Labor & Racism: Construction Trades

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Aug 30 13:30:12 MDT 1996

At 1:42 PM 8/30/96, Louis R Godena wrote:

>The reform
>movement in the Laborers is pretty much taken up with fighting the Coia
>family in Providence,  and the mafia--like grip with which they wield power.

One of the many reasons the Democrats are such a disgrace is that they
embrace, protect, and depend on the likes of (allegedly) corrupt hacks like
Coia. As long as this is the face of organized labor, it's no wonder that
the U.S. working class has so little faith in them.

Speaking of hacks and corruption, we should pay more attention to the
history of John Sweeney, who is supposed to lead the revitalization of the
AFL-CIO. Now it may be that Sweeney's ascendancy has unleashed forces
beyond his control - that a new spirit and new blood could transform U.S.
unions from below. God knows how badly we need that. But Sweeney himself
comes out of the infamous local 32B-32J, the New York City building
workers, led by the dreadful Gus Bevona. Bevona pays himself vastly and is
almost never seen in public. The union has millions in dues income, but
when the workers struck last winter (with no effort at broader mobilization
on Bevona's part), they had no strike fund. It's said that they don't
really own the building they claim to own. There are frequent reports of
business agents selling jobs. Rumors are that indictments are likely soon,
and that Sweeney may somehow be caught up in the mess. 32B-32J is American
labor at about its worst, and Sweeney is its product.



Doug Henwood
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax
email: <dhenwood at>
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