Serial No. 105-125


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce

Table of contents *










Appendix a - written statement of the honorable harris fawell, chairman, subcommittee on employee-employer relations, committee on education and the workforce, u.s. house of representatives *

Appendix b - written statement of the honorable donald payne, ranking member, subcommittee on employee-employer relations, committee on education and the workforce, u.s. house of representatives *

Appendix c - written statement of herman benson, founder and former executive director, association for union democracy, brooklyn, new york *




Thursday, June 25, 1998



The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:07 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Harris W. Fawell [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Fawell, Petri, Ballenger, Payne, McCarthy, and Tierney.

Staff present: Mark Rodgers, Workplace Policy Coordinator; Lauren Fuller, Chief Investigator; Peter Gunas, Professional Staff Member; Rob Green, Professional Staff Member; David Frank, Professional Staff Member; Rob Borden, Professional Staff Member; Bill McCarthy, Press Secretary; Marjorie Wasson, Staff Assistant; Britt Rife, Intern; Peter Rutledge, Senior Legislative Associate; Brian Kennedy, Labor Coordinator/Counsel; Patricia Crawford, Legislative Associate; and Shannon McNulty, Staff Assistant.


Chairman Fawell. [presiding] The Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee will come to order and good morning, or I should say good afternoon. Welcome all of you witnesses who are taking time from your schedule to be with us.



Today, the subcommittee undertakes the second in an ongoing series of bipartisan hearings looking at impediments to union democracy. Our first hearing last month began the process of taking testimony from officials and members of local unions from across the Nation, including those from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, regarding the problems they're having in retaining a full and equal and democratic voice in their union affairs.

As I explained at our first hearing, the term "union democracy" embodies all of the rights granted to rank-and-file union members by the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, the LMRDA, or as it is commonly called after its sponsors, the Landrum-Griffin Act.

The subcommittee was privileged to receive an overview of the Landrum-Griffin Act last month from Professor Clyde Summers who helped draft the act at the encouragement of then Senator John Kennedy, and for those who missed the first hearing, let me briefly mention the five basic rights the act protects. They are, loosely stated, the right to financial information of the union; the right of free speech and assembly, including broad protection to speak out against union policies and officers; the right to participate in decision-making, including the right to nominate candidates and vote in union elections; the right to fair and honest elections; and the right to impose fiduciary obligations upon union officers, particularly in regard to the use of union funds.

I think we'd all agree that authoritarian control of unions is contrary to the spirit, the traditions and the principles that should guide the labor movement. The Landrum-Griffin Act recognizes that unions derive their strength from the democratic rights of rank-and-file membership. The subcommittee continues to hear stories alleging violations of these rights, and it is my intention that this series of hearings will identify, if necessary, areas in which the act could be improved or, perhaps, better enforced.

The subcommittee's focus today is upon the membership's right to vote upon union affairs, and for union officers in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. We're privileged to have, today, as a joint witness of the majority and the minority, Mr. Douglas McCarron, general president of the Carpenters. Mr. McCarron is undertaking a nationwide restructuring of the Carpenters' Union, a plan that, according to one Business Week article, other union leaders are watching closely. That could be good or bad; I'm not quite sure. To quote the general president from that article, "We have a product to deliver, and we have to do it more efficiently."

The restructuring, however, is not without its critics. It has led to the dissolving and merging of certain carpenters' local unions which has not sat well with many rank-and-file members. Also testifying today will be members of the local unions from Michigan and New York who object to the restructuring and feel that a democratic right to vote on the changes has been violated. They also object to the laws of local autonomy resulting from Mr. McCarron's, quote, "streamlining" end of quote and feel he is consolidating his power at the expense of the will of the rank-and-file. We also will hear, today, allegations of physical assault in retaliation against Carpenters' members for opposing the reorganization plans.

The subcommittee is not here to take sides. We're here to listen, which is somewhat unique in Washington, and to consider what role, if any, the Landrum-Griffin Act should play in protecting the rank-and-file membership of the Carpenters' Union, and at the conclusion of this series in the labor movement in general.

So, I look forward to today's testimony. Let me say at the outset that I do have some concerns. It appears that so long as a union's constitution is not violated, most any action by union leadership is protected activities. However, regardless of whether the merging and dissolution of local unions violates Landrum-Griffin, I believe we'll hear, today, testimony that raises the questions of whether such action should violate the act.

I'm also particularly interested in the specifics of how the Carpenters' constitution allows this sort of reorganization to occur. Did the constitution have to be amended? If so, was it amended in a democratic fashion? Have any of the rights of the rank-and-file been sacrificed to the reorganization? This is an area, as I've read all the testimony, that is of interest to me. You have roundly being condemned by Professional Summers of any corruption. Obviously, we all condemn that, and then most everybody takes the view that we don't want authoritarianism either. And, then, the question, I guess is, in the restructuring, do we end up with so much authority being exercised that we, again, are trading over the rights, the democratic rights, of the rank-and-file members? I think that appears to be a very key question. I'll be very, very interested in how Mr. Benson analyzes that particular question and just where the Landrum-Griffin law comes or doesn't come into play. Also, how the law doesn't cover the instances where you have the transferring of the authority in power from local unions to the district council, then the rearranging or dissolving of the district council and things of this sort. I find it kind of fascinating that we have this dichotomy between corruption and then trying to change the corruption, do we corrupt when we're trying to take care of the corruption?

Well, it seems to me that a union is not a private, profit-making enterprise, not completely, at any rate. Rather, unions exist to express the will of the membership, and should not necessarily be run as a business enterprise. Unions belong to the members, and the bottom line is the desire of the rank-and-file. On the other hand, truly democratic moves to strengthen and render a voluntary organization more efficient would appear to be positive. The Landrum-Griffin Act is on the books for a reason, and I look forward to what I anticipate will be a healthy give and take as we consider whether the act is doing the job it was intended to accomplish, giving the rank-and-file the tools they need to govern themselves.

[The statement of Mr. Fawell follows:]


Chairman Fawell. Before I briefly introduce the witnesses, I'd like to have the distinguished ranking member from New Jersey, Mr. Payne, to give his opening statement. Again, we have a couple of votes taking place here also: one 15-minute vote and three 5-minutes votes. Mr. Payne, would you like to give your opening statement at this time, and then we will have to declare a recess while we go to do our job of voting? Mr. Payne.



Mr. Payne. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be brief since we are going to run and vote, and, as the chairman said, he's here to listen. I'm here to listen and learn also, and I'll prove it by having a much shorter statement.

I certainly look forward to your testimony. Of course, it probably would be better to have this hearing in the middle of winter with snowstorms and rain, so you could be out there hammering nails. Although, you know, I've been passing a number of housing developments, and I haven't seen a nail or a hammer. I mean, they bring these houses out of a box, and they look_I'm still looking for a nail. I want to see a guy with a hammer. I used to hammer and nail when we built a house. I've looked at these houses, and where are the hammers? Where are the nails? But that's another personal opinion problem I have.

But anyway, this hearing is not about carpenters nailing nails or the lack of it in the new housing, but it is a hearing to clearly frame the inherent intention phase by any democratic organization between the need to operate effectively while still being accountable to its constituents. I used to_in one of the many jobs I had, one was a teacher, and I always felt that downtown, the administrators, the superintendents, they just didn't understand what was going on in the classroom, and we find that out in many kinds of jobs that the maitre d' doesn't understand what the dishwasher's going through in the back in the heat in the kitchen, and, sometimes, evidently, there is a difference of opinion here between the workers and what the guys in headquarters think. But I'm here to listen to try to learn from you.

The formation of any group involves the surrender of individual prerogatives in return for strength afforded by collective action, whether it's a military; whether it's a team, if you're not working collectively together, that's the strength. It's not how good the line is without a good backfield. It's not how good the general is. It's got to be a whole team effort, and sometimes the PFCs have to give up some of their individuality, because they've got to follow behind the sergeants or the second lieutenants, and so we want to see just how this operates here in your union.

In my view, the extent to which individual prerogatives are given up in return for the collective strength is best determined by the parties directly involved, and for outside parties, including the Congress, to try to second guess those decisions is not simply a mistake, but it could jeopardize the right of free association. However, the Congress also has both a duty and a responsibility to ensure that the manner by which those determinations are made are democratic. That is my view, and that's the principal purpose of this hearing today, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.

[The statement of Mr. Payne follows:]


Chairman Fawell. And I thank the gentleman. The Chair will declare a recess for approximately, 20 minutes, if not, a bit longer. We have four votes to cast, so the meeting is adjourned for that period of time.



Chairman Fawell. If the witnesses would come forward? I apologize for that lengthy period of time while we were attending to our votes, but such is the life of a Member of Congress. The bell rings, and like Pavlov's dog, we salivate and go out to vote.

Our first witness today will be Mr. Herman Benson, and, certainly, Mr. Benson is one of the country's foremost experts in the field of union democracy. We were honored to have Professor Clyde Summers with us at the last hearing. Mr. Benson, I know you think a great deal of Professor Summers. In fact, I had the opportunity over the weekend to read an article written by you that lauds Joel Roth - is that the way it is pronounced?


Mr. Benson. Roth.


Chairman Fawell. It also mentions Clyde Summers in the Association for Union Democracy article that talks about the early history of union democracy, which I found to be tremendously interesting. I much appreciate your writing in that regard.


Mr. Benson is founder and former executive director of the Association for Union Democracy in Brooklyn, New York, a foundation formed in 1969 to promote the principles of internal union democracy. He currently serves as the Association's Secretary Treasurer.

Our next witness will be Mr. John Liguori - is that the right pronunciation - of Plainfield, New Jersey. Mr. Liguori has been involved in the organized labor movement for more than 26 years and has been a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters since 1984. He is a former instructor at the Carpenters' Labor Technical College and is currently a member of Local 20 in Staten Island, New York.

Our third witness is Mr. William Lebo of Baldwin, New York. Mr. Lebo joined the Carpenters' Union in 1985 and is a former vice president of the Carpenters' local unit 348. He is now a member of Local 45 and currently is vice president of the New York branch of the Carpenters for Democracy.

Our next witness will be Mr. Clemens Wittekind of Royal Oak, Michigan. Mr. Wittekind has been a Carpenters' Union in the Detroit area for the last 11 years. He was instrumental in starting that area's, "Carpenters for Democracy and Unions," following the dissolution and merger of locals and three district councils in Michigan and the creation of a new Michigan regional council.

Our next witness will be Mr. John Durcan of Wappinger Falls, New York. Mr. Durcan has been a Carpenters' Union member for 18 years and is currently a member of the Local 608 in New York City. He is also a dues paying member of the Carpenters for Union Democracy.

Our next witness will be Mr. Salvester Zarzana of Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Zarzana has been a member of the New York City District Council of Carpenters for 16 years. He was elected business manager and then president of Local 902 in Brooklyn. He was appointed business manager and president of Local 926 when that new local was created out of the dissolved locals of 902 and 296. This month, on June 3rd, the International Union terminated Mr. Zarzana as business manager and local president for, Mr. Zarzana contends, his outspoken opposition to Carpenter's restructuring plan.

We also are pleased to have as our final witness Mr. Douglas McCarron, General President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Mr. McCarron was elected president at the Union's general convention in September of 1995. He took office in November of 1995. He is appearing today as a joint majority, minority witness and will be testifying last at the request of the minority. We thank him for coming before this subcommittee to respond to many of the concerns which have been and will be raised today.

Witnesses appearing before the Committee on Education and the Workforce and its subcommittees are asked to take an oath and promise to tell the truth. Witnesses should be aware that under title 18, section 1620 of the United States Code, lying to Congress while under oath may be prosecuted under the law. In light of this, I would ask that each of you please rise and raise your right hand.

[Witnesses sworn.]

Thank you, and please be seated. Mr. Benson, we'll be pleased now to hear your testimony.




Mr. Benson. What makes our country strong and secure is its democracy. What makes the union movement strong is the involvement of its membership and union democracy, and whatever undermines union democracy undermines and weakens the labor movement. I guess that's my basic thesis.

