Monday, SEPT. 14, Opening session - Fred
Noon and Dennis Ryan, official delegates, were not provided chairs
in the Iowa delegation and were required to sit with Texas delegation,
immediately behind Iowa delegation. President Angelo Fosco, in
his usual halting, mispronounced and virtually illiterate manner
says in keynote speech "This union will never belong to outsiders,
radicals, or professionals or politcians."
Sec.-Treas. Arthur Coia attacks "outsiders"
in a denouncing tone of voice, He likewise seems to mispronounce
and misuse words, It is noted that the Chicago and New York delegations
are located right up front before the speakers podium and are
obviously orchestrated to cheer and applaud at certain times,
It is also noted that a sergeant at arms
stands right behind Ryan and Noon during the sessions. No other
sgts. at arms are simularly situated. I could see only Three microphones
for the whole convention.
One (#5?) was directly in front of the Chicago
Two others were placed close together near
the Iowa delegation but virtually totally inaccessible to most
of the other delegates .
At close of session, delegate John F. Ryan
(Jack) of Local 43, Cedar Rapids,Iowa, poked me in the chest and
said "You little fucking worm, You don't attack this organization
by going to the press." I asked if he wished
to discuss certain issues and he said "I don't wan't to talk
about it" and he walked away.
The rest of the Iowa delegation, including
my business agent, (and others I have known for years ) William
Gerhard, ignore us, don't talk to us and try to stay away from
Meanwhile six or seven U.S. Labor Party crazies
are distributing literature saying Laborers dissidents are "a
Wall Street Front" "led by Socialists", The after
noon session was cancelled
SECOND DAY - Sept 15
Noon and Ryan get seats in the Iowa Delegation,
It is noted that the summary ""Daily Proceedings"
is filled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations _representations
and omissions, most notably the attacks on dissidents.
Coia mumbles something about "outsiders"
seeking to get bonds cancelled for the International and District
Councils and all the locals (and isn't that despicable tone voice
). "The "outsiders" are dropping nickels and dimes
in the fund" (or phone) - whatever that means - It was all
quite unintelligible, Afterncon session is cancelled.
Sgts at arms (Sgts at arms - John Abbot from
Oregon and tall bearded guy) begin to follow Chris White, Dick
Knoll, Bill Knight and others and hassle them, trying to punch their
genitals and pick fights.
U.S. . Labor Party cooks all have guest badges,
Our own members can't get them. Bill knight gets one from VP Powell
but it is taken away by Peter Fosco and a Sgt at arms, Afternoon
session is cancelled.
Third Day - Sept. 16
Hollywood Police deny us right to distribute
literature in convention hotel lobby, As Fred Noon and Dennis
Ryan enter convention hall a Sgt at arms from Indiana (bald and
middle aged) rips Fred's Carrying case from his hands and throws
it to the floor where it is surrounded by other Sgts at arms.
As he attempts to retrieve it seven or eight Sgts at arms push
him back twice, all but knocking him to the floor,
Ryan asks the bald one what the trouble
is and he says nothing but stares a hate stare. Ryan asks again
and the bald one then says we are not allowed into the convention.
I protest that we are fully accredited delegates. The bald one
says we must clear it with either our regional manager ((Who is
that?) or our International Representative. Both are already inside
So we go to the police and report Fred's
carrying case being stolen. police say they can''t do much but
will "investigate". They later report to us that the
case is "lost".
Police say the Sgts at arms were "just
playing" as if to be apologetic for a theft. .We then ask police
if they will escort me and Fred down the hall, They are extremely
hesitant and make up excuses. We say either escort us down hall
or we are handing out leaflets,
They escort us down hall, stopping frequently
to try to turn back but we coax them on. Head Sgt at
arms, upon our request, orders other sgts at arms to let us in
to convention. We have to push our way past them as they try to
trip us and block our way.
We get to the Iowa delegation and there are
no seats. New delegates that I have never seen before are sitting
at the Texas delegation so we sit across the small isle with other
Texas delegates but we are told we have to move by other Texas
While looking around for seats, a sgt.at
arms tells us we must be seated or get off the floor.
We go to the back where we sit with Alabama.
One member of the Alabama delegation "adopts" us with
Alabama lapel stickers.
Then a Sgt at arms says we must sit with
our own delegation. We say there are no seats there and he says
we ill have to leave then because it is not his fault if "the
delegation runs you out."
Our International representative Warren Miller,
comes by and we tell him there are no chairs in the Iowa delegation.
He says "Wait here". Meanwhile a sat at arms comes by
to tell us we can't block the isle, and we must move .
