APRIL 30, - MAY 6, 1998


By John Perritano

A subcommittee of the U.S.. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on Monday to examine what the obstacles are to achieving democracy in America's unions. In order to better gauge how the heavy-handedness of some union leaders works against the rank-and-file, the goings on of Connecticut Local 230 of the Laborers' International Union will be in the spotlight . .

The Subcommittee on Employer -Employee Relations of the Committee on Education and the Workforce will be looking at whether reform legislation is needed to make unions more accountable to their membership, as though there is any question to whether reforms are needed.

Scheduled to testify before die committee will be Glastonbury resident Stephen Manos, who is locked in a brutal and personal fight with union bigwig, Charles LeConche, for the important position of business manager. With the election slated for June, the contest has indeed gotten hot and heavy. Last year, Manos filed an attempted assault complaint against LeConche for an incident Manos says occurred July 30 at the Capricco Ristorante on Franklin Avenue in Hartford. The case has since been dropped by police. .

For his part, LeConche recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court,, alleging that a partial tape recording Manos surreptitiously made of the local's executive board-without permission of the committee-was done to harm LaConche. Manos provided the tape, which he says includes of the alleged beating to law enforcement officials, including the FBI.

Members of the subcommittee will no doubt get an earful from Manos, who describes Local 230 as anything less than democratic. Among other things, Manos who is the if vice president of the local, alleges that the final written form of meeting minutes are doctored and those who fall out of favor with the local's leadership are "intimidated" and threatened with future "economic deprivation."

"I have witnessed firsthand how union resources are misused in order to thwart democracy and suppress dissident views." Manos says.

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