I'm a retired machinist and toolmaker by trade, and I'm still a member of a fine union, the United Automobile Workers. I began in 1940, and, over the years, I've worked as a member of the United Rebel Workers, the IUEW, the International Union of Electrical Workers, and for at least 40 years, I have been actively concerned with issues of union democracy. During this time, I've been in touch with tens of thousands of unionists; that's individual rank-and-filers, organized caucuses, and elected officials in most major unions in the United States. These are unionists who have faced union democracy problems or have been engaged in battles against organized corruption or authoritarianism and even organized crime in their unions. It's on the basis of this experience that I tried to assess the label of democracy in unions today and some notion of how to strengthen it.

I help found the Association for Union Democracy in 1969. I served as its executive director for many years. I'm still its secretary treasurer, and our AUD is independent, non-partisan, non-political. We serve as a kind of civil liberties organization for the rights of members inside their unions. We don't advocate any special platform or program for the labor movement except for democracy. We're available to support the rights of any union member regardless of its ideology from right, left, or center against abuse from any official, center, left, or right. Our board of directors includes people who are eminent in the field of union democracy law, including Clyde Summers, who was one of your opening witnesses.

We believe that strong labor unions are an essential element in American democracy. They protect workers against abuse by employers; they defend an American standard of living; they defend seniority rights for workers, for pensions, for unemployment insurance, but to fulfill its role in the most effective manner, the labor movement has to guarantee to its own members the same rights that it advocates in society at large. We believe that union democracy will strengthen the labor movement as a force for democracy in the Nation.

In this connection, we help to enforce the rights written into the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, like the rights of free speech, free press, free assembly, and the LMRDA has been absolutely indispensable in strengthening union democracy since 1959. Before LMRDA, union members were expelled for criticizing their officers, usually on trumped up charges of slander. They could be expelled from the union merely for suing in court or going before authorized Government administrative agencies. They could even be expelled from their unions for circulating petitions within inside their own unions.

Now, all of that is illegal because of the basic rights that are written into Federal law under the LMRDA. When the rights of miners were protected under the LMRDA, they were able to get rid of, for the first time, a literally murderous official, one who was guilty of murdering Jock Yablonski. When the rights of teamsters were protected by the LMRDA, they were able to break the grip of organized crime over their national office. And there are many other illustrations of that same tendency in the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, the Masters and Nation's Pilots and others that I could mention.

However, there is still a long way to go. The law itself has certain weaknesses that have to be corrected, and I would like to enter into the record, if I may, a statement that the AUD had prepared for the Dunlop Commission in which it goes into great detail on how the law for union democracy could be strengthened, and if the chairman permits, I would like to have that entered into the record. Your counsel, Lauren Fuller, has a copy of that statement.


Chairman Fawell. Fine, and, without objection, it shall be a part of the record.


Mr. Benson. The U.S. Labor Department has been erratic and weak and undependable as an enforcement agency, and the law has hardly even touched the basic problem in the construction trades where it is safer in many unions. It's safer to criticize the President of the United States than it is to criticize your own business agent. In some unions, workers are still black-listed and deprived of work or threatened or beaten for criticizing their union officials. Local police look on violence in the union hall in the same way they used to look upon, and maybe still do, violence in the home, as a family affair.

The Labor Department fails to enforce section 610 of the Labor Management and Reporting Disclosure Act which is supposed to protect union members from violence and the threat of violence for exercising their rights under the law. Section 105 of the Landrum-Griffin Act which provides, very simply, that unions are supposed to inform their members of the provisions of this act. That section is completely, totally, and permanently violated and never enforced. It remains ignored, violated, and unenforced. Not one single union is in compliance with section 105 of the LMRDA.

Many unions still enforce dependence provisions which bar over 90 percent of their members from running for office despite court decisions which would render those provisions void. Public employees' unions which organize workers in State and local governments and represent an increasing section of the labor movement are totally unprotected by the provisions of LMRDA.

Trusteeships are still imposed on various pretexts to suppress critics. The U.S. Labor Department has never challenged a trusteeship until 18 months has elapsed. The law provides that a trusteeship is presumed valid for 18 months. The Labor Department has never challenged a trusteeship until that 18 months has expired and in one instance, the Painters' Union, even when a Federal judge found that a trusteeship had been imposed for the specific purpose of defending a criminal and corrupt official in that union, the Labor Department recommended to the judge that that trusteeship be continued and its validity be presumed for 18 months. The judge overruled the Labor Department; looked at the trusteeship, and ordered a federally supervised election. That was many years ago, but that policy of the Labor Department remains unchanged. I think I'm wondering if it's any clearer here. I don't think the Labor Department has ever in a single instance in its whole history challenged any trusteeship until 18 months have expired.

In conclusion, and I see the red light is on here, I would just like to add one quintessential consideration for your committee: union democracy does mean a strong labor movement, but, conversely, you will never have robust union democracy unless unions are secure and members are aware of that fact. We know that if our country is secure, the Nation's democracy prospers, but when the Nation is under attack, democracy suffers, and, similarly, when union members fear that their unions are under attack and in danger, they will rally around their officers, good or bad, and they are not likely to permit even justified criticism of even the worst officials. In that sense, impediments to strong unionism will surely become impediments to union democracy. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Benson follows:]

STATEMENT OF HERMAN BENSON, Founder and Former Executive Director Association for Union Democracy, BRROKLYN, NEW YORK - SEE APPENDIX C

[The information follows:]


Chairman Fawell. And I, again, thank you very much, and thank you for your long history of support for the labor movement. I think you certainly have to be commended for all you have done for the labor movement over the years. Mr. Liguori.




Mr. Liguori. Good afternoon.


Chairman Fawell. I do want to remind folks we apologize to a degree that we have these time constraints. You can look at those three little lights there, the green and then the yellow shows caution, and then the red. We never have anybody come out with a shepherds crook, though, and pull you out, so do proceed.


Mr. Liguori. On June 25th in 1996, the International Carpenters and Joiners of America, otherwise known as the International, under the direction of Douglas McCarron ordered the emergency takeover of the New York District Council. The takeover happened in the middle of the night with no warning or due process. Armed guards along with representatives of the International took possession of our building, and then the International removed our duly elected officers of which I was privileged to vote for in the first referendum election held for district council officers in my union's history. The election was also certified and supervised by a federally appointed investigating review officer, Kenneth Conboy. On July 18th, I, along with 22 other instructors of the Labor Technical School, were fired one week after the hearings on July 10th and 11th of 1996 held by the International concerning the emergency removal of our elected officers. On the 24th, by the order of the U.S. southern district court of New York, special hearings were set up. However, unlike the International's orchestrated hearings, they were not open to the membership. These hearings were closed, and I, along with the other 22 members, were escorted out by these armed guards.

The takeover of the New York District Council was met with verbal opposition both at union and public hearings. The supervisor responded by firing those employees of the district council who testified in opposition of this trusteeship. Dismissed members filed numerous charges with the National Labor Relations Board only to be met with stonewalling tactics and what appeared to be a prejudice bureaucracy.

In August of 1996, angry members gathered to protest in front of the offices of the district council. The supervisor responded by sending a message to all the business agents to tell their shop stewards that if they participated in this demonstration they would be replaced as shop stewards. To seal this chilling effect placed upon the members of free expression on the day of the demonstration, the supervisor videotaped the demonstration in plain view of the participants. Those who dared speak out were identified. As the 1996 labor day approached, the pressure to silence this opposition was again done. The Attorney General ordered the district council to send a message down to the business agents that if they didn't stop their rank-and-file members from demonstration at this labor day thing, they would find out who the boss was.

Horrified at these unprecedented stop attacks, the International and several members, including myself, met with the idea of creating the organization of rank-and-file members in the effort to inform the membership of our union that the International along with the investigating review officer, Kenneth Conboy, were acting in a manner that we believe that was detrimental and irreparable harm to the New York District Council of Carpenters.

The name of the group was to become known as the Carpenters for Democracy. In the first weeks of 1997, the Carpenters for Democracy filed complaints with the Secretary of Labor alleging the International had violated the perfunctory standard, and the treatment standard, by disbanding the negotiating committee of the district council and by renegotiating contracts bylaws of the district council in violation of our constitution which requires delicate approval. In addition, the complaint charges the International violated the provisions of the Labor Management Disclosure Act, which forbids the transfer of funds of a subordinate body under trusteeship by the trustee with the exception of the per capita tax by renegotiating contracts that impose the 6 cents per hour reduction for a supplemental fund held by the International. Efforts of the Department of Labor to interview union members were stymied when union employees were threatened with termination if they spoke to the Department of Labor investigators.

The New York District Council, the only district council which because of the consent decree had elected its leaders under the democratic principles of "one man, one vote" has met the same fate as its sister unions in California, Michigan, Nevada, New England, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. These new bylaws shift the power of governance and self-determination from the local union and from the members and centralize authority in regional councils whose members are hand-picked McCarron appointees.

As an example, all representatives, business agents, and organizers working in the jurisdiction of the council should be employed by and placed under the supervision and direction of the executive secretary treasurer of the council. The locals shall not be allowed to employ anyone other than clerical workers. All dues collected by the local unions shall be forwarded to the executive secretary treasurer of the regional council.

The reorganization of the New York District Council, as in other district councils throughout the country, bears a disturbing resemblance to what the government in Beijing had planned for Hong Kong after it took control. As reported in the New York Times, China has already chosen a provisional legislation to replace the current elected one. The provisional legislator is already passing laws including a decision to scrap parts of 2992, ordinances incorporate a Hong Kong bill of rights drafted after the 1989 crackdown on democracy in Beijing. Thus, the appearance that democracy is created is controlled by the appointment from above rather than elections from below. This is precisely the type of Beijing democracy that McCarron has imposed on our union throughout this country and that he is in the process of imposing on the New York District Council.

In closing, it's ironic that I would leave you with these two quotes: "Members of the Carpenters' Union have a fundamental right to a democratic governance. One of the stated purposes of the consent decree is to ensure that local unions are maintained and run democratically. There can be no democracy without fair, open elections." This was written by Kenneth Conboy, the IRO, in a 1994 advisory message to the New York District Council. The second quote is "No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent. When a man governs himself, this is self governing. When he governs himself and also governs another man, then this is more than self governing; that is step position. Our reliance in love of liberty which God has planted in us are defenses in spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men in all lands everywhere. Those who do not heed unto others deserve not for themselves under a just God cannot relent long retaining." This was written by what Abraham Lincoln and printed in our most recent edition of our International Carpenter newspaper. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Liguori follows:]

Written Statement of Mr. John Liguori, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, Local 20, Plainfield, New Jersey - see appendix e


Chairman Fawell. And I thank you very much, Mr. Liguori. Mr. Lebo.





Mr. Liguori. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Congressmen, Congresswoman. I started in construction in 1977 with a house frame on Long Island. In 1985, I joined the Carpenters' Union. Since then, I've worked in many phases of carpentry. I've been a worker, a foreman, a super, and a shop steward. I've been the Vice President of a local union, and I'm now the Vice President of Carpenters for Democracy of New York City.

I want you to understand I'm not here today to hurt my union but to help it regain or gain its democratic governance by its rank-and-file membership. In June of 1996, our International President placed our district council into trusteeship. I believed at the time the UBC had come to help our district council rid itself of mob influence but have since learned there was much more to Douglas McCarron's motives than helping the working carpenter.

I also would like to mention before I go any further that our Council is under a consent decree with the U.S. Government, and the UBC was assisted by the IRO, Kenneth Conboy to obtain the trusteeship. I also would like to note the IRO's tenure under the consent decree was about to expire at the time UBC took over the Council. The UBC extended its tenure at the time of the takeover at a cost of $65,000 a month. Ever since, the IRO has been writing shining reports to the court regarding Mr. McCarron's actions, and it seems every time he writes a report he get another extension of his tenure. Just recently, in June, his tenure again expired in time for a court battle we are having with the UBC regarding elections the trusteeship. Again, he wrote a shining report and again he got an extension; this time for one year on a bill as necessary basis plus expenses. In my opinion, this shows collusion and corruption between the IRO and the UBC.

Douglas McCarron has been taking over district councils throughout the United States as well as Canada and merging them and the local unions without a vote or the membership's consent and forming what he and the UBC Constitution call Regional Councils. I believe the New York City District Council's takeover had less to do with fighting corruption and more to do with Douglas McCarron's methodical creation of his personal and publicized goal of restructuring our union which is no more than a building of his own private empire.

