-President, announced his
candidacy for Business Manager in the June 1998 election. On the same date, Julian, who was not
an office holder, announced his candidacy for a seat on the Executive Board. Both individuals
intended to run as a team. Oliveira announced his candidacy for a seat on the Executive Board
shortly thereafter.

3.              Although Manos and Julian announced their candidacy over one year prior to the election,
they immediately began to campaign actively. Their campaign activity triggered responses by the
incumbents well prior to the nomination and election.

4.               Due to their effect on the election outcome, I will consider in this protest certain acts which
occurred during the year prior to the nomination meeting. The evidence shows the incumbent officers of
Local 230 and Manos became entangled in a bitter campaign of character attacks, charges and counter
charges which degenerated into a carnival like atmosphere, Other members of Local 230 were swept into
the maelstrom.

5.              Paul Tigno ("Tigno"), Louis Sanzo ("Sanzo"), and Horace Daley ("Daley") were
appointed Judges of Election ("Judges" ) by the Executive Board on May 11, 1998. Tigno was
appointed Chief Judge.

6.               The nomination meeting for the Local 230 Election of Officers was held on May 18,1998.

7.              On May 20, 1998, the candidates were interviewed by the Judges as part of the candidate
screening process. At the screening, Manos and Charlie LeConche ("LeConche"), the incumbent Business
Manager, filed protests with the Judges regarding the qualifications of certain candidates discussed below.

8.               On May 28, 1998 Manos and Oliveira filed timely protests with the 1140 pertaining to the
nomination and upcoming election of officers of Local 230. On May 30, 1998 Julian filed a similar protest.


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Protest of Manos[1]

 

Incidents Arising From Articles Published in the Local 230 Newsletters

 

9.              Manos alleges LeConche used union funds to support his campaign by publishing
campaign literature in the Local 230 newsletter,

10.            LeConche is the author of the text of the Local 230 newsletters, which are
distributed to the entire membership. The investigation indicates that approximately 200
members out of a membership of 800 members attend the regular monthly union meetings.
Thus, the newsletters are a major source of information of the internal activities of Local 230 to
the majority of members in Local 230.

11.           In the February 1998 newsletter, an article was published under the title "Hearing
Scheduled in Steward Firing." The article reported that, Antonio Osman ("Osman") had filed
trial board charges against Julian for having him fired for refusing to wear a Manos/Julian
campaign button.

12.           Osman was a steward for Capital Concrete, where Julian was the foreman. Julian
fired Osman, Osman then filed trial board charges against Julian, alleging that he was fired for
refusing to wear Julian's campaign button. The IHO heard the trial board charges by special
designation of the General President pursuant to Article XTI, Sec. 3 of the Uniform Local Union
Constitution ("Constitution").

13.            In an interview with IHO staff, LeConche acknowledged the contractor
terminated Osman for insubordination and not for the reasons published in the newsletter.

14.           Julian was acquitted of the charges by the IHO on April 10, 1998. Despite being
given ample opportunity to do so, LeConche offered no evidence that he in any way published

_________________________
 1 Julian filed protests similar to Manos.


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the results of the trial board that indicated his original report was directly affected by decision of
the IHO.

15.           Although union newsletters are not held to the same journalistic standards of fair
reporting as commercial news publications, under the facts of this matter and under the Ethical
Practices Code "EPC"), LeConche owed it to the membership, and to Julian, to publish the
results of the trial board before the election since he had originally published the notice of
hearing, including statements about Julian's conduct. This event, when considered with the other
campaign activities of LeConche indicates he had a campaign motive in publishing the article

16.           In April 1997, LeConche organized a picket line at site of an employer, Capitol
Concrete, to protest the contractor's removal of Manny Lambert ("Lambert") as steward.
LeConche's nephew video recorded the events occurring during the picketing.

17.           The record reflects that Local 230 filed a grievance regarding the firing of
Lambert, an appropriate action under Local 230's collective bargaining agreement with Capital
Concrete. Nonetheless, LeConche set up an informational picket line. LeConche does not
dispute it was an informational picket line.