We spot some chairs in the Wisconsin delegation
so we grab them and move them to the Iowa delegation. Three sgts
at arms check our delegate badges and then leave us alone. Jack
Ryan comes over and tells me that I should remove my hat while
the convention is in session. Hundreds of delegates have their
hats on that they have just received.
When the session is adjourned, several of
us dissidents are followed out of the hotel by the two "follower"
sgts at arms. ( One was John Abbot from Oregon).
THIRD DAY- WEDNESDAY - SEPT. 16
Pushing our way past unfriendly sgts at arms,
we got to the Iowa delegation where all the seats on the outside
of the isle are already taken. We sit halfway up in the Iowa delegation,
behind the table, making it difficult to get to a microphone,
"Hi, worm ", Jack Ryan says to
me. Roy Snyder, my former business manager from #177 in Des Moines,
asks me if I am going to run for any office. I say I am thinking
of running for a VP position. He says "You aren't going to
run for GP are you?" I say I am thinking about it.
"You don't have much time to decide,
you know. " (Elections are going to occur this session).
I say "In that case, I am"
Roy says "You're rot going to put all
these guys through a roll call, are you?" I explain that
we have asked for and were denied a secret ballot in our resolutions.
Jack says "You fucking idiots, If you
want to change this union why don't you do it from the inside"??
We have asked the head Sgt at arms if we
may hand out our campaign literature in the convention hall. He
said he would check with the "Chair". He returns now
and says the chair said we should have mailed it. That we can't
hand it out.
Clyde Kingery, of #177, says "You don't
have any support, If Iowa caucused right now you will see you
don't have any support. Angelo may not be able to read to well,
but he's got some awful smart people around him. I could kick
the shit cut of you right now for running. (Makes threatening
jesture) You're going to make the entire Iowa delegation look
like a bunch of fools."
A short fat guy, also from Iowa, comes over
and starts yelling at me and Fred that we should be working from
the inside ?? I point out that it is hard to be more inside than
being a delegate to the convention. Fat guy says he would like
to kick the shit out of us for running, that we will make the
Iowa delegation look bad . A sgt at arms comes over and tells us to knock off the yelling. Jack
Ryan begins a hate stare session at me.
Coia calls the session to order and states that VP Robert Powell will not preside because he wishes to nominate Fosco..
Coia says he will run the election.( I suspect
this may have occurred because of us - Coia seemed much more ruthless
at the podium).
Fosco is nominated with long speeches and
a big circus demonstration with big Fosco signs on sticks, confetti,
and freon horns, passed out by Warren Miller. Jack takes two freon
cannisters and empties them in my face and throws confetti at
me and Fred.
Bill Gerhard, my business agent,parades
around with a Fosco sign. Apparently if you steal enough money
you become very popular with convention delegates.
Before all this. when Coia announced that
we would proceed with the election, he stated, in the most literate
way I ever heard him talk "We must protect this labor organization
from its enemies from without and from within." (Direct quote
from U.S. Labor Party nut cult).
As things settled down, Coia began calling
"Are there any other nominations? Are there any other nominations?"
A sgt at arms had positioned himself between me and Fred and the
podium, blocking the view.
We began yelling " Mr.Chairman, Mr.Chairman"
and trying to squeeze out of behind the table to get to a microphone.
(See convention rules re getting recognized).
When we got to the nearest microphone, it
was not there (removed by a sgt at arms?)
Connerton is arguing with Coia, who says
nominations are closed. Delegates are calling for nominations
Coia says "Will the delegate get to
a microphone?" What a first class bastard this guy must be.
There is another microphone up the isle so
I head for that one, My way s blocked by sgts at arms and delegates.
One of the sgts at arms stands on my foot and says "You little
motherfucker, why don't you get the fuck out of here," He
shoves me back and starts a kicking, punching, shoving and tearing
melee with about 20 guys doing the punching, etc. and me trying
to get out of it.
Fred is watching and so is the Iowa delegation.
Other sgts at arms break this up (at Connerton's order?) and I
get back to other mic which has re-appeared (at Connerton's order?).
Me and Fred are now surrounded with sgts
at arms and about fifty delegate milling around. Coia says "Will
the delegate get to the microphone? What does the delegate wish
to speak on?" "I wish to make a nomination for President"
, I say "Nominations are closed. You're out of order"
There is more discussion with Connerton.
Coia says "I have been informed the nominations are still
open. State your nomination."
Much loud booing and catcalls,
A sgt at arms brings me my glasses (knocked
off during melee).
"For general president of this great
Union I wish to nominate Chris White of Local 942 in Fairbanks,
Alaska. He has been an active and loyal member for ten years and
in the spirit of Congressman Clay's speech of yesterday I think
its time we returned to the traditions this labor movement was
founded on and to do that we need new blood. As congressman Clay pointed out "Its not the man, its the
plan and its not the rap , its the map".