In New York, it seems corruption in the form of members being intimidated into submission is at its worse. Men and women are in fear of losing their jobs or of being brought up bogus union charges as I was. In April of 1997, at my local union meeting, I seconded a motion to hold elections for our local union officers regardless of the fact that the UBC's position was opposed to this. The elections were never to take place, and charges were filed against me on May 12, 1997 for seconding that motion. I have submitted copies of these charges to your committee.

These charges were causing dissention; advocating separation; improper harassment of any member of the United Brotherhood violating the obligation and violating section 34 which are the duties of the Vice President. This is not even a charge in our Constitution. A trial on these charges were held on March 19, 1998, nearly a year later, and after the UBC had won a court battle against the New York local unions that are opposed to Mr. McCarron's restructuring plan. The trial committee which was appointed by the UBC and consisted of members who were appointed by the UBC, the paying jobs in the district council and local unions as business agents, organizers, officers, and shop stewards. This court found me guilty of all the charges, of course, and fined me a maximum of each, totalling $1,500. These charges and the fines were no more than one of the many intimidation tactics the UBC has been inflicting on our membership. I have become a major target because of my letter writing and my outspokenness, as well as that I am one of the leaders of the New York City Carpenters for Democracy.

Our dissident group, the UBC cronies and the Federal court-appointed IRO, the honorable Kenneth Conboy, holds meetings monthly and sometimes bi-monthly. The UBC's people have taken steps to intimidate our members so they would be afraid to come to our meetings. A business agent has been told by the UBC's daily supervisor of the New York City District Council that if said agent's local union officers were seen at our meeting again, they would be removed, and that if he couldn't keep his people, quote, "in line," unquote, he would lose his job as well. Another member from a different local was told by his business manager that if he went to our meetings he would never be a shop steward again. Another member who got involved and became an officer of our organization and who is a wounded Vietnam War veteran was removed as a shop steward from his job by the UBC's cronies for bogus reasons. He has since filed suit against the council with the National Labor's Relations Board and filed union charges against the UBC's appointee who removed him.

All the affirmation parties have contacted the Department of Labor as well as the court-appointed IRO about these violations but, to date, have received no relief. I and my attorney have written complaints to the United States Attorney, Mary Jo White about this, as well as the Honorable Judge Charles Essay, Jr. who rules on the consent decree our council is under, and, to date, we have received no answer or any form of relief.

The United States Constitution guarantees every America citizen the right to freedom of speech and assembly. The Landrum-Griffin Act and the Bill of Rights for members of labor organizations within also guarantees us these rights and is supposed to protect us from this intimidation that is no less than labor racketeering, yet it goes on, and it goes unchecked.

Many members are afraid to come forward, not just in New York but all around the United States of America for fear of being blackballed by the UBC's appointed army. This is well demonstrated by a letter of complaint of the UBC's actions in an issue of Hard Hat News from a member from Ohio who signs anonymous for fear of reprisals. I have submitted a copy of this to your committee.

I have been brought on charges. I've had my life threatened, and I was physically attacked during a local union meeting by beneficiaries of the UBC's dictatorship in front of the IRO's agent, Jack Mitchell. I cannot and will not give in to this intimidation, but I and others like me are the exception not the rule. Rank-and-file members have no internal remedies to fight this. It seems as if the Department of Labor has turned its back on our membership in favor of the leadership who controls our money and political assets. It even seems as if Lady Justice is not only blind, but deaf as well.

Mr. McCarron and his cohorts who include construction bigs Ronald Tutor, Bob Georgine, and investment magnet, Richard C. Blum, who is Senator Diane Feinstein's husband, are doing very well for themselves by investing our pension and annuity money in real estate and construction investments. McCarron, Tutor, and Blum are all on the board of directors of PRE Corporation, one of the largest construction funds in the United States of America. For Mr. McCarron to be on that board of a contract seems to be a direct conflict of interest. How can he represent the worker to the boss if he is the boss? Also, I would like you to know within the last election year in California the inordinate amount of money that was paid to Richard C. Blum for his work investing their money was a way of steering union funds to his wife's campaign. I believe the amount was in the area of $4 million.

I ask Congress to close the gaps in the LMRDA that allows a union's constitution to overwrite. I ask that the Congress do away with delegate bodies in the LMRDA in favor of the "one man, one vote" referendums. We have no say in our union affairs and governance. Lastly, I ask the Democrats to start thinking about the workers instead of the union boss. It is after all the workers' money that the union bosses have been giving you for your campaign funds.

The Landrum-Griffin bill passed on the floor of the Senate 90 to 1 on April 25th, 1959. The House adopted the bill on August 6, 1959. Today, we stand before you in 1998, some 39 years later, asking you to help us get those same rights back. Our country prides itself on its democracy. We send our children to war to fight and die protecting the democracy of people worldwide. Our President will appraise their governments for their newfound democracy and yet allows his fellow Americans to suffer under a dictatorship such as the one we face.

I find it hard to believe our Government has led its own people in our county's labor organizations like ours fall prey to this corruption and autocratic rule, yet our union's democracy is gone. One man has complete autocratic rule even though Congress passed the Illinois VA and the Bill of Rights for members of labor organizations within in 1959. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Lebo follows:]


written STATEMENT OF WILLIAM S. LEBO, CARPENTERS FOR UNION DEMOCRACY, baldwin new york - see appendix f


Chairman Fawell. And I thank you very much, Mr. Lebo. Mr. Wittekind.




Mr. Wittekind. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Congressmen, Congresswoman. My name is Clemens Wittekind. I've been a union carpenter for about 11 years. Since the restructuring of the Carpenters' Union in 1996, I've become more and more active and involved in my union. I've called for the formation of a group, called Carpenters for Democracy and Unions. Many groups like this, obviously, exist within the carpenters as well as other unions throughout the country.

Two of the most dominant reasons I found why there's some protest in the Carpenters' Union has been the method that the International uses to dictate and execute the restructuring and the new structures themselves. To clarify, I must state here, I'm not opposed to, and most brothers and sisters of mine, are not opposed to, in general, restructuring our union. We need to change with the times as well as businesses do.

To summarize what happened in Michigan - in the middle of a highly contested election campaign our International leadership closed almost all locals in Michigan and the three district councils. Then one of the candidates in the race, Mr. Walter Mayberry, was appointed executive secretary treasurer of the new Michigan Regional Council. After several months, we had elections, but the new bylaws now nearly put all the powers in the Executive Treasurer's hands. For an example, the working dues structure which could be adjusted every year that the delegates also need to vote on, but all of the collective bargaining and the appointments for those committees is done by the Executive Tresurer; also, the appointment of trustees for all employer union trust funds, organizers and business agents, are all appointed by the Executive Secretary Treasurer.

Of course, I want to recognize some of the improvements in services that have been made by the reorganization. Operations have been streamlined; benefits have been improved, and organizing members is a major priority. Nobody disputes those needed changes.

In summary, I want to just stress some of the important issues that are most important to rank-and-file members. Our right to vote - any kind of involvement in elections by the upper level of unions is, in my opinion, questionable. Restructuring needs desperately the support of local members. Most power is now removed from the local level, therefore, it is imperative to have elections for officers for those intermediate bodies, because the Landrum-Griffin Act specifically states that those elections should be held on the local level. The locals were at that time having their own power to negotiate contracts as well as hire and supervise their officials. Any changes in dues or special assessments should require a membership vote, not only the monthly dues that the local is setting. Most of the working dues and special assessments are dictated down from the intermediate bodies or from the delegates.

I want to stress, as Professor Clyde Summers stated in the previous hearing, that the corporate visions of the Landrum-Griffith Act are essential for democracy, but the movement in the United States, the union movement, is changing, and many Americans see the importance for a strong and vital union as a healthy balance against the infinite, more powerful business community. Major reforms are taking place, and the restructuring of unions is needed, but it must come from the members themselves. Real democracy cannot be bottled up and administered; it must grow in the midst of people's hearts and minds. Injustice or the fight for more rights brings solidarity and empowerment which is essential for a vibrant democracy. Even the most democratic structure would become meaningless after the involvement of the people is missing.

Regardless of the outcome of these meetings, the reforms in the labor movement will continue to build stronger unions which I believe everybody at this table is supporting. It is my hope that if any, the improvements in the Landrum-Griffith Act would better enable union members to put more democracy in unions.

In times of less and less Government regulations, I would, of course, oppose any unnecessary restrictions on unions. To work effectively, independent unions are just as important as the democratic procedures within them. Business structures are not democratic and strategic plans to fight unions are not being made public. My point is the following: if changes in the LMRDA would result in weakening the unions instead of strengthening rank-and-file involvement, we would miss a great opportunity, and I don't know what the real agenda about these hearings would be.

One example is the issue of non-collective bargaining funds. The labor movement in its history and now more recently, has never seen its sole purpose being collective bargaining. Unions are the only formidable force to speak for every worker whether union member or not, and most union members support the union's need for political involvement issues that affect living standards in our society.

It's my hope that this is the beginning of your leadership in strengthening union democracy. I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak in front of you.

[The statement of Mr. Wittekind follows:]



Chairman Fawell. And I thank you for your fine remarks. Mr. Durcan.





Mr. Durcan. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, representatives. My name is Jack Durcan. I am a member of Carpenters Local Union 608 in New York City. I have been a member continuously for 18 years. Previously, I was a member of Carpenters Local Union 2163 for approximately 8 years.

As a member of Local Union 608, Mr. Chairman, we work under the watchful eyes of the Statue of Liberty. As an immigrant to this great and blessed land, I came to realize that few of the ideals associated with this great symbol of democracy accrued to me as a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. All or most of my experiences in the Brotherhood conspired to lead me to a single conclusion: that I was working within a system more akin to Eastern Europe of the 1960's than the United States of America. I felt trapped.

And, so, Mr. Chairman, for reasons that I still do not fully understand, I became what is known as a dissident. Dissidents abroad often pay for their ideals with their lives. Dissidents in Local 608 pay for their ideals with their livelihood. To be a dissident in Local Union 608 means that over a 7-year period you will receive only one job referral that lasts longer than 4 weeks before going back to work on the job referral list. Being dissident in Local Union 608 has meant that you are confronted with a complex network of shop stewards, business representatives, and company owners. All conspire together to curry favor with union officials. Being dissident means traveling across the country on two separate occasions to attend general conventions at my own expense and on my own time. Being dissident means publishing an occasional newsletter and distributing it to the members. Being a dissident means examining the financial records of my local union and forcing the officers to forego their luxury automobiles, each of which often costs more than I could earn in a year. Being a dissident means being forced to work for non-union companies because I was denied a fair opportunity to earn a living within the union community and years later being castigated for these same honest efforts to make a living.

But that has changed. Under the proposed reforms, I feel that a system of job allocation will be in place which will insulate me from the vagaries of elected officers. They will not be able to trade my approval for a decent job or punish me for exercising my right to speak freely. I feel that I may have access to an inalienable right_the right to work.

And, so, Mr. Chairman, as a dissident, I am happy to see and hear of the current restructuring proposals from our general president, Douglas J. McCarron. I see the restructuring as a normal regeneration of a democratic institution; an institution which has lost its vitality and its ability to serve the membership. Not least among our difficulties in New York, though not specifically in Local Union 608, is the fact that our District Council was mob-infested to say the least. I would not be here today if I suspected that there exists even a molecule of mob influence associated with any officer or employee of the District Council, which is to say that 40 years of degradation has been undone in one stroke by our general president.

I see this restructuring as a regeneration in terms of efficiency and accountability. A union should service members efficiently to yield the greatest benefits for their dues dollar. Under the restructuring, we have experienced something unheard of in all my previous time in the Brotherhood: a reduction in dues, in some instances by as much as $200 a year per member. Salaries are no longer decided by the executive board of each local union in what amounted to flagrant self-dealing. Salaries are now linked to the wages for journeymen, carpenters, and foremen.

The restructuring program, as I understand it, has a vertically integrated system of accountability as, indeed, any efficient business organization must have. Each local union is no longer a separate fiefdom, within which the business representative is El Supremo, unassailable, and unaccountable to no one. Appointed business representatives can be given assignments on an as-needed basis, and they're held accountable for job performance.

``One man, one vote'' is a cry we hear from those who have lost their privileged positions within the old order. The truth is, ``one man, one vote'' was a form of retail democracy. At the time of our last ``one man, one vote'' election, the presiding president of our District Council, Fred Devine, used the assets of the Pension Fund as his own personal pork barrel to raise benefits and buy votes. At the time of our last ``one man, one vote'' we asked, is this the price that we must pay for democracy if Fred Devine would bankrupt the Pension Fund to get elected? Mr. Devine has since been convicted in six of nine felony charges.

