Facts Of Life
attacks, intimidations still a fact of life in my local
Albany, New York
Tue, 21 Mar 2000 16:43:04
If it wasn't such a serious
subject, I'd probably laugh out loud every time I hear LIUNA
kingpins rattle on about how they've reformed all the evil and
wrong they themselves created, condoned and encouraged in our
international for so long.
But I don't laugh because I
know from personal experience that damn little has changed, even
less has improved from the standpoint of the member, and a lot
has actually gotten worse instead of better.
My name is Carmen Francella,
and I've been a crusading activist in LIUNA Local 190 in Albany,
NY for a long time. I've endured intimidation efforts to silence
me or limit my effectiveness as a critic of local and international
leadership for years, but none worse than what goes on today in
what LIUNA officials laughingly call a reformed and enlightened
time in our international.
For years Local 190 leaders
and their cronies did everything they could to ridicue and harass
me every time I took the microphone at local meetings to speak
out on behalf of fellow brothers and sisters and question the
leadership abilities and financial mismanagement of the officers.
They failed to discourage me and only served
to increase my resolve to continue to question their shortcomings.
Tensions increased greatly
last year when I ran for Business Agent of Local 190 and headed
a slate of insurgent members opposing the entrenched leadership.
Local leadership encouraged increased heavy verbal attacks against
me whenever I was at the microphone and there was plenty of in-your-face
verbal asaults and more that a little pushing and shoving of me
and my supporters at every meeting, none of which was stopped
by the leadership.
At one particularly violent
verbal confrontation, a supporter of the leadership stepped to
the microphone and threated not only me, but my wife. "We
know where your wife works, and what time she drives home!"
he shouted out.
Astounded by this blantant
criminal threat, I complained immediately to the local leadership,
which did nothing, and notified local police, the FBI and LIUNA
officials in Washington of the threat to my wife.
Nothing ever was done about
that serious incident by any of them. Just like nothing has ever
been done by anyone at LIUNA about the many complaints, several
formal and in writing, that I have filed allegeding wronddoings
Local 190 is a bad local in
a bad International, but to hear Mr. Luskin, Mr. Gow, Mr. Vaira,
Mr. Eggleston and others tell it, everything is now reformed for
the better. Truth is, not much has changed at all.
At my Local 190 meeting in
February, for instance, it was just like old times, only worse.
When I went to the microphone to question Local 190 officials,
I was still subjected to a barrage of verbal abuse from them and
their supporters. And suddenly I was hit and tackled hard from
behind by one of their supporters, being nearly knocked to the
I was angry and restrained
by my friends, but the leadership just laughed it off as an accidental
bump. Later, when I again tried to ask a question of the local
leaders, I was told bluntly "I'm tired of you and your f--king
questions!" and was not allowed to continue.
So much for a changed, reformed
and enlightened atmosphere in LIUNA today.
I guess I should not be suprised
that nothing has really changed. My own personal experiences are
not much different that those of my fellow activists who were
assaulted in Connecticut and whose case has dragged on for so
long without a resolution.
But if LIUNA leaders think
that threats and assaults will intimidate me or cause me to stop
speaking out against the leadership and for my fellow brothers
and sisters, they've got another think coming.
I will never stop being an
activist dedicated to cleaning up my local and my international,
and I will never stop speaking out on behalf of other brothers
and sisters in times of need.
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