Testimony of Stephen Manos

House Sub-Committee on Employer-Employee Relations

Harris Fawell, Chairman

May 4, 1998

Washington, DC

1. Personal Background

My name is Stephen Manos.

I am 53 years of age & reside in Glastonbury, Ct. a suburb of Hartford, the capital city.

I am a 33 year member of Hartford Laborers ' Local 230, which is part of The Laborers ' International Union of North America.

I have worked in the field as a laborer since 1965, performing various functions relating to construction including shop steward, foreman, & safety representative.

I am the popularly elected Vice-President of Local 230 &, as part of my constituency service, publish & distribute an independent newsletter for union members.

I am also an announced candidate for the position of Business Manager of Laborers Local 230.

In addition, I am the plaintiffs witness in federal court in Bridgeport Ct. in which racketeering allegations are being heard in regard to certain activities of my union's Business Manager Charles LeConche & union lawyer Robert Cheverie.

Along with another dissident candidate for office, I am being brought up on false manipulated internal charges within my local union.

Also, I am being sued in federal court by Local 230 Business Manager Charles LeConche because I turned over evidence of a crime, in the form of an audio-tape, to the FBI & other agencies.

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2. Laborers & their Jobs

The Laborers Union represents workers in more than 50 different industries.

Laborers are the lowest paid of all construction workers.

Laborers work in both the public & private sector on: highways, roads, bridges, commercial buildings & various local, state, & federal government projects.

We pour concrete, dig ditches, lay asphalt, carry materials, remove debris & operate power & hand tools.

We are signal persons, demolition workers, sand-blasters, pipe-layers, tradesmen's helpers, safety officers, foremen, & shop stewards.

We also work in the abatement of asbestos, lead, & hazardous waste & we also work with radioactive materials & other dangerous substances.

Our members also include but are not limited to: mail handlers, food processors, maintenance & custodial workers, airplane mechanics, park rangers, & nurses.

In addition, we are actively organizing professionals such as teachers & others.

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3. The Laborers' International Union of North America


Founded in 1903 & head-quartered in Washington DC, The Laborers' International Union of North America [known as LUNA] is a trade-union claiming 750,000 members.

LIUNA has 650 local unions, with 10 regional offices in the U.S. & Canada.

There are more than 60 district councils that conduct bargaining on behalf of their affiliated local unions.

Local unions are subject to direct control & compulsory membership by district councils.

Each region of the country is controlled by a Regional Manager.

Many Regional Managers are Vice-Presidents of LIUNA & serve on the General Executive Board of LIUNA.

Multiple salaries for LIUNA officials are quite common.

The top office in LIUNA is the post of General President.

My own experience shows the Laborers' Union to be one of the least democratically run institutions in the U.S.

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4. The Operating Agreement & Consent Decree

LIUNA is now working with the U.S. Justice Department under a mutually arranged "Operating Agreement" which is a substitute for & possible precursor to a "Consent Decree " .

A similar "Consent Decree" governs the Teamsters' Union today.

The present "Operating Agreement" allows LIUNA to police itself & was recently extended to January of 1999.

Some observers feel that this fulfills the "fox in the hen-house" scenario.

Enforcement of officials hand-picked by the General President of the Union have the assignment of policing the International Union.

Coincidentally, the person who challenged the General President in a national election in 1996 is now the subject of an investigation by the LIUNA Inspector General's office.

5. Hartford Laborers' Local 230

Hartford Laborers' Local 230 [with approximately 1,000 members] is the largest Local in Connecticut.

The governing body of the 10 Local Unions is the Connecticut Laborers' District Council.

The Business Manager of Local 230 is also the Business Manager /Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut Laborers ' District Council.

This individual [who collects multiple salaries for these paid positions] in fact, has total control of all Union business in Connecticut.

In effect, this means One Man Rule.

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6. Initial Threats

In 1995, I ran for the position of Vice-President of Local 230.

My opponent was a deeply entrenched incumbent connected to the existing regime of Local 230.

Prior to the election, I was discouraged from running for office by Charles LeConche, the then President & now the Business Manager of Local 230.

Despite this fact, I was elected on June 17, 1995 with 63.5 % of the votes cast.

Six days after the election, I was summoned by Business Manager Charles LeConche into his office at Local 230 in Hartford, Ct.

Business Manager LeConche abruptly informed me that

"I reward my friends & punish my enemies "

"I have the votes on the Executive Board & you are not going to stand in my way."