But the real solutions to the long-term problems have been internal not legislative. I'm a dues paying member of the Association for Union Democracy and a great admirer of their ideals, but it is also important to acknowledge the delicate balance between the democratic rights of the membership on one hand and the provision of an efficient service which will improve the quality of our lives. Give us as members a fair and reasonable share of the wealth of this great country as well as a just reward for our labors.

I think our general president has offered a pragmatic, workable solution to the chaos that we have lived with in New York. The model he has presented for the new council corresponds to a large degree on the very model of Congress itself; a 150-member, informed, deliberative body in whom power is vested. Of this body, 30 percent will have to seek reelection each year. This, to my mind, is far more representative of the membership than the old system of 17 delegates which was in effect a labor cartel. It also provides a reasonable process for decision-making and real checks and balances vis a vis the Executive Committee.

Mr. Chairman, we don't leave our homes, often in the dark hours of early morning, and commune with the gods about democratic rights and such. We build bridges and skyscrapers, houses and homes to provide for our children and to improve their lot by our labors. It is my firm conviction that the present restructuring program will, over the long-term, help us attain these goals.

Mr. Chairman, I'm obviously not a lawyer, but based upon my own personal experience, it was my union which failed to accommodate itself to the changing world, not the law.

We see in this restructuring an effort to modify ourselves; to anticipate changes that are inevitable; to be in a position to properly service our membership over the coming years. To my knowledge, this is the first system-wide reevaluation of our Brotherhood, our goals, and the very reason for our existence.

Mr. Chairman, I have seen the future, or some of it, and I am not alarmed. I feel empowered as an individual. If I feel compelled to speak out, I am confident that under the restructuring program, I will not be victimized again, ever again. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Durcan follows:]





Chairman Fawell. And I thank you, Mr. Durcan. Mr. Zarzana.





Mr. Zarzana. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the panel. My name is Salvester Zarzana, and I've been a member of the District Council of Carpenters for approximately 16 years. Since I've only been allotted 5 minutes to address this committee, I will restrict my comments to a prepared statement and will be happy to answer any questions that the committee may have on my statement.

By way of background, in 1991, I was elected as a trustee of the Executive Board of Local 902. In 1994, I was elected as vice president of the Building Trades Council of the Brooklyn Board of Business Agents. The Brooklyn Board Trades Council is a local umbrella organization which covers most of the building trades, local unions in Brooklyn. As vice president, I was responsible for coordinating and organizing labor activities throughout the borough of Brooklyn.

In November of 1992, I was elected to serve as business manager of Local 902 and reelected as business manager in 1995. In all, I have served approximately 5.5 years as business manager and 2.5 years as president of my local. My responsibilities, among other things, were to run the business affairs of the local union; to collect benefits on behalf of the rank-and-file members; to enforce various provisions of the collective bargaining agreement; to organize the non-union contractors; to handle grievances, jurisdiction disputes, file reports with the District Council. I have devoted between 40 and 70 hours per week to such efforts including weekends.

In the 5.5 years that I served as business manager, I organized approximately 200 contractors. Upon information and belief based upon sole efforts, I have organized more union carpenters than any single business agent in New York City District Council. In 1997, I was named plaintiff in a lawsuit which challenged the validity of the restructuring plan of the UBC, Locals 20 v. the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. During this pendency of the lawsuit, I was threatened by innuendo and disciplinary actions as a result of my opposition to the restructuring plan. In December of 1997, a motion to preliminarily enjoin the restructuring plan was denied, and the restructuring plan was implemented.

In January of 1998, as a result of the UBC plan, local 902 and 926 were dissolved and a new local, called Local 926 was charted for the borough of Brooklyn. I was appointed by the general president of the UBC as the business manager and president. On June 3rd, 1998, my position of business manager and president of the local was terminated by Acting Supervisor of the UBC, James Slebiska and Douglas J. McCarron, President of the UBC, allegedly for a suspended driver's license and gross insubordination. I was terminated despite the fact that I had previously signed the Progressive Disciplinary Charge and Discharge Procedure which provided that I would not be terminated before receiving one oral warning, two written warnings, and one suspension before discharge. I received no warnings, either written or oral, before my discharge.

As this committee is probably aware, the New York City District Council of Carpenters is under a Consent Decree. Under this Consent Decree is mandated that a strict referral list be adhered to in referring carpenters to new job sites. Sometime in May of 1998, I became aware of a blatant violation of these referral rules by an organizer supervised at the direction of the UBC, District Council who circumvented the referral rules, therefore, violated the Consent Decree. I immediately called the matters to the attention of both the District Council and the independent review officer by the court. Soon, thereafter, I was discharged for gross insubordination for not cooperating with the District Council's organizing efforts. This is obviously a lie and total distortion to the truth. Unfortunately, this is but one incident of the pattern of misinformation and abuse of members' rights engaged by the UBC supervision of the District Council.

Since the Council was placed on the international trusteeship on or about June, 1996, the rank-and-files members have been confronted with a number of LMRDA violations including but not limiting to the following: suppression of members' rights, free speech, expression, discharge or disciplinary action without the due process form of a fair hearing and fair trial; selected District Council prosecution of charges initiated by the IRO; and existing supervision or control of the District Council through intimidation, innuendo, threats and immediate termination if one didn't go along with the UBC's program.

To make matters worse, the District Council and the court-appointed IRO appears to be playing ball with General President McCarron, suppressing certain grievances filed by members of the District Council. Specifically, the one instance when Mr. Lebo and a rank-and-file member of Carpenter's Local 45 were threatened for his life at a local meeting attended by assistant, Jack Mitchell only to be requested to withdraw his charges against the member. Of course, Mr. Lebo refused, and the IRO expressed displeasure with Mr. Lebo's rights to be heard, and he charged on.

Further, Mr. McCarron has just offered the IRO, Mr. Conboy, an opportunity to include the fringe benefit funds as part of his duties under the Consent Decree. It is the rank-and-file's belief that this offer to potentially expand Mr. Conboy's responsibility is a pro quo for the IRO looking the other way in respect to blatant violation of membership's rights.

Also, the court has deferred to the discretion of the international unions and the international affairs despite the fact that the protection of the LMRDA has been obliterated by the International. Specifically, constitutional amendments have been passed by delegates at conventions that empower the international unions to exercise virtually a dictatorship and towers over all local unions with judiciary taking a hands-off position. Initially, since the democratic safeguards do not exist now, the local union's autonomy has been eliminated. As a result, there is no system of checks and balance. What I mean by this is in 1992, when I was first elected, if a business representative was grossly mistreated, the member had a right to go to the District Council President, and he had approximately 30 days to have a remedy. If not, he went to the First District President. If not, he then went to the General President, and after all remedies were exhausted, he then went to the Department of Labor and hired a lawyer. Right now, as in my case, I have none of these remedies for the simple fact that Mr. McCarron, Mr. Michelowski, and Mr. James Sliebiska are all one, because they were all appointed by Doug McCarron, so if I hadn't been a fortunate enough person to have the money for a lawyer to take my case to court, then the union, therefore, has no remedies for me to resolve my situation and my unfair and prejudice firing.

In summary, members' rights have been suppressed and politically, aspirations have been denied. The UBC wants to extend supervision over the District Council to permit and to stifle any political opposition to its agenda to obtain total control of New York City and control of approximately $1.4 billion of our benefit funds. My discharge is a direct result of my outspoken efforts to keep the spirit of democracy and its principles alive in the District Council and not to succumb to threats and intimidation by the UBC.

One example of threats is the refusal of the District Council to process medical bills for my son who is about 2 years of age based on their claiming they do not have a copy of my son's birth certificate. I have personally brought this birth certificate to the District Council three times in the last 2 years. My wife was pregnant for 9 months. Who did they think they were paying the bills for?

I urge this committee to strengthen the provisions in the LMRDA by limiting the ability of the internationals to exercise their strength by virtue of international constitutions that have provisions previously adopted by delegates who were empathetic to the interest of the rank-and-file. Specifically, the LMRDA should amend and require the constitutional amendments to govern the rules by "one man, one vote," and to allow the majority to rule the rank-and-file, to initiate constitutional change, and to propose marriages of local unions rather than a delegate body. The rule of the "one man, one vote" should also be extended to the General President elections and officers to replace the present system of the delegate voting system.

Ironically, under the UBC constitution, I can be accused of disloyalty by virtue of this testimony here today, and the General President can actually expel me as a member of the union as a result. However, I am willing to take this risk due to my belief that union democracy should be brought back to the rank-and-file at any cost. I thank you, the members of the panel.

[The statement of Mr. Zarzana follows:]

written statement of Mr. Salvester Zarzana, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, Local 926, Brooklyn, New York - see appendix i


Chairman Fawell. I thank you very much for your testimony. Mr. McCarron.





Mr. McCarron. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this subcommittee on employer-employee relations and address the issue before this committee. As president of the Carpenters' Union, I take my members' democratic rights and their participation in the governments of our union seriously.

As a union, we must establish a structure that protects and encourages that participation. We also have a responsibility to provide a structure that operates effectively on their behalf and in the construction market; one that can safeguard our members' economic interests and provide job opportunities.

For more than 30 years, we have witnessed a steady decline in membership and market share. As a union, it's our obligation to address both of these concerns fairly and effectively. To do that, we have undertaken a general restructuring of our international union. Let me be clear, this was initiated in response to a specific region, local, or individual. It was initiated nationwide in response to problems which were hurting our entire membership. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, we have established 65 regional councils that operate on a uniform structure that provides for participation of the effective day-to-day operations.

Over the past 30 years, our industry has become regional, but while the industry changed, we did not. While contractors expanded their range, pursuing work in an area that might encompass several cities or even several States, we were restricted by boundaries and procedures set 50, 75, or even 100 years ago. Without a regional structure to match the industry, the power of the membership became splintered and ineffective.

To safeguard our members' economic interests, we have been compelled to establish a regional structure that looks at the entire construction markets; negotiates on a regional basis, and uses members' dues more effectively. At the same time, our council structure recognizes the democratic rights of our members and encourages meaningful participation in the policy and governments of our union. Members attend meetings; elect officers, and conduct the affairs of their local on a ``one man, one vote'' basis, much as they have always done, but, in addition, they now elect rank-and-file delegates tot their regional council. Those delegates elect council officers; assist in negotiations and ratify contracts, and oversee council operations. The elected delegate body provides active members a meaningful role in the policy decisions of their union.

To ensure an expanded opportunity for rank-and-file participation, the number of delegates is proportional to the local's membership. In New York City, for example, this will now provide representation by more than 150 elected rank-and-file members. Previously, the entire council operated with only 16 delegates, 1 from each local.

Our locals are representative_our councils are a representative democracy, not unlike the system that brings each of you to the House of Representatives. Within the council, delegates debate and decide policy. Their decisions are then implemented by administrative structure that's accountable. Under our previous structure, inattention, comfort and status quo, and personal interest resulted in ineffectiveness at best, and too often squelch debate.

While the direct democracy of the local union hall, which some of our critics insist on is a democratic ideal, in practice, the system too frequently resembles ward healing at its worst. Let me explain. It is a business agent's job to represent the interests of every member, but in a local of 1,500 members, only a few hundred vote regularly. It's easy to see how the needs of a few men who can assure your election, your job, could take priority. Members too busy raising a family to take an active could be largely ignored, and in the worst cases, members who spoke about, again, the system, like Jack Durcan, were punched. They found themselves at the bottom of the work list again and again.

The ward healing system failed American democracy, and it's failed union democracy. It's wrong. Our union has a responsibility to represent every member. As part of the restructuring, we've computerized hiring procedures to ensure that every member has equal to work that they're qualified for.

Members like Jack shouldn't be punished for taking an active role. Under this system, they won't be. Instead, they'll be encouraged to bring their day-to-day concerns to their local's discussions and the council through their elected delegates. As employees of the council, business agents are free to do their job representing the interests of every member without concern about reelection. They get clear policy direction from council delegates and are accountable for doing their jobs. This structure is in place throughout our brotherhood. Wherever possible, we have worked closely with local leaders to ensure a smooth transition. We have encouraged prompt local union and council delegate elections. Most have been completed within a year of restructuring including those in northern California and Michigan where, by the way, far more members voted than before supporting the restructuring. In place like New York, widespread corruption and mob influence left us no choice but to implement the policy.