Coia says "Those last remarks are out of order. Is there a
second?" Fred Seconds. A sgt at arms
asks for and writes down our names. Coia - "Are there any
other nominations?" Fred nominates me and I second. We are
escorted back to our seats amid a loud chorus of boos and epithats.
I realize I have shit my pants.
I am taken by John Abbot to the front to
have my credentials checked.Other sgts at arms go also. I am pushed
and cussed at repeatedly
We parade back and forth in front of the
podium three times. (Purpose?)
It is then decided to have our credentials
checked in a room outside the hall so I am escorted there amid
more boos and cussing and shoving.There I see Angelo Fosco and
he cannot look me in the face.
While we are waiting to have our credentials
checked, Steve Piper of #353 in Des Moines, comes by and warns
me that I should be very careful that night because some people
are trying to get us. The sgts at arms at this point are trying
to be friendly.
Connerton comes by and tells them to protect
us and tries to console me saying everything is just fine and
democracy is really working.(??)
I tell the credentials committee that it
is absurd to say or imply that I am anti -Union as the U.S, Labor
Party nut fascists claim and apparently many delegates believe.
I cite my long record of service to the labor
movement. There are no comments. We proceed back into the hall,
amid pushing, various threats, name calling and cussing,
The roll call proceeds with Chris being disqualified
for not being a delegate. Head sgt at arms comes by and repeats
five times to the delegates around me and Fred "Don't hit'em".
Just previous to this the Iowa Delegation walks out , not wishing
to be associated with us,apparently. There are now five sgts at
arms guarding us and we have all the seats we need.
Abbot says we should leave town for our own
good, "Go drink some cold beers,". Many people, including
Fred try to talk me into conceding but we have to establish how
foolish a roll call is especially if all the offices were contested.
We proved that it would take a minimum of
50 hours to run an election with a roll call. Connerton and Bernstein
come by the table and I tell them how messed up the administration
has the union,
They try to claim everything is fine and
that I am proving that democracy works in the Laborers Union.(??)
Fred leaves to go get our stuff out of the hotel and check out
because we don't feel it is safe to stay at the Diplomat anymore,
Connerton says he cannot help it if some
delegates don't like us, Fred gets our belongings with some sgts
at arms and calls me out of the hall. The ma+erials I leave behind
are eventually stolen , I get escorted out of the hall with eight
sgts at arms and two police. We go to the Hotel security office
where I talk to Fred who is scared.
Fred wants to leave town immediatly if not
sooner. Connerton and Bernstein show up and begin a long attempt
to get us to stay at the convention. They offer 24 hr protection,
use of their car, sleeping in their hotel room, dinner out on
the town, and a flight to Solidarity Day. (That is correct, an
airplane flight to Solidarity Day) "And anything else we
want," - repeatedly. I get the impression these guys have
no idea what solidarity means,
Two Hollywood police officer talk to us and
say they themselves are very frightened and they could not protect
us if they had the entire 50 person police force on hand and what
did we do to get these people so angry at us? "They each
want a piece of you guys." "Leave town for our and your
own good' before a riot breaks out and we can't control it."
"All the delegates have been drinking
you know while the vote is going on," The police leave and
Connerton and Bernstein return and again try to convince us to
not be afraid. "We will see you are protected."
Fred and I remain unconvinced since the protection
offered is the same folks who attacked us. I tell Connerton I
will call him later with our decision. (We later decide it is
to risky to return even though we want to argue in favor of our
During this conversation, the head of hotel
security, Chris, and Dick keep saying we should leave the hotel.
Every time they knock on the door, Connerton and Bernstein try
harder to get us to remain under their protection. They repeatedly
ask us to not go to the press or TV and to not make an issue out
of what has happened,
"Everything will be fine. You have proved
that democracy is working"(??) We are escorted out a back
door, down the freight elevator and out the basement door, into
our cars, and escorted to the street. We spent the next two days
writing our notes up and talking to the Labor Dept. We know we
will be back someday.
no agenda handed out - impossible to find
out where committee- meeting and when
Fosco's keynote speech recommends "that
you call home to see that your local is represented at Solidarity
Day." Besides the impossible logistics of this on such a
short notice, how would the money be authorized if the reps were
in Florida and there was no meeting for the membership?
Fosco also says "a handful people are
trying to destroy my life" (??)
The sgts at arms all acted with discipline,
from physically attacking us to protecting us - indicating that
they .also had orders to hassle and attack us.
The press was excluded until the fourth day.
(after the election)
Labor Dept. has much of this information
and testimony of other dissidents who were at the convention