18.           At least fifteen Local 230 members crossed the picket line to work, including
Manos and Julian.

19.           In June 1997, LeConche requested the video of Manos and Julian crossing the
informational picket line be shown to the general membership. The Executive Board approved
the request and the video was shown. At the meeting, members cursed and booed Manos and
Julian and walked out in protest.

20.           LeConche then published an article in the Local 230 newsletter in July 1997
which described the events of the meeting including the derogatory terms used to describe

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Manos and Julian. The showing of the video and describing the incident in the union newsletter
was done for political purposes. Fifteen members, including Daley, crossed the picket line in
plain view of the camera. The other picket crossers were not mentioned in the newsletter. Daley
was later appointed a Judge of Election for the June 1998 election,

 

21.           Informational picketing is a protected activity designed to inform the public of a
particular dispute but does not request workers to refrain from working. By contrast, a picket
line enforcing a valid strike is a concerted stoppage of work and a union member may be
disciplined by the union for working at the sitc. Bruce Feldacker, Labor Guide to Labor Law
335-336 (1990). LaConeche described the picket line set up at Capitol Concrete in the following
manner follow, "An informational picket line is nothing else but information, asking no one to
honor anything or to do anything but realize that there is a problem on the job and that the sign is
strictly as information." In this particular situation, a member could cross the informational
picket line without fear of discipline by the union.

22.           Without addressing whether LeConche's decision to set up the picket line was
proper in the context of a labor management relationship, under the circumstances of this matter,
Local 230 may not discredit members for crossing this informational picket line. Moreover, the
use of the video of the picket line and the reports in the newsletter had an overriding campaign
purpose.

23.           In part, Local 230 justifies the publication of the articles in question by stating the
incumbents were merely defending themselves against the accusations leveled against them by
Manos in his private newsletter and in person. Manos's private newsletter was often vitriolic and
accusatory, however, it was a private newsletter paid for by Manos with his own funds. Local
230 is not prohibited from responding in its newsletter to allegations regarding official actions of

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its officers, Local 230, however, cannot use the union newsletter to attack political opponents
for purely political purposes. Title 29 U.S.C. 481 (g) prohibits union funds from being used to
promote the candidacy of an incumbent or in opposition to an opposing candidate. The
prohibition includes union publications. Usery v. International Organization of Master, Mates
and Pilots
, 538 F. 2d 946 (2nd Cir, 1976) (Newsletter paid for by union and distributed during
campaign which was laudatory of incumbent and critical of opponent constituted prohibited
campaign literature under Section 48 1); McLaughlin v. American Federation of Musicians, 700
F.Supp. 726 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (Improper for incumbent officers to use "entrenched positions of
leadership" through vehicles of local union newspapers to promote their choice for union office.)
The articles in the Local 230 newsletter discussed above were not meant to rebut any allegations.
The articles and the video of the picket line were clearly used in part as a vehicle attack to the
political opponents of LeConche and his slate. Even if the article had been meant as a rebuttal,
the use of union money to distribute documents to "correct" prior remarks is improper where it
serves mainly to highlight one candidate's remarks with the intent of hindering another's
candidacy. Brock Metropolitan District Council of Carpenters , 653 F.Supp. 289, 290 (E.D.
Pa. 1986)

Bias on Behalf of the Judges of Election

24.       Manos alleges the Judges fostered personal animus towards him and members of
his slate.

25.       In November 1997, Tigno distributed fliers at a membership meeting. The fliers
consisted of a photocopy of the return address portion of one of Manos's newsletters, including
Manos's phone number. Next to the address was written, "Call at midnight to express yourself
The purpose of the flier was clear; to incite members to harass Manos in the middle of the night.


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Tigno was appointed a Judge of the June 1998 election. Manos alleges this event indicates
Tigno was biased against him and should not have served as
a Judge Of Election. In interviews
with IHO staff members, Tigno stated that the incident occurred long before the election, and
although he was opposed to Manos, once be "put on his judge's hat," he became neutral. This
statement is refuted by Tigno's subsequent actions described below,


Judges' Report



26.           Manos alleges the Election Report regarding candidate qualifications filed by the
Judges following the nomination meeting unfairly prejudiced his candidacy.