With most of the legal challenges finally resolved, we've set delegate elections for the fall of next year. That allows us to complete restructuring and ensures safeguards that prevent the return of corruption. In northern California, only 1 of 35 locals opposed restructuring. That restructuring is completed, and delegate elections have been held.

The restructuring of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters was done to protect the interest of the members. It was done entirely within the framework of the union's constitution and Federal law. As different industries vary in character and structure, so must the unions that represent their members in those industries. The representative democracy of elected delegates we've established is well-suited to represent our members and today's construction industry. And in a rough, competitive economy, the union the bargains effectively offers its members the best protection, and any just labor law much allow unions to change themselves with the changing world, and that is what the carpenters have been doing. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. McCarron follows:]


written statement of Mr. Douglas McCarron, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, Washington, D.C. - see appendix j


Chairman Fawell. I thank you very much. We've had the bells go off again. It's not at an appropriate time, because we'd like to go right into the questioning, but we'll have to set that back, and I'll have to estimate that we'd be back here in 20 minutes. So, we'll be adjourned, and this time we might be closer to the 20 minutes, but that's the way it has to be.



Chairman Fawell. I trust we shall have Mr. Payne here, I understand he is on his way, and I don't want to time to get away from us here.

As I've listened to the testimony, it seems to me that workers have a lot of problems having their democratic rights protected under both circumstances where there may be an instance of corruption. Certainly there was in so far as I think the New York City Council is concerned that the Rico statute dictated a case, and, obviously, there was mob influence, and there were problems, but that doesn't mean that, obviously, all the workers were involved. That certainly wasn't true.

I note that, Mr. Benson, you make the statement that we advocate no special platform or program for labor movement apart from democracy, and no one can argue that. And then you say "but to fulfill our role effectively, the labor movement must guarantee its own members in their unions the same democratic rights that it advocates on the outside in society. In short, we believe the union democracy will strengthen the labor movement as it was for democracy in the Nation," and then you refer to unionists who battle against corruption or authoritarianism in their unions. So, it is of interest to me that when you have corruption, you have a lack of democratic rights for the workers, or if there's authoritarianism and the complaints that we've heard today are about authoritarianism, then it's a good cause.

I'm not going to judge on that point, but I notice that Professor Summers, when he testified at the last hearing, had made statements, and I quote, "that intermediate bodies such as joint councils are treated as equivalent. The national unions are left unregulated under Landrum-Griffin. They, in fact perform functions normally performed by local unions. National unions, by restructuring to move functions from the local union to intermediate bodies, can significantly decrease the union member's effective voice in those functions" which I think is what we're hearing from most of the testimony today. And he lamented, too, that direct elections are required only in local unions, I gather, under the Landrum-Griffin, adding, that there was little question that direct elections make union officers more responsive to the members and strengthen the democratic process, and then also lamented in regard to trusteeships under title III are often but, obviously, not always imposed to repress opposition to the national officers and commented that the statute does not reach the device of abolishing local unions or merging them with other local unions without the members' consent.

Would you basically agree with that, and do you agree that we do have a problem in restructuring and in merging and doing away with local unions and elections under the Landrum-Griffin law now as it stands?


Mr. Benson. I think I agree with that most strongly, and I think that testimony here about the Carpenters' Union points it out admirably. I mean, one thing you can say about the testimony here is that's it been very confusing, and there's been a lot to say on both sides, but I think, and there's a lot that shouldn't be said on both sides, but I think the basic fact is this: the Landrum-Griffin Act provides for the direct election of officers of local unions, and the intent of it was that if members have their democratic rights and they're able to control their union, they will be able to do something about abuses including corruption. The members will be able, given their rights to elect their officers, to control abuses within their unions. That is the purpose of the law, and that's why they adopted the direct election of local officers.

Now, what's been happening in the course of this restructuring, and the restructuring that we've been talking about in the Carpenters' Union, is an excellent example of what's happening. What's happening is this: this restructuring system becomes a way of evading that provision of the law. The locals, even when they still remain and they still can elect their officers, are deprived of all their rights to the point where they become mere shells. Whereas, yesterday, they had the right to collective bargaining; they had the right to vote on contracts, they supervised their own grievance procedure, and they elected their own businessmen as business representatives, so that a union leadership had to be in one way or another accountable to this membership which has this direct power. Now that the locals are reduced to a shell and you have a district council set up, an international official now only has to learn how to manipulate a small group of delegates in a small number of district councils. These district councils take over what the powers of the local unions used to be, but they are no longer directly accountable to their membership.

So, what's happened, we're talking not only about the legal aspect of this, there's much more to it in terms of democracy versus efficiency, which I think is a totally false dichotomy, but from a legal point of view, the restructurings being proposed in the construction industry, not only in the carpenters, is a means of evading the provisions of the Landrum-Griffin Act which gives power to their membership in their locals like their officers.


Chairman Fawell. All right. Well, that_


I realize people are deeply interested one way or the other, but if you could just all hold back in your enthusiasm, it would enable us to move along a bit better.

Now, Mr. McCarron, would you care to respond to that statement? It does seem to the Chair that there is some real credence to this observation by a man who certainly is objective and has a long history of respect in the labor movement and union democracy especially. Would you care to comment?


Mr. McCarron. Sure. The International Brotherhood of Carpenters have had district councils prior to the enactment of the Landrum-Griffin Act. I mean, we go way back to the turn of the century with district councils. The form that we're putting in place is representative of democracy. I disagree with making the local_saying that the local unions are just a shell of what they used to be. It really is representative democracy. They elect their officers of the local union, and they elect their delegates to the district council_the rank-and-file do that. And the regionalization of the industry, I think that the district councils have always handled the grievances of the members; they've always handled the collective bargaining of their members going way back prior to Landrum-Griffin.


Chairman Fawell. The District Councils do that?


Mr. McCarron. The District Councils have always done that, yes.


Chairman Fawell. Handled grievances?


Mr. McCarron. Yes.


Chairman Fawell. _and direct collective bargaining?


Mr. McCarron. Yes.


Chairman Fawell. _and determination of dues, is that correct?


Mr. Zarzana. No, that's incorrect, because the District Councils always had a panel, and on that panel with the elected business representatives or delegates of the local would be collective bargaining, contracts would be collectively bargained, and these business representatives would bring it back to their membership, their local membership, for ratification. Okay? On the grievance procedures, the business agents were the ones that the members went to for grievances, and that grievance then would be held at the District Council after the business agent brought it to the attention of the District Council.


Mr. McCarron. Absolutely. The business agent brings it to the District Council, but the grievance procedures is at the District Council, and I'd like to ask when was the last time the rank and file ratified a contract in New York City?


Mr. Zarzana. We ratified it for them, Doug. As a matter of fact, the last time we ratified the contract_let me see, the new contract was in 1996; the one previous to that was 3 years before that in 1993. I sit on the contract negotiating committee with Mr. Devine and about 30 other business representatives, and we went back to our members in our local membership meetings and explained to them what their contract would be, and their guys agreed to the contract. And I believe New York City has the best contract throughout the United States. We've got five across the board.


Chairman Fawell. Mr. Benson, when you say that the local council is reduced to a mere shell, what do you mean by that?


Mr. Benson. Well, for example, if you can elect your officers but you don't have the right to vote on your contracts anymore, and you're not electing your own business agents, you're no longer really in control of your own collective bargaining procedure. That's been given to this body up there which is controlled by a few delegates up there, and whenever you have a few delegates, the International can very comfortably deal with a few delegates, and they no longer have to worry about the membership. So, the local no longer has the basic rights of collective bargaining anymore in our administrative agencies of some kind.


Chairman Fawell. And I gather there are also less District Councils than before, too. Is that correct?


Mr. Benson. Yes, many District Councils, sure. I think in Michigan, as I remember various District Council's have been merged, so it's even easier now. You have a statewide District Council in Michigan so that the member is sitting in Detroit, and somewhere that he doesn't even know, he comes down to his local union hall and it's locked. He thought he had a union yesterday, and he comes down to the hall, his local has now disappeared. The local has disappeared, and he finds locks on the door, and he can't get in anymore, so the union becomes some body far removed from the membership, and the membership is losing its power; that's the whole problem.


Chairman Fawell. And the Landrum-Griffin, basically, at the time it was created, it was zeroing in on the local union as being_


Mr. Benson. Because that was the source of local power. The whole purpose of the Landrum-Griffin Act, even in the rationale, is to give the power to the membership so that they can end abuses in the labor movement. That was the whole purpose of the Landrum-Griffin Act, and in so far as powers taken out of the hands of the membership, the abuses will return. That's another question.

The question is that this restructuring is often put forward as democracy versus efficiency. That is a totally false dichotomy. It's true. I mean, just to give the opposite side of it, the New York District Council was long overdue for something, because the whole construction industry in New York City is one cesspool of corruption. That's one part of our story, but it is not necessary to end the rights of the members in order to end the corruption that exists in a particular, you can restructure, but you can still have the right of members to elect their officers directly. You can restructure and still have the rights of the members to vote on their contracts.

The point is that the restructuring is necessary, and I should say I think Mr. McCarron probably wants to do the right thing, but in addressing himself to real problems, he is eliminating democratic rights and there is no necessity for that in order to establish a more efficient organization.


Mr. McCarron. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to pick up what Mr. Benson said. I think we're increasing the democracy in New York City.


And let me say this: The district council was run before by one delegate from every local, 16 locals; that's how it was run. It went under a consent decree; Judge Conboy ran that consent decree. The election for officer, for the head officer of the district council, was by rank-and-file vote. As I said in my opening statement, the business agents would give out those jobs. They would tell--they didn't want any changes_they would tell their guys, look, these are the guys we want to vote for; this is what we want to happen.

Fred Devine, single guy there, took the pension fund and he upped the unfunded liability of pension fund by over $0.5 billion trying to get elected, took the health and welfare and broke the health and welfare, broke the labor management fund. The apprenticeship fund I believe only had $27,000 in it when we came in, gave patronage jobs to everybody in the apprenticeship program. The health and welfare pension_


Chairman Fawell. I don't think there's any question that there was a very, very, strong opposition in New York District Council.


Mr. McCarron. Okay, my point is the abuse was from one man, that he put all his friends and supporters on the health and welfare and pension plan, over 330 employees where we run life pension benefit funds around the country were 60 to 80. And my point is, if our system was in place in New York City, Fred Devine would not be able to do that. We would have 150 rank-and-file elected district council representatives, delegates to that district council. On the floor of that district council the financial statements every months would have to be read, the delegates would have to approve everybody that was hired on the district council payroll.


Chairman Fawell. All right, my time is long since past here, but I guess the point I wanted to stress is that no matter what process we're talking about_


Mr. Zarzana. Point of privilege, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Fawell. _we would not want to eliminate basic democratic rights and I think what Mr. Benson said, if I got it correctly, is it's not necessary that the rights of the members have to be lost in a restructuring. At the least before you eliminate those rights that there should be membership participation, that's what would bother me a bit. But at this point_


Mr. Zarzana. Point of privilege, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Fawell. Just one more and then I'm going to have to turn the podium over to my good friend from New Jersey.


Mr. Zarzana. Okay, I want to bring up two facts on what Mr. McCarron said. Mr. McCarron said that one man, Fred Devine, was able to corrupt the whole election. Mr. McCarron is one man that has appointed everybody around this country. Now if he is the great white horse and the great white knight on that horse, well, that's fine. But if he isn't, if he's Fred Devine in a taller suit, then we're in for a hell of a time. And that's why this membership does need "one man, one vote'' elections at the general presidency and at the district councils.


Chairman Fawell. The Chair would recognize the gentleman from New Jersey. We can continue this give-and-take here, but we do want to move the podium around.


Mr. Payne. Okay, Jack, continue.


Mr. Durcan. Mr. Chairman, if "one man, one vote" were the savior of democracy in the New York City District Council, how can we account for the fact that Ted Maris has disappeared down the river; Pastor McGinnis was thrown out of New York; Fred Devine was convicted on six of nine counts of fraud? We've had approximately 30 officers of our District Council on constituents' local unions ejected from our organizations or various acts. If "one man, one vote" was the savior of democracy how can we account for these conditions, Mr. Chairman? How can we account for them?

