Gus & John

pms laflame at
Sat Feb 6 08:41:36 PST 1999

I hate this! As someone who spends lots of time with "regular people", RP's,(I used to have a sweet, barely employable, redneck boyfriend, yes I was drinking a lot, who used to muse that I was " just about regular ", dispite the books, etc.)

kRegular people, I occasional talk Union to, have the worst things to say about them, though they know little, and desparately need one themselves. And the unions have done more to perpetuate this view than all the right-wing spin. I just wanna spit.

Just think of the media presence this money could buy. Think what one little decently funded community outreach office in a hundred towns, helping non-union folk, in everyday ways, could do to make the US of A a union town. It really makes me sick.

If the union rank and file took to the streets to demand refunds, half the population would be knocking on the union door. If union folk have no control of leadership, why should the people think they have any power?

Someone who remains loyal to the Union idea, dispite having waited on three union officials at the Airport Sheraton.


At 09:32 PM 2/5/99 -0500, you wrote:
> Dear Doug, Reports of this nature have been circulating since the
>mid-90's, some of them have been rougher on Sweeney and Bevona than this
>Newsday story. It makes the little fish like me down right ambitious.
> Although, somehow I just can't see Dr. Arnowitz polishing urinals or
>pushing a broom. Getting back to Sweeney and Bevona does anyone remember
>the James Baldwin story about Adam Clayton Powell. Your email pal, Tom L.
> Doug Henwood wrote: Janitors gave AFL-CIO boss hundreds of thousands Long
>Island Newsday February 4, 1999 By William Murphy, STAFF WRITER The
>janitors' union local that gave ousted leader Gus Bevona a
>$1.5-million golden parachute has also paid hundreds of thousands of
>dollars over a 13-year period to its former president, John Sweeney, now
>the head of the AFL-CIO, according to records obtained by Newsday.
>Sweeney stepped down as president of the local, which represents
>building maintenance workers in New York City and Long Island, in 1981
>when he was elected president of the parent union, the Service Employees
>International Union. But he continued to draw a salary from Local 32B-32J
>of the building
>service union from the time he left, an AFL-CIO spokeswoman confirmed.
>The amounts were not available, but records filed with the U.S. Labor
>Department show that eight years later, in 1989, the local was paying
> That dropped off to just under
>$70,000 in the ensuing three years, jumped back to almost $80,000 in
>1993 and tapered off to just over $10,000 in 1994, the year before he
>was elected head of the AFL-CIO. A spokeswoman for Sweeney, Denise
>Mitchell, said he continued to
>take payments from the local after leaving because he went back
>periodically to help with local business, including contracts. The payments
>to Sweeney highlight how commonplace it is for labor
>leaders to double-dip, collecting large payments from both a local and
>parent union under the assumption they are working for both at the same
>time, even if the parent and local are headquartered in different cities
>and working on different issues. Officials of the SEIU and the AFL-CIO
>defended the payments,
>averaging more than $70,000 a year, arguing Sweeney was doing important
>work for the local even while running the international. Aides to Bevona,
>who was ousted this week as president of SEIU Local
>32B-32J, had defended his combined salary of almost $500,000 on grounds
>that he worked hard for the local. Bevona, 58, of Babylon, headed a
>local representing 52,000 building maintenance workers in New York City
>and Long Island and an affiliated local representing 20,000 home
>health-care workers in the city. At the same time Sweeney was being paid
>by the local, Bevona was
>drawing a salary of more than $70,000 a year from the parent SEIU parent
>union for his work on behalf of the international. "It is double-dipping,
>plain and simple," said Ken Boehm, director
>of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia-based advocacy group
>that monitors the federal government and unions on ethics matters. "I think
>it is an ethical abuse, and the proof of that is you rarely
>find it elsewhere," Boehm said. "I don't know of any government worker
>anywhere who draws two salaries." The Brooklyn-based Association for Union
>Democracy, a watchdog
>group, said such double payments were common in large labor unions, and
>usually were reserved for high-ranking leaders. Bevona's gross salary of
>almost $500,000 annually was paid by his
>local, a second affiliated local, a regional union council and the
>parent SEIU. The multiple payments mean that the more the money is spread
>around, the harder it is for an outsider to track it down," said Carl
>Biers, executive director of the association. The whole thing is that it is
>legal, but disgusting nonetheless,"
>Biers said. "You usually find that union leaders who take outrageously
>high salaries are usually insulated from the membership through
>intimidation or stolen elections." Bevona resigned this week amid
>allegations dissidents made in
>federal lawsuits that he had rigged a union election, hired private
>detectives to spy on union insurgents and improperly used union funds to
>defend himself in a lawsuit by the insurgents. In return for the
>resignation, insurgents Dominick Bentivegna and
>Carlos Guzman agreed to drop their claim against Bevona for monetary
>damages. </pre>

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