 

27.           On March 2, 1998, the Executive Board of Local 230 filed formal allegations with
the LIUNA GEB Attorney Robert Luskin ("Luskin") against Manos for allegedly engaging in
barred conduct arising out of Manos's association with
a person the Executive Board claimed to
be an organized crime figure,

 

28.            On March 9, 1998, Luskin informed Local 230 by letter that the allegations
against Manos would not be pursued by the GEB Attorney.

29.              At the candidate qualification screening LeConche submitted a protest letter to
the Judges in an effort to disqualify Manos on the basis of the alleged conduct.

30.               In reviewing the protest by LeConche, the Judges found no validity to the claim.
In their Election Report, which the Judges read to the membership, they made no reference to
such finding. instead, the report stated, ".. the Executive Board by letter of March 2, 1998
considers Stephan Manos to be a barred individual ... ." The report made no mention of
Luskin's letter of March 9, 1998 in which Luskin declined to pursue the allegations. Tigno was
the drafter of the report.

31.                 The Judges had no basis for making such a statement in their report. The clear
purpose of the report was to give the incorrect appearance Manos was under investigation for
barred conduct, The incident described above in paragraph 25 and the election report are proof
that Tigno was biased toward Manos and violated his duty of being an impartial judge.

32.                  I further find that the election report was improper and was intended to mislead
the membership.


Additional Protests


33.                    Manos alleges John Pezzenti and Leonard Graucll, Jr. illegally campaigned at job
sites. This claim is not supported by the evidence.

34.                      Manos alleges LeConche and other incumbents had special access to membership
information including unlisted phone numbers, not provided to Manos or Julian. This claim is
not supported by the evidence.

35.                       Manos alleges the officers of Local 230 denied him the opportunity to speak at
membership meetings by staging walkouts whenever he approached the podium,

36.                        This allegation is beyond the scope of an election protest. The Executive Board
of Local 230 should be aware any such behavior is prohibited by the EPC. It is essential, that in
a democratic union, all voices, including those of an unpopular minority, have a right to speak
out.

37.                         Manos alleges Wayne Silva, who ran successfully for a seat on the Executive
Board, is a de-facto contractor and hence not permitted to hold office within LIUNA because he
is a member of management.

38.                         The Judges attempted to conduct an investigation into this allegation, but time
constraints and limited resources prevented a fall examination of the matter, Because I am


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ordering a rerun of the election for seats on the Executive Board, I am requesting a discreet but
thorough investigation of this allegation by the Inspector General, prior to the rerun election.
The IG is requested to report his investigation to the IHO.


Protest of Oliveira

39.         Oliveira protests his disqualification for running for the position of Executive Board.

 

40,           The Judges disqualified Oliveira pursuant to Article V, Section 4 of the
Constitution, for failing to work at the calling for one full year prior to the nomination meeting.

 

41.           Oliveira concedes that between the months of November 1997 and April 1998, he
was unemployed. During that time he did not sign the out of work list, but instead took a two
week vacation, and did home repairs. Oliveira insists he did not need to sign the out of work list
because he was told by his employer, Costello Industries, he would be rehired in the spring,


           42.        Oliveira supplied the IHO with letter from Costello Industries Superintendent
Michael Nastri, which stated his intention to rehire Oliveira in the spring.


            43.       A candidate for office has an obligation under Article V, Section 4 (d) to
continually seek work for the entire year preceding the nomination meeting. Article V, Section
part working at the calling includes:

 

 

Periods of unemployment where the member was available for and
            continuously and actively sought employment at the calling which shall be
            understood to require full compliance with the lawful rules of the referral
            service or hiring hall, if any, operated by the Local union.

 

44.       Evidence of good faith effort to seek employment includes signing one's name on
he out of work list at the Local union hall. Oliveria did not do so, instead choosing to wait until
the following season to regain his employment at Costello Industries. Despite seasonal layoffs, a
member seeking office within LIUNA must actively and continuously seek employment in order

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to qualify for office, See In the Matter of Local 602, IHO Order and Memorandum, 95-29P
(January 18,1996). Oliveria's decision
to maintain only seasonal employment does not qualify
him for office. His candidacy was properly denied by the Judges.