We certainly have in exercise the "one man, one vote" in our own best interest though, for the last 15, 20 or 30 years.


Mr. Zarzana. Point of order, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Payne. It's my time. I know you guys in New York, but, you know, we're the "little apple," let's say, okay? I grew up in the north. So we get along, okay? I don't know if you've been over there but_but, anyway, let you just continue your point and then we'll hear the_go right ahead.


Mr. Durcan. So what the Revered Mr. Herman Benson advocates democratic life as being an absolute end in themselves. I see democratic rights as secondary to, within the context of the labor organization_as maybe not secondary, but at least equal to the obligation of a labor organization to provide collective bargaining agreement for its membership, in other words, provide service to the membership. And I would say that many a member would yield some minor points with regard to its democratic rights in exchange for a fair chance to earn a living.

We're not seeking a perfect theoretical model for the New York City District Council of Carpenters. We're seeking an efficient organization which will negotiate on our behalf, which will render a service, and at the same time not forego our basic democratic rights.


Mr. Payne. I see Mr. Benson is more gentlemanly, but, yes, go ahead, Mr. Benson. You want to respond?


Mr. Benson. Well, can I answer that as well? One of the greatest labor leaders in the United States, a great labor leader in the United States was John L. Lewis. John L. Lewis built, hoped to build, a strong United Mine Workers Union and the basis for his philosophy by maintaining a completely and total authoritarian control over that union, where one man ran that entire union and was in a position to appoint the entire international executive board. And every meeting, every convention of the United Mine Workers Union, the same kind of discussion would take place where John Lewis would say, "Everybody talks about democracy; we're interested in eating, money, efficiency."

While John L. Lewis, with the best of motives, was building this authoritarian efficient structure, beneath him the ones who were really taking power were murderers and crooks. I say this not in a literal fashion because the one who succeeded him was a murderer who killed John Yablonski. And as soon as John L. Lewis retired, the actuality of what was going on behind this efficient authoritarian structure became clear. The union, protected by this authority and structure, was in the control of crooks and murderers.

Now democracy is an essential element in maintaining the working class character of labor unions, to ensure that they represent members and not officials of any kind. That's why democracy, yes, in and of itself, is an important thing. It doesn't mean you have to vote for every postage stamp that is collected. When you come in and you build this efficient structure by undermining the life of the membership, that union leadership is going to be loose from control of the membership and you're on the way to another debased structure.

Let's take a specific, just to take this concretely. Mr. McCarron says that business agents in District Council 9 had control of the jobs and they were blacklisting members. That is absolutely true, in my opinion. This is very widespread in the building trades, which we have not even begun to address here. The solution that Mr. McCarron has is that he or the people that he will control shall appoint these organizations. I fail to see how that corrects the problem. If you give the control of all the jobs in the union, to a business agent over here, you take it from him and you give it to someone that's appointed by Mr. McCarron. I don't see what we have gained by that. The problem is to give the membership the rights in the union so that they can control their business agent and they can run an honest and decent democratic union.


Chairman Fawell. [presiding] Mr. McCarron, would you want to respond to that? You know these allegations that these local unions are giving up the power to new regional councils and that you, the one person, therefore, control these business agents, and so forth. Could you, perhaps_


Mr. McCarron. Yes, first of all, I appoint on an interim basis the officers of the district council. Then they're elected by the rank-and-file delegates that are elected from the local unions to serve in the district council; then they will elect their officers, and that's happened across the country. I want to reiterate that. I appoint those officers for a limited period of time, and across the country, with the exception of New York, most of them have elections within one year after the restructuring.

As far as the job referral system, it will be done under the auspices of the district council. You can take New York City as an example. It will be a computerized dispatch list. If Mr. Durcan's on the list and he thinks that somebody was put out to work before him, he can go down to the district council and the computer can tell him what time the council called the man above him, what time the man called_the dispatcher called the person below him. So it stops the cheating in the job referral instance.

And what's happened in the past, and I think Mr. Benson alluded to it, was that the business agents controlled that job, and if you got crossed with a business agent in New York City like Jack, which Mr. Durcan alluded to in his testimony, you didn't work or you were blacklisted. Under this system, it's cut and dry and you cannot cheat on the out-to-work list.


Mr. Payne. Go ahead, I'll give you the last opportunity because my time has expired.


Mr. Zarzana. Okay, first of all, what Mr. Durcan said about Teddy Maris and Pascal, they were not elected by "one man, one vote." They were elected by a delegate vote. That's just to reiterate that. Also, this delegate vote system creates the same problem Congress had with Jimmy Hoffa. One man controlled a whole union. One man was corrupted by organized crime, which, therefore, all the people that he appointed for this interim period then regained power.


Mr. McCarron appoints these people_like in New York, he has not had an election now for two years. Okay. He doesn't plan on having an election for these delegates until the fall. That's past the LMRDA's requirement time of three years. He is negotiating this time to go past this LMRDA's time period of three years. By that time, he will have all these people in place and he will have silenced the voices that are set against him.

I am one of the people, and to show you about the referral list being on the computer, my son's_and I say this in my statement_my son's birth certificate, my driver's license, and my wife and my marriage certificate, was deleted off the computer. I just went recently and filed to take my annuity money out to pay my mortgage, okay. Now what happened? There was a computer error there? Are we going to say that same computer error cannot happen during the time when this referral list is placed on a computer? Remember a man punches the buttons into that computer. That's what I'd like to say.

Mr. Chairman, as far as his son's_that is the trust fund; it's got nothing to do with the labor management trust fund; it's got nothing to do with the district council. I just want to set that for the record.


Mr. Payne. Okay, thank you very much. I think my time's expired, so I'm going to have to yield back, and I'm sure that the next person will be able to allow you the time but I'm not sure we're going to have another round, but this whole question about, you know, being punitive to those who don't go along with the program_and it's very interesting that we are having this hearing because evidently the leadership of this committee is very concerned about the working members and we're concerned about organized labor, want to see labor stronger. I suppose that's why this hearing is being held.

I just have an interesting_today in the House they're going to deal with the labor_but in an article on the first page of our little local paper Speaker Gingrich is saying anybody who is a Republican who votes with the Democrats should be penalized, knocked off the committees, taken out of committee chairmanship right here. So I just want you to know that you know you don't stand alone. These things happen in unions, happen in politics, happen in school districts. I'll yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. McCarron. Congressman Payne, it's in the testimony but I just want to point it out real quick. You know, Sal stated that in 1997 he went on the lawsuit to stop the international's restructuring in New York City, as the business manager of his local in Brooklyn. And we went through the district court and we won that. After that happened, I appointed Sal as the president of this newly-formed local and he was also a business agent for the district council, appointed business agent. I just want to make it plain to everybody on the panel that there's been no punitive action from the district council as far as the business agents in New York City or the dissidents that were against it to file these lawsuits. Sal was on it. I appointed him as the president of the brand-new structured local and he was also appointed business representative for the district council. So I think that's very important for the panel to understand that.


Mr. Lebo. Can I just address that, Mr. Chairman?


Chairman Fawell. I'd be glad to yield to you in just a second. The Chair will recognize the gentleman from North Carolina if he can_


Mr. Ballenger. Mr. Lebo, let me just make one quick statement and then I'll turn it over to you. Since the gentleman from New Jersey mentioned how Mr. Gingrich said, if you don't vote with us we'll punish you, I've been on this Committee now for 12 years and once upon a time we had a guy named Tim Penny on the Democrat side who had a tendency to vote with us and he didn't stay on the Committee very long. And then we had a gentleman from Arkansas who happened to be a Democrat and voted with us on a regular basis and he didn't stay on the Committee. So this great and wonderful criticism of Newt fits very well in your pocket too.


Now let me turn it over to Mr. Lebo.


Mr. Payne. That was before my time.


Mr. Benson. Now I want to ask Mr. Lebo, he's been holding his hand up for I don't know how long.


Mr. Lebo. Thank you very much. I'd just like to say one quick thing about what Mr. McCarron just said about Sal and hiring him as he did. Sal has become a very good friend of mine for a reason; I respect him. I believe, in my personal opinion, that Sal was fired because they knew he was helping us to get a bus down here for our membership to come down here, so some of these guys could come down here with us. He also donated the money to come down here. He donated the money and they knew it. They knew he was doing this and they also knew that he helped us get the lawyer that's fighting for us. Again, we have another court case contesting our constitution.

Now as far as Mr. McCarron's representative democracy, it's just that, it's representative. It is not democracy in any form. He appoints the officers of the council and the delegates. Now that's directly against the constitution. He's supposed to allow elections as soon as possible or as soon as notices can be sent out. This is not what he's talking about here. He's creating an incumbent administration and that's exactly what he's doing. That administration's going to be very hard to defeat.

Now as far as his delegates go, okay, you take 150 delegates_


Mr. Ballenger. Don't take too long; I've got a couple more questions.


Mr. Lebo. I'm going to do this very quick. As far as 150 delegates are concerned, it sounds highly impressive, 150 delegates. You're talking 15,000 to 20,000 members. Those 150 delegates, what he doesn't tell you is the Executive Secretary/Treasurer under his plan holds the position at the Council in place of what used to be the president. Now he does all the hiring/firing in the District Council, watches over the shop steward reports, sends out the shop stewards. He's in control of who's going to be a shop steward, who's going to be working for the Council from jobs from $150,000 down to $65,000, et cetera. Now, he can very easily appoint these 150 delegates. There's more jobs than that at the Council. He could easily appoint each one of those delegates to a job. Now he's talking about 75 percent, 30 percent is going to be elected every other year or every year. Now certainly 70 percent can be bought for a long amount of time.


Mr. Ballenger. Now, I think we all understand what you're saying. I can understand it, too, but_


Mr. Lebo. That's not_that's not_


Mr. Ballenger. I can understand it, too, but_


Mr. Lebo. And it's very easily corruptible.


Mr. Ballenger. Okay, but let me_if I may go into some further things? Mr. Durcan, before testifying here, have you discussed with Mr. McCarron all his representatives' appointed positions with the union?


Mr. Durcan. No, sir, I have not discussed an appointed position with anybody. I have not been offered the position or offered anything whatsoever in exchange for this testimony today.


Mr. Ballenger. And that's under oath. So tomorrow when you get a new job, we won't question you?



Mr. Durcan. But I have not been offered or, to my knowledge, been considered for any position.


Mr. Ballenger. Okay. I'll have to accept that, but, anyhow, let me ask you another question. First of all, it appears like the Labor Department does absolutely nothing to defend you guys when you need some help.


Mr. Durcan. That's correct.


Mr. Ballenger. And somewhere along the line it appears that we ought to put somebody, maybe the Justice Department or somebody that can really give you some kind of support. But the one that really blows my mind - you all probably don't know that I'm on another subcommittee here and we're investigating the Teamsters' election and the same name keeps popping up: Conboy, Conboy, Conboy. I don't know who this guy is but my understanding is he was making $65,000 a month from you all and they reduced his pay. What I can't understand, he's telling you all what you're going to do and you're paying him, but I understand they shrunk his pay to $45,000 a month. Now what's really terrible is the same fellow's calling the shots at the Teamsters right now that we're investigating and I think he's getting $100,000 a month. I mean, you know the way, somebody has buddies somewhere, and evidently he was a Federal judge and he's appointed by a Federal judge. To my way of thinking, I wonder who - I hasten to say I don't live in New York, so I don't have to worry about the Federal judges up there, but you all do - but somebody somewhere is wired-in to somebody up there that keeps getting Conboy appointed to make the decisions that back up the leadership. I don't know how you get to this particular position, but somewhere. I'd like to ask Mr. Wittekind.

This whole reorganization thing is based on the idea that crime or criminals have taken over the governing in New York, but that's not true in Michigan.


Mr. Wittekind. No, sir, and I'm glad we're refocusing again on other parts of the country because in New York is only one part of the problem. We had the need for restructuring and a mission as well. As Mr. McCarron was saying, the industry's changing and a lot of union carpenters see the need also to change.


Mr. Ballenger. Does this testimony, though, put a little question in your mind as to whether you're doing the right thing or not?


