July 24, 1996
These bogus proceedings against the Laborers'
International Union of North America (LIUNA) are nothing more
than retaliation for the new voice that America's unions are creating
for working families. This isn't the first time that the Gingrich
Republican House leadership has tried to silence those who speak
out against them -- but their bully tactics will not fool the
public or deter us from exposing their attacks on working families.
These hearings are an ugly and gross abuse
of government authority. It is only the latest chapter in the
organized smear campaign against union leaders by the House Republican
leadership - - an attempt to divert public attention away from
the Republicans' core agenda: cutting Medicare and education,
giving tax breaks to the wealthy, and reducing environmental and
workplace safety protection.
Laborers President Arthur Coia has been an
acknowledged leader in fighting for change, for a stronger labor
movement, for real health and safety on the job, for more aggressive
organizing, and for cleaning up corruption wherever he could find
it. Coia and the Laborers union should be applauded for their
bold actions to crack down on the last vestiges of mob control
in their union -- not witch-hunted because of past problems and
their current opposition to Gingrich's attacks on working families.
These hearings are not legitimate legislative
activity. They are a naked political payback -- conducted at taxpayer
expense -- to try to punish all of America's unions for telling
it like it is on Medicare, tax cuts for the rich and the minimum
In contrast to our use of private money to protest their cuts in Medicare, worker safety and college loans, Subcommittee Chairman Bill McCollum's use of tax dollars to underwrite the House leadership's private vendetta campaign against America's unions is a clear abuse of congressional power.