I replied that I was there to do good & that his fears were unfounded..

From that point on & on many occasions, I was harassed, intimidated, threatened & deprived of my democratic rights by the Business Manager & his associates in fact.

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7. Further Threats

In February of 1997, I attempted to use the written appeal process regarding an arbitrary & monetarily punitive decision made by the Business Manager that directly affected me.

As a result, at the Local 230 Executive Board meeting held on February 25, 1997, the Business Manager spoke to me in an abusive & intimidating manner.

The Business Manager told me, among other things, that because of my letters that I would no longer be "helped" by him.

This remark was an obvious threat of future economic deprivation.

A portion of the total conversation was recorded by a voice-actuated personal tape-recorder worn by me for my physical safety & protection.

Since that time I have indeed suffered economic deprivation & have, in fact, been ostracized by the Business Manager, his associates & other members of Local 230.

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8. Federal Law Enforcement

In March of 1997, I met with an Assistant U.S. Attorney & an FBI agent.

These individuals work out of Chicago Illinois & are involved in oversight

I played the audio-tape of the February 25, 1997 Local 230 Executive Board meeting.

This audio-tape was provided to these individuals, at their request.

The FBI agent later informed me that this audio-tape showed clear evidence of violations of the Hobbs Act.

And the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was present assured me that:

"If your hair is mussed, we will be there."

However, after my assault & as time went on, all contact from Chicago was broken by them.

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9. Assault on Stephen Manos, Executive Board Meeting

Local 230, July 30, 1997

On July 30, 1997, I was physically assaulted during a Local 230 Executive Board meeting.

This meeting was held at Capriccio Restaurant in Hartford, Ct.

Present at this meeting in addition to the other 9 of officers of Local 230, were Union lawyer Thomas Brockett, & most importantly, Vere Haynes who is the third Vice-President of LIUNA & who is also a signatory to the "Operating Agreement".

I asked questions about union expenditures paid for by members' dues.

I was threatened by Business Manager LeConche who then physically assaulted me but was restrained by other Local 230 officials.

Moments afterward, I was physically attacked, slammed to the concrete floor & then thrown bodily out of the fire-exit door of the restaurant by Local 230's Sergeant-at-Arms Frank Freeman.

I was then pursued in the street by the Business Manager LeConche & his brother, William LeConche.

I managed to escape & call the Hartford Police Department.

I have also contacted other law enforcement agencies.

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10. Aftermath of the Assault

I made a direct complaint to the LIUNA Inspector General W. Douglas Gow.

Inspector General Gow, along with General Executive Board Attorney Robert Luskin, is charged with enforcing the LIUNA "Operating Agreement".

After an investigation by IG investigators, GEB Attorney Luskin issued a mild reprimand to Business Manager LeConche, despite incontrovertible evidence consisting of:

1. Audio-tape of the assault

2. Color photos of my injuries

3. Multiple medical reports verifying my injuries.

GEB Attorney Luskin's actions, in effect, have facilitated the racketeering activities directed at me.

Despite the same evidence, the Hartford Police Department & Hartford prosecutor's office conducted a non-investigation in regard to my assault.

I have also been abandoned & further jeopardized by federal law enforcement agencies, with all contact broken off by them.

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11. Repercussions on Others

Others have suffered as a result of this policy of intimidation.

My former employer [who does not wish to be named] has been harassed, threatened, & intimidated by Business Manager LeConche & his associates in fact.

Out of fear of retaliation from Local 230 leadership, my former employer has, on certain occasions, refused to hire me back to work on a job that is still ongoing to this day.

He has also suffered economic loss as a result of this continuing course of conduct on the part of Local 230 leadership.

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12. Ronald Nobili

Ronald Nobili is the Business Manager of Bridgeport Laborers Local 665.

Mr. Nobili has instituted a federal lawsuit, against the Ct. Laborers District Council, which charges, among other things, the misuse of Union funds.

He too has been effectively ostracized by his fellow Business Managers at the direct instigation of Business Manager LeConche & Union lawyer Robert Cheverie.

Mr. Nobili also asked questions about expenditures of dues-paid Union money.

As a result, on October 6, 1997, Mr. Nobili was punched in the face by fellow Business Manager Shaun Cashman who is a close associate of Business Manager LeConche.