Mr. Wittekind. No, not at all. What I'm trying to focus on here is not to be against restructuring. There are some problems that came with the restructuring, obviously, especially in New York, where we have a climate that's not very favorable for democracy. But the big issue is for a lot of people, do we, with this new structure, do we still have control of our destiny? And as Mr. Benson was reiterating, it's the control that's more and more shifted away from the members. And if the members now have only control by electing delegates, that means the delegates are far more important now than they used to be, that the delegates themselves we should make sure that they are responsible towards their members. But what happens, in fact, is their bylaws specifically state that members, delegates, can be employed by the Regional Council, and in Michigan the great majority of them are directly employed by the Secretary/Treasurer of the Regional Council, which I don't have to reiterate on possible conflict of interests.

And that is the main issue: A delegate system might work even more democratically than having a very, very expensive election, where there's a lot of money possibly involved and other problems can arise, if you know what the Teamsters are. But the delegates have to be independent and that is what's far more important to me and to a lot of members, to my estimation.


Mr. Ballenger. I can appreciate that. Mr. Benson, if you had somebody that labor could actually, I mean individual members could appeal to, that used to be that, I understand, even though maybe they didn't listen because the leadership was corrupt, but it appears now that - is there any construction or any arrangement, as far as you can understand, at the union at the present time where they have an appeal? Nobody where you are, somebody above you should be, if they are efficient in a well-run operation, as business is supposed to do - and if business doesn't pay any attention to their employees, they're going to go down the tubes, and that's what should happen to a union that won't pay any attention to its members.


Mr. Benson. You mean is there some appeals process? Is that the point?


Mr. Ballenger. Yes, sir.


Mr. Benson. Well, one of the problems in the labor - see, in our system of government, we have divided authority. We have the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary. The problem in the union movement is that all three of the powers are concentrated in one hand: the international officials generally are the appeals court, the executive authority, and really the legislative authority. So, no, there is no really adequate appeals structure within the labor movement for abuses inside the labor movement.

Now, I had a quick one. In the Auto Workers' Union, that's why the Landrum-Griffin is such an important thing. The Landrum-Griffin gave recourse to the members in the Federal courts and through the administrative agencies against abuses by their officialdom, and without that, there would be really no adequate appeals procedure of any kind. That's why it's so important that it be strengthened.


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I'll turn it back.


Chairman Fawell. Yes, the Chair would recognize Mr. Tierney.


Mr. Tierney. Thank you. Mr. Wittekind, I want to congratulate you on what I think is some level-headed approach to this. I think you recognize the problem on the one hand and you're trying to find a measured way to address it. I see a little bit of conflict between - if I'm making a similarity here - between the open-town-meeting type of governance where you take every issue to town meetings; every citizen comes and shows up; everybody gets the vote - I mean, that's the most basic form of democracy - and the representative town meeting. Now you have your representative town meeting where the town gets together by districts, elects somebody, and then those representatives go to the town meetings and vote. Both of those are a form of democracy.


Mr. Wittekind. Correct.


Mr. Tierney. And you don't necessarily have the personal problem with going from the more based to the more representative on that, but you see some issues that arise that have to be dealt with in that context. Is that right?


Mr. Wittekind. Correct. Just like Mr. Benson was saying, we don't have a democracy likely to set up how you were elected; we have a one-party system, and the people that Mr. McCarron, or whoever, is going to be appointing are having even more of an advantage as an incumbent than incumbents in Congress have. We have elections, like Mr. McCarron said, and basically, except for one delegate, all incumbents, people supported by the Regional Council, were elected. And they have a tremendous, tremendous advantage over anybody.


Mr. Tierney. What would you have seen as an alternative to that?


Mr. Wittekind. Well, I think one big issue to me is that delegates should not be having any kind of employment under the Regional Council. They should be separate positions and they should be just responsible to the membership. And I'm not sure why they were specifically put in the bylaws that they can be employed.


Mr. Tierney. So is there some way that_you're saying that the fact that they were employed by the council enabled them to be elected when it came time to go from appointed to elected?


Mr. Wittekind. It made it certainly a lot easier. They have a lot more contact automatically with the membership when they're out on the job sites, when they're business agents. They have close contacts with the Regional Councils. I'm not saying they're using the offices to campaign, but it's certainly a lot easier for them.


Mr. Tierney. Are there other things that come readily to mind that you would address? Or is that the principal_


Mr. Wittekind. Well, one important issue I just wanted to state in relating to that is we're trying to create a better union and the structure of the union should not be dictated by a law, as it is very important that unions stay independent. But unions at the moment go through a change where they're trying to adjust through the changes in society and in industry, and there's a big movement within the union that does not support this kind of service-type-oriented unionism. The result of this business-type unionism is they're providing more services; we are maybe cutting costs, but we're servicing members. We're creating an insurance company trying to get new members in trying to sell cars and people get even more passive. That's what I'm seeing with a lot of members now. They're saying, well, we're improving services and we're taking those not quite so democratic bylaws because we're getting served well.

But this is not a union movement. This is a nice, comfortable service agency, and that works completely against the spirit of unionism, in my opinion, and then that is a little bit in the background, but that should be considered.


Mr. Tierney. Thank you. Mr. McCarron, do you recognize or do you feel that there's any issue that might be addressed with regard to delegates also being able to hold positions?


Mr. McCarron. Well, that is a concern, that is a concern that, you know_and I agree with the last speaker on the issue.


Mr. Tierney. Mr. Wittekind?


Mr. McCarron. Yes, but, you know, you've got a situation_what we've tried to do around the country is make the delegate body as big as possible, so the majority_or that doesn't affect the outcome of deliberations on the district council floor. But at the same time, if you've got a good business agent or a good delegate, he shouldn't be stopped from becoming a business agent or an organizer. I don't think we should take the rights of an organizer or a business agent away from him to run in his local union as a delegate for the district council.


Mr. Tierney. You don't think that you could make it, so that you got to choose one or the other?


Mr. McCarron. Well, you could do that. You know, I think the whole_we're trying to put together a structure here that safeguards the member's democratic rights and also lets the union deal with the regionalization and the problems in the construction industry. Because I think everybody in this room here has got the same goal: We want to represent more carpenters and more contractors, so when we sit at the bargaining table we can get a better deal for the people out there swinging a hammer. That's the name of the game.


Mr. Tierney. My impression, sitting up here, is that you all do have the same goals_putting the people behind you.


Mr. McCarron. We do. Exactly right.


Mr. Tierney. I think some people personally agree those were situations that they'll have to address, but I would like to think that, first of all, what you're doing is well-intended and seems to be for some_it's not working in some cases. At least it seemed like New York needed some work and got it. What it seems to be is that now that you've gotten to that point there are some people who have some suggestions, like Mr. Wittekind or whatever, that it might be worthwhile reviewing.


Mr. McCarron. Exactly, and we_


Mr. Tierney. And see if you can't get it to the point where if you're going to have a representative democratic situation, that you might see if you can't try to make some adjustments as to what you had planned, seeing how things are shaking out and move in that direction. I don't know if you can get back to a situation where you had your city open town meetings situation, if that's wise. You may all decide that's not what's necessary. What's necessary is take a look at some of the issues like dual jobs and being a member or things like that and work on it. Do you have a mechanism within your international set up who review that?


Mr. McCarron. Yes, we do. We'll have a convention in two years in Chicago and I'm sure that this and a lot of other issues will be debated very strongly on the floor. And I just want to reiterate, this is, to my knowledge, this is the first time any union has taken these steps on a nationwide basis to improve the working conditions of their members. So I mean there's going to be barnacles and things out there; we'll try to improve definitely, and I think that's the goal of every carpenter in the brotherhood, is to make it the best union possible.


Mr. Tierney. Thank you. And Mr. Chairman, just as I lined up here, I'm sorry that Mr. Ballenger left. He was going to make comments about the former Federal judge. I would have hoped that he would have had some plan in mind as to how that individual might get to respond. I found it a little bit disconcerting, what I thought were pretty broad-ranging allegations against an individual who wasn't here. But other than that, I appreciate and thank all the members of the panel for participating and those that came on this, and I think it's instructive. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Fawell. And I thank you for your contribution. Yes, Mr. Zarzana?


Mr. Zarzana. Yes, Mr. Chairman, on that note that Mr. McCarron says there's going to be a constitutional convention in the year 2000, that's two years from now; what kind of debate are they going to have bringing everybody employed in that convention was hand picked around the country by Mr. McCarron?


Mr. McCarron. If I can respond to that, Mr. Chairman? Everybody, every local union in the United States and Canada will have an election, a secret ballot election. All the members will have the right to vote for the delegates that come to that convention in Chicago. So it will be the rank-and-file members that vote for those delegates that come to Chicago.


Mr. Lebo. Mr. Chairman, you already have an established incumbent.


Chairman Fawell. Pardon?


Mr. Lebo. You already have an established incumbent administration and that will be our_


Chairman Fawell. It does, I can understand that. The delegates were selected by Mr. McCarron, and apparently, a good deal amount of time goes by before there is an election, and then many of them, I gather, if it's correct, become employed by the union, by the national union.

If we made the comparison to Congress, as Mr. Benson has, the Executive branch does not, you know, employ members of Congress to work for it, and the union is likened, the administration of the union is likened to the Executive branch. I think that's it's highly questionable, and you, obviously, have, when you switch to the representative forum, and the gentleman from Massachusetts_


Mr. Tierney. If I may, Mr. Chairman, they don't have forms of government where they do_you take a parliamentary system; they do hire members of parliament to be in the ministry and to take on positions like that. You can have a debate about that, but the fact of the matter is_


Mr. McCarron. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I'll have_


Chairman Fawell. Just one moment please. Let me express myself. I think that when you have, as I understand it, just about every delegate being employed, that it does put an unsavory cast, I think, on the matter--and I don't know.

For instance, Mr. Wittekind, taking your situation in Michigan, and now we're away from New York, how many delegates would be representing you that would be at your particular district council? Where is your district council?


Mr. Wittekind. Our regional council now is in Detroit, representing the whole State of Michigan.


Chairman Fawell. The entire State?


Mr. Wittekind. The entire State.


Chairman Fawell. And from your local, how many members are there in the district council?


Mr. Wittekind. The district council has governance, 10 locals in Michigan, and they're of several sizes, different sizes. Brushing on the representation, the delegates from each local differs depending on the number of members in there. It's not totally representative because, if you had more than 700 members, the bylaws state you cannot have more than seven delegates. So over 8,000 members local and Detroit has a lot less representation than_


Chairman Fawell. How many delegates are there in Detroit that are at the council_


Mr. Wittekind. I'm not aware exactly that number.


Chairman Fawell. How many delegates represent your particular local?


Mr. Wittekind. Our local is seven. The number for the whole State of Michigan is somewhere around 50, I believe.


Chairman Fawell. Now, Mr. Benson, it was your view that what we've done here, though, is create this entity far removed out there and there's a loss of direct power to local unions. Is that correct?


Mr. Benson. Absolutely. I mean, let's look at the reality of this thing here. If you have 10,000 members and you have 100 delegates like that, okay, now it's impossible to buy off 10,000 members. All you need, if you have 100 delegates, all you need is, let's say, 55, and all the international has to do is to make sure that it keeps 51 percent of those delegates happy with any kind of prerequisites, and this is ordinary politics, and they're going to control it. So that the basic problem that we have here, the really basic problem to cut through all the details that we've been into is this: what you have in the labor movement is you have all of constitutional authority, the basic constitutional authority, executive, legislative, and judicial, are concentrated at the hands of the top officialdom of the international union. That's number one.

Number two, there is no offsetting political party system that would offset this kind of concentration of power. Unlike in the United States where not only do you have a diffusion of power but you will also have different sections of government, you have in the union movement the authority in the hands of one power and there is no political way to offset it. What they call themselves in some unions as the official family is an organized, concentrated, disciplined, political institution within the union. Against that, you have a rank-and-file which is disparate; they're never in contact with one another; they have no political system. So that the answer to this problem which is you're not going to change that situation overnight. The answer to this problem is that the authority of a democratic society using its democratic laws has to strengthen the rights of the members inside their union. That is the answer to many of these problems. And the answer that the Federal Government has already given and it's been somewhat effective in making a change is the Landrum-Griffin. In order to overcome many of these abuses, what we have to do is strengthen all the provisions of the Landrum-Griffin in every respect to make sure that it's even more effective than it's been in the past. That's the story.