CONCLUSIONS

    1.        There is a preponderance of the evidence that LeConche used union funds and
personnel in furtherance of his campaign of using Local 230 newsletters to attack his political
opponents in the instances described above.

 

2.             LeConche used union funds and personnel to attack his opponents when he
showed the video of Manos and Julian crossing the informational picket line. Under these
circumstances, a member cannot be discredited for crossing the informational picket line.

3.            The Election Report filed by the Judges contained false information about Manos, a candidate for election.

4.            There is a preponderance of the evidence to indicate Tigno was not an impartial Judge of Election.

5.            There is insufficient evidence upon which to make a determination of whether
Silva is a defacto contractor. A discreet investigation of Silva's qualifications will be undertaken
prior to the upcoming re-run election by the Inspector General.

6.            Oliveira was not working at the calling, and was properly disqualified from
running for office.

7.             Both Manos and LeConche both performed numerous acts that were unbecoming
LIUNA union officers. Under the guise of answering Manos's allegations, LaConchc utilized
union funds to attack his political opponents. LeConche's activities drew into the maelstrom

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other members, including the Judges of Election, The entire campaign degenerated in a bitter
contest of name-calling.

 

8.         In the rerun election, the Ethical Practices Act will apply to the activities of all
candidates and their supporters. The day is gone from the labor movement when he who shouts
loudest or he calls the other the most vile names will win. If the activities similar to those which
occurred in the 1998 campaign occur again, it will be evidence for the Inspector General to
consider that democratic procedures have broken down in Local 230 and a trusteeship may be,
necessary.

DISCUSSION


I am informed that since the 1998 election Manos has retired from active LIUNA work
and is no longer working at the calling. Because Manos was the only other candidate for
Business Manager, Manos's retirement calls into question the necessity of rerunning the election
for Business Manager. In LIUNA any member, including a non-candidate or a retired member,
is entitled to protest an election. The object of this process is to insure a free and fair election,
without regard to the position of the protestor. It would defeat the spirit of the protest if the
determination of whether election violations occurred depended upon whether the protestor ran
again. It would reward the candidate who possessed substantial resources to outlast a protestor
who had few resources. The circumstances in this matter are distinguishable from situations
where a member was improperly disqualified from running for nomination by an honest mistake
of the Judges, but after the election, ceases to be eligible to run again. In that circumstance,
without any additional allegations of improprieties, the election would not be rerun. See In the
Matter of Local 527/527A,
IHO Order and Memorandum Regarding Reconsideration, 97-28P
(February 2, 1999). Here there were campaign improprieties which must be addressed. The


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local union membership is guaranteed to have a free and fair election. Those who commit
election violations will not benefit from their defeated opponent dropping out. Any eligible
member
may run in the rerun election.


DECISION

1.        For the reasons set forth above, the election protests of Manos and Julian are
GRANTED. The protest of Oliveira is DENIED

2.     The election for the Business Manager and members of the Executive Board will
be rerun including a new nomination process open to all members in good standing,

3.     An investigation by the Inspector General will be conducted into Silva's
qualifications to run for Executive Board member prior to the rerun election. The Inspector
General will report his findings to me. A supplemental decision regarding Silva will be issued
before the rerun election,

4.     The Judges of Election who served in the 1998 election are ineligible to serve in
the rerun election.

5.     A copy of this decision shall be mailed to all Local 230 members in good
standing.


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6.     The date for the rerun election should be announced by March 15, 1999

7.     The international union is requested to assign an official or lawyer with election
experience to oversee the rerun election.



s/Peter F. Vaira

PETER F. VAIRA
INDEPENDENT HEARING OFFICER


Date: February 10, 1999

Local Union 230
Michael Bearse, Esquire
Douglas Gow, Inspector General
Stephan Manos
Gene Julian
John Oliveira


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Laborers For JUSTICE1999 All Rights reserved as to original work. Provided as a free service to LIUNAMembers so they can know what "the rules" are. "LeConche" was changed from "LaConche" to correct misspellings and to insure that LeConche's name would be found in full text search and retrieval systems by anyone doing a search for louts, miscreants, neer do wells, gangsters, mobsters, enemies of union democracy, etc etc