Las Vegas Review-Journal

Extremists Target Unions

Innovative internal reforms are working well

By Rob Trenkle

Special to the Review-Journal

Friday, April 17, 1998

Ken Boehm's March 22 op-ed "Pardoning Corruption" is nothing more than another in the long line of attacks against the labor movement by right wing anti-union organizations.

I am the business manager of Las Vegas Local 872 of the Laborers' International Union and also was recently elected president of the Las Vegas Building and Construction Trades Council AFL/CIO. Across the country, and especially right here in Las Vegas, unions are stronger and better than ever. Our city is growing more quickly than anywhere in the country and skilled union workers are the ones constructing the buildings and paving the roads.

What many of your readers don't know about Mr. Boehm is that he serves as chairman of a very conservative organization called the National Legal Policy Center (NLPC). NLPC bills itself as a non-profit organization "promoting ethics and accountability in government." However, its funding comes from conservative, right-wing millionaires such as Richard Scaife and John Olin.

In addition, Mr. Boehm and other NLPC leaders have ties to an array of extremist conservative groups such as the Conservative Opportunity Society and the Conservative Campaign Fund, both of which are closely associated with House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Their money speaks for their mission: to silence the only voice standing up for the rights of working men and women -- unions.

Laborers' Union operates under a unique agreement with the Justice Department to eliminate corruption and organized crime influence from our union. This innovative internal reform is working and working well. It is making LIUNA the best, the strongest, the cleanest and the most democratic union anywhere.

Laborers' International Union General President Arthur A. Coia has denied all the charges filed against him by LIUNA's General Executive Board attorney, and he anxiously awaits his internal hearing.

Mr. Boehm is another anti-union extremist who wants to bring organized labor down. I'd say he ought to look at the "ethics and accountability" of some of his right-wing, millionaire buddies and perhaps his good friend, House Speaker Gingrich.

Rob Trenkle is business manager of the Laborers' International Union, Local 872, and president of the Las Vegas Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL/CIO.

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