Mr. McCarron, who obviously wants to do a good job, his philosophy, it seems to me that the answer to the problems of the labor movement is to have a beneficent international officialdom up there who is going to make a present of a good, efficient union to its grateful members. That is never going to take place. In order to have an efficient and strong labor movement, the members must be involved; they must know that it's their institution, and they must have democratic rights, and those rights must be protected by the Federal Government.


Chairman Fawell. I appreciate those comments. I did extend an offer to Professor Summers, who helped Senator Kennedy a number of years back in drafting legislation, if he would do so and present his ideas to this subcommittee, so that we could look at it from a bipartisan viewpoint.

I tend to agree with your feeling that we're all for efficiency. Some of the greatest despots in history were very efficient people and very good speakers, but they did a lot of harm in the long run or when they're gone. Perhaps Mr. McCarron will run a system here that is benign and very efficient. But there's nothing wrong with "one man, one vote" because it doesn't work sometimes and there's nothing wrong with democracy; it can be strengthened.

And I would extend the same offer to you, Mr. Benson. I know that if you and Professor Summers would draft suggestions, I think it would have a respect in an objectivity view_


Mr. Benson. I submitted to the committee_


Chairman Fawell. _that both sides would give respect to.


Mr. Benson. I submitted to the committee the proposals of AUD to the Dunlop Commission, which by the way Clive Summers helped formulate. So even awaiting what might come up with many of his suggestions already incorporated in that proposal to the Dunlop Commission_


Chairman Fawell. These deal with the Landrum-Griffin law?


Mr. Benson. Yes, yes, a whole series of proposals which was discussed at length by our board of directors and Clive Summers was a participant in formulating those suggestions.


Chairman Fawell. All right, I do plan to sit down with the other side of the aisle here and look at those suggestions. It seems to me clearly that Landrum-Griffin was created when local unions were the real strength. And Mr. McCarron may well be right. Times are changing; maybe there are changes that have to be made, but I know that the requirement for elections applies only in the circumstances of what it was like back in the late 1960's and that the right to a vote insofar as the election of a regional council, I gather, is not there. And so that there are areas where we can, I think, be of help to strengthen democracy and then you're so right when you say that it's a one-party system. It's an oligarchy that also is what we don't have in Congress. We have a two-party system, let me tell you, so that people are always listening to both sides of the question.

The rank-and-file I don't think have a political party that can represent them very well when they do try to question the leadership. They can be seriously hurt by so doing. I hope we can make a contribution to strengthening the Landrum-Griffin Law, and it would help us very much if people sets their view and Professor Summers and others, and indeed the Association for Democracy, which has the respect, I think, that the labor movement would help us in that regard.

And I do thank all of you for taking your time to be here. Mr. Zarzana, yes?


Mr. Zarzana. I would just like to reiterate on what Mr. McCarron said. He said that he appointed me as a business manager and the president of my local, of Local 926. Before he appointed me, I was already elected to those two positions. After the appointment that Mr. McCarron made of me being there, I was very supportive in my efforts to organize for the local union; I brought in 150 new members; I organized nine companies; I was at 120 grievances; I've entered 26 different rallies.

I also ran all the organizational pickets for the building trades in Brooklyn. They came to me to decide what the organizing strategy is going to be. Now these are trades that are not affiliated with the carpenters. These are the plumbers, the electricians, the roofists, the tin knockers. They voted for me, men that are older than I am, to be their Vice President to lead them in an organizing effort. But yet, I was still under this appointed system. I was fired for insubordination of organizing efforts and for an invalid driver's license.

Now how could this be that democracy, when Mr. McCarron asked me to be every Wednesday at the District Council for organizing meetings. Every Wednesday at 2 o'clock I participated in these meetings. And my view is different from the views of some of these so-called hand-picked organizers. I was chastised every Wednesday. It was the worst day of my life. I dreaded Wednesdays because I knew I would go in front of 11 or 12 guys that were totally against me because I have a different political view than Doug McCarron and the guys there. He has a guy that he wants to be the guy, and I feel that if anybody can run New York fairly, I should be the guy.

Because this referral system that he speaks about, I've run that referral system, since 1994 the dissent decree has been in order, and Mr. Conboy's office has no judgments against me. So that means I am a fair and equitable person and I do treat my membership right.

Okay, I also was awarded a plaque from CORE, Congress on Racial Equality, for the good community work that I do in the community. This is one of McCarron's criterias. I also was awarded a plaque from Coney Island Hospital. All the blood banks in New York are dry. I donated 230 pints of blood with my membership. I also helped in getting a $330 million job passed through Community Board 13 and I received an award for that. These are all my accomplishments in the last six months.

Yet, I sit before this court, a man with no job and no health insurance for my family. The average carpenter works 900 hours in the year and he is credited with health insurance for the full year. I've worked as a business representative for Mr. McCarron; I've put in between 40 and 70 hours a week for the last 20 weeks; that constitutes more than 900 hours. Yet, due to my termination at the end of the month, I have no medical coverage for my family. I mean, how could this system that he's imposing, that he says is so good and so democratic for everybody, how could this work?

I'm just one example. Go around the country and I'm sure that you'll find stories just like mine. Thank you. That's all I have to say.


Chairman Fawell. Thank you.


Mr. McCarron. Mr. Chairman, just one thing. Sal was let go because, in order to be a business agent for the New York City District Council, you have to have a valid driver's license. He was asked on numerous occasions; he said he did; the insurance broker told us he didn't, and Sal lied to us, and he didn't have a driver's license. That's why he was fired.

As far as the health insurance for the business agents of New York City, that was the policy that's been in effect there for years. When you're terminated, you lose your health insurance. There's also COBRA available that's out he can purchase from the trust fund.

So thank you.


Chairman Fawell. Mr. Tierney, you indicated that you want to_


Mr. Tierney. I don't want to delay, Mr. Chairman, but I have a question and maybe you can help me with this. I see a lot of folks here from New York not particularly pleased with the way the consent order went or what's happened since the consent order. Is there some reason we don't have more witnesses from a greater variety of the regions throughout the country and why we concentrated on New York or did the chairman have something in mind with that? I should say, did the staff apparently have something in mind?


Chairman Fawell. Those in attendance are primarily from Pennsylvania, is that correct? I can't really answer staff that made their selections, but_


Mr. Payne. We have some good carpenters in New Jersey now. You know, I've got Newark, Jersey calling; they support me. Hey, I'd like to see a couple of them up there, you know.


Mr. McCarron. You've got a lot in California, too.

Chairman Fawell. Well, we expect, for the hearing we'll be glad to take names of those you_


Mr. Tierney. Well, I would only_because I have no way of sensing whether this is an endemic feeling that everybody across the country is railing about, you know, the fact that Mr. McCarron has apparently been a dictator in their views and they're just worried about what he may become and the next successor may become. From what I've heard in my area is that there's not any dissatisfaction with this plan and in fact a great of acceptance on it. I'm hearing something different here. Again, I had some sympathies with the comments of Mr. Wittekind and would encourage those be followed up, but I sort of get a slanted view here that there's one very unhappy group of people in New York and other people who may not entirely accept us here, but they understand that there might be a reason to move in that direction, and I think I'd like to hear more about that.


Chairman Fawell. Well, I'm told we've had people who are complaining from California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey_



Mr. Zarzana. Oregon.


Chairman Fawell. _and Michigan. And these, everybody who's here is from relatively far distant points, but I really can't say anything definite except the ones that we have heard at the last meeting, a number of carpenters also are very much concerned. And it does seem to me that there are things that we can do to make sure that these democratic rights are protected. It seems to me that, no matter, you have instances of, anybody who's in power, you have these instances in the labor movement where the rights of workers are not well respected, and that's unfortunate.

I happen to believe that it's absolutely true, if you have a sound democratic representation of the rank-and-file, you're going to have an efficient and good union. It may not be as easy to just have somebody at the top making all the decisions and making it efficient, but that won't last because a man whose breath is in his nostrils doesn't last. And then who's going to take McCarron's place or who took Lewis' place? Those things we have to be concerned about.

Well, all right, just one more statement and I think we_


Mr. Lebo. I'd just like to submit a copy of our constitution to your committee. I'd like you to, if you would, read what Mr. McCarron's powers are. I can give you a list of the specific amendments that were made to this in section 6(a), I believe 6(b); I have them written down. Mr. McCarron has absolute control of everything in this union, and I'd like you to see it, how it's written. To me, I read the LMRDA_


Mr. Tierney. Are you saying that that document has been accepted or it hasn't been accepted?


Mr. Lebo. This has been accepted.


Mr. Tierney. By whom?


Mr. Lebo. This is the constitution_by delegates at a constitutional convention.


Mr. Tierney. Around the country?


Mr. Lebo. From around the country, yes. Specifically, I believe it's from 1978 up.


Mr. Tierney. Okay, and when was the vote on the most recent version that you've done?


Mr. Lebo. The most recent vote was 1995 I believe; 1993, I'm sorry, 1993.


Mr. Tierney. So this is the constitution in its_


Mr. McCarron. That's not an updated one. The updated one is January 1 of 1996.


Mr. Lebo. This is January 1 of 1996, okay?


Mr. Tierney. And so continually it's been voted upon by delegates that are elected by the rank-and-file?


Mr. Lebo. It's not_no, it hasn't been elected. The delegates that have been elected by the rank-and-file, a lot of them go by what is it called, by virtue of their office.


Mr. Tierney. The process in the constitution, I assume, right?


Mr. Lebo. And they were elected to offices such as business manager at the time. The problem being, the problem of these amendments to me was that a lot of the amendments that gave Mr. McCarron the power_we have this in court right now.


Mr. Tierney. I'm just trying to understand it here without reading all the court documents.


Mr. Lebo. A lot of the problems that gave Mr. McCarron, the members who gave Mr. McCarron the power, were never actually brought to the membership so we could tell our delegates how to vote for it. Before the constitutional conventions, before they were passed, at which they were passed, a local union wants a change in their constitution, they have to submit the amendments to a constitutional committee which the Executive Board appoints and then notes those suggestions have to be prepared for that committee and sent out to local unions in form letters and in the "Carpenter Magazine" across country before the convention. This isn't the case in a lot of these and_


Mr. McCarron. It's in the case in every specific issue, and that was amended; it was sent to the locals, and it was also published in "The Carpenter" magazine prior to the convention. Each and every time it has been done.


Mr. Lebo. That's not true. In any case, I'd like you to see these. I don't believe that the LMRDA should allow a union's constitution to override it. I believe, which is pretty much that it gives him autocratic rule over our union.


Mr. Tierney. Just in reply to that, I assume that the Chair is going to accept that without objection. Then I would ask if you would also allow Mr. McCarron to just put in evidence of his contention that, in fact, they were adopted, and we can take a look at it.


Chairman Fawell. It shall be so ordered. Mr. Liguori, you were patiently indicating you had a point.


Mr. Liguori. A couple of things. The constitution - somebody could correct me - but one of our past general presidents, Bill Sidell, was given in the mid-1960's I believe, these sweeping powers as a general president. What we have today is now a result of something being labeled "restructuring, reorganization, progress, improving," whatever you want to call it. But I don't see the relevance or the improvement of going into a State, Michigan, and virtually locking, padlocking every local in the State two weeks prior to a major election.

You can jump up and down and see organized crime in New York. Mr. Conboy, who's been there since 1994, he could have disallowed a great deal of things. He chose to go to the General President, instead of going to Judge Haight. Many, many processes could have been done differently, but it wasn't. It was done with strong armed, private, secured forces, no negotiations, no due process. That is not democracy. You don't come into a country, and take it over forcibly, set up a new government, and say, hey, guys, we're here to make your life better - it just doesn't work that way - and then say I can't vote or I'm not intelligent enough to vote for my General President on a one-on-one basis like the Teamsters.


Chairman Fawell. All right, okay, well, thank you folks. I think we have to adjourn, but I do have to thank all of you for being here. Any of you that may feel that you want to supplement the record and give some more comments, please feel free to send me the letters. Because what we're going to try to wrestle with this question and see if we can do something about the circumstances which all of you face. The union, whoever is operating the union, it is an oligarchy; there's no question. There's not a two-party system out there. The workers aren't represented by a political party themselves, and they have an awful tough time breaking and ever getting into leadership once the leadership is formed.

So thank you very much. I appreciate your taking your time to being here, and to all of you here in the teams, I realize that you have a deep and abiding interest and we appreciate your being here, too. Thank you very much.

[Whereupon, at 4:50 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]