This unprovoked assault took place in front of the other 8 Ct. Business Managers & also New England Regional Manager Armand Sabitoni, Assistant New England Regional Manager Vincent Messina, & John LeConche Jr., the head of the Ct. Laborers' Training Facility.

Regional Manager Sabitoni who is also a LIUNA Vice-President, reports directly to LIUNA General President Arthur Coia.

This incident was reported to the Connecticut State Police & to GEB Attorney Robert Luskin.

Another mild reprimand was issued by GEB Attorney Robert Luskin.

This reprimand, by GEB Attorney Luskin, in fact, further establishes a pattern of facilitating racketeering, directed, this time, at Mr. Nobili personally.

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13. Gene Julian

Gene Julian, a long time member of Local 230, is a labor foreman who works for my former employer.

Mr. Julian was the victim of a murderous threat made by a Local 230 Shop Steward appointed by Business Manager Charles LeConche.

Mr. Julian is an announced candidate for office in Local 230.

Mr. Julian has been threatened, harassed & intimidated by Local 230 leadership.

Mr. Julian has also been brought up on false manipulated internal Union charges at the direct instigation of the Business Manager & his associates in fact.

14. Gary Wall & William Cooksey

Gary Wall & Bill Cooksey were dissident political candidates who ran for office within Local 230 & were subsequently black-balled & driven out of the union.

Presently in the process of fighting to be re-admitted as union members they are the plaintiffs in a federal court case in which they charge the Business Manager of Local 230 & his union lawyer with racketeering.

Mr. Wall, acting as pro-se litigant has also filed a further complaint against the Business Manager for witness-tampering.

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15. Alex Corns

Alex Corns is the Business Manager for the 180 member Hod-Carriers' Local 36 in Daly City California.

Business Manager Corns publishes an independent newsletter & was a dissident voice at the LIUNA convention held in September, 1996 in Las Vegas Nevada.

16. Robert Brown

Robert Brown is the Business Manager in Rochester New York & was a candidate for office at the LIUNA convention in Las Vegas.

17. James McGough

James McGough is a dissident LIUNA member in Chicago, Illinois & has proven to quite proficient on communicating via the internet.

18. Chris White

Chris White is a LIUNA member in Fairbanks, Alaska & is the

Web-Master of an independent web site:http://www.laborers.org

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19. Retaliation by Local 230 Against Dissidents

Due to the inimical situation in Local 230 my former employer & his foreman were afraid to hire me back.

As a result, I only was able to accrue 1\2 a pension point for 1997.

Along with others, my name has been constantly vilified by the bosses of Local 230.

Local 230's hiring hall system is being abused by the Local 230 bosses, causing myself & others to suffer the consequences of these wrongful actions in the form of lost work opportunity.

In addition to being sued in federal court, I, like my running mate, have been brought up on false manipulated internal Union charges at the direct instigation of the Business Manager & his associates in fact.

I have also been formally accused in a false charge by the Local 230 Business Manager of "Barred Conduct" under the LIUNA "Code of Ethics".

20. Attempts at Resolution

I have exhausted all internal remedies available within the structure of LIUNA.

I made direct phone appeals for help to International Union Representatives Ed Dirissio & Vincent Messina & New England Regional Manager Armand Sabitoni in Providence, RI.

In addition, I have also written & called the office of International Union General President Arthur Coia in Washington DC.

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21. Conclusion

This Congressional panel is the last resort for myself & many others.

Internal remedies do not work.

The "Chain of Command " does not work.

The enforcement agencies located within do not work.

The "Operating agreement" is a SHAM!

The only viable solution is to have Judicial or Congressional Review & to implement the "Consent Decree" in Local 230 & the Connecticut Laborers' District Council or put Connecticut under federal trusteeship.

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Members and Jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations

Majority: 7/ Minority: 5

Rep. Harris W. Fawell, Chairman


Rep. Jim Talent

Rep. Joe Knollenberg, Vice Chairman

Rep. Tom Petri

Rep. Marge Roukema

Rep. Cass Ballenger

Rep. Bill Goodling


Rep. Donald Payne

Rep. Chaka Fattah

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy

Rep. John Tierney


All matters dealing with relationships between employers and employees generally including, but not limited to, the National Labor Relations Act, Bureau of Labor Statistics, pension, health, and other employee benefits, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); and all matters related to equal employment opportunity and civil rights in employment.


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All original work Copyright Laborers.org 1998. All rights reserved.