Concrete Bungle: How Immigration Divided a D.C. Union A campaign to organize D.C. concrete workers hit a wall.

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Photo by Darrow Montgomery

America, for José Gilberto Lara Lemos, has always been synonymous with work.

Lemos came to the D.C. area 15 years ago from a small village in El Salvador, leaving a wife and two children behind. At first, he cut grass. Then he got a job as a dishwasher, traveling back and forth by bus from the Manassas house he shared with other immigrant men. With salary and tips, he was able to pay rent, feed himself, and send some back to his family.

But the real money, he’d heard, was in construction. Some neighbors worked for Southland Concrete, a Dulles-based contractor with projects all over the region. Lemos applied in 2008. He was told he’d be paid $12 an hour, with raises every year.

The pay was a little better than washing dishes, and a lot better than cutting grass. But there were trade-offs he hadn’t counted on: In a restaurant, Lemos got tips and free meals. Working concrete, on projects from Fort Belvoir to Bethesda, involved 10-hour days with few breaks. And, he says, the workplace environment was tough in other ways. One Saturday morning in August, wearing a worn blue buttondown and speaking quietly through an interpreter, Lemos described being screamed at by foremen, and told that if he ever wanted to leave, dozens of other workers would be eager to take his place. In this economic climate, that’s no idle threat.

“In the United States, bills don’t wait,” Lemos said. “It’s an increasingly negative feeling to be looking for work in the industry.”


So, last June, when organizers from the United Construction Workers, a new local branch of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), started talking to workers at the construction sites, Lemos was interested. He started attending trainings, learning what could be done to improve working conditions and how to network with fellow employees to get them to sign cards that might eventually lead to a union election.

Speaking up, of course, is risky—especially in construction, an easy-come, easy-go job market even in the best of times. Unlike a factory, where people either have jobs or don’t, construction employment involves projects that last a finite amount of time. There’s no telling why you may or may not be hired on the next one, which means that management need not even go through the trouble of formally firing a worker for attending a union meeting; they could just not bring him onto the next job.

Not that firings don’t happen, too. In late September, as LiUNA organizers were taking out media advertisements for their efforts, getting local pols to visit job sites, and helping place newspaper stories that gave Southland a black eye—including one about the irony of an anti-union company working on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial—the firm pink-slipped one of the most active worker organizers.

Six weeks later, the organizing effort is in tatters. But firings by Southland, it turns out, were the least of its problems.

To talk to people who worked on the UCW organizing effort is to learn that its near-collapse is not the usual sad labor story of valiant unionists against perfidious management. Rather, it’s the story of union advocates turning on one another—in large part over the polarizing politics of immigration. For generations, the labor movement has periodically warred with itself over how to view newcomers, from the Italian-speakers a century ago to Spanish-speakers like Lemos. Are they a wage-depressing threat to be kept out of the job market? Or should they be embraced, on the logic that a unified labor force is the only way to secure better working conditions?

The UCW’s multi-lingual D.C.-area organizing campaign represented the immigrant-embracing model in action. But it turned out that not everyone in the larger union was on board with that approach. In mid-October, UCW leader Brian Shepherd resigned over disagreements with LiUNA’s regional vice president, many of them about immigration issues like just how helpful the union should be in identifying illegal immigrants. Two weeks later, two other organizers were let go for their allegiance to Shepherd. Another left two weeks after that.

A new director came on, saying the goals and tactics would remain. But the campaign had lost momentum. And momentum—not to mention trust—is crucial when you’re trying to do something that’s never been done before. The UCW initiative was the most ambitious and innovative attempt thus far to organize a largely Latino workforce in the region’s totally non-union concrete industry. Instead, the abrupt change has exposed a contradiction within LiUNA itself.

“The people on top have sort of become pathological liars, where they believe their own lies,” said Alejandro Guzman, one of Shepherd’s young organizers, speaking of the higher ups. “In any organization, if something isn’t working, you look at the leaders, not the people. But in this organization, I think it’s different.”

Washington, unlike New York and Chicago, has never been much of a union town, at least where the private sector is concerned. There are political, cultural, and legal reasons for that: Business groups like the Associated Builders and Contractors have thwarted organizing efforts. Compared to northern cities, construction here is also seen as second-class work, less prestigious than a government desk job. And Virginia, a key part of the market, is a “right-to-work” state where it’s illegal to require union membership as a condition of employment.

It’s not just external factors that have kept the movement anemic. Unions themselves have made missteps, says Stephen Courtien, an organizer with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. While they had a few of the bigger companies and public projects, he says, unions didn’t try to organize smaller private contractors, which thrived on cheaper labor and now make up much of the industry. “We were happy with what we had, our little corner of the market,” Courtien says. “When work got tight, we didn’t let people in.”

U.S. construction unions have, of course, been in decline for decades. Forty percent of workers in the private construction industry belonged to a union in 1973; by 2010, that number was 13.3 percent. In the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia job market, it’s just 8.8 percent. For LiUNA, that’s meant fewer members and less power. In 2000, the union had 818,000 members nationwide. By 2009, that was down to 632,000. (Only part of this can be chalked up to a change in how the union counts members.)

The new United Construction Workers local, focusing on the heavily Latino concrete industry, was designed to alter that trajectory. Instead of getting work for existing union members by negotiating short-term Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), the emphasis was on mobilizing non-union workers currently toiling on those sites, promising them better conditions and a consistent, standardized process for hiring and layoffs. “A New Type of Union,” a tagline on the website reads.

To accomplish that shift, LiUNA Mid-Atlantic regional office hired Shepherd, a former Navy man who then worked as an organizing director for the Service Employees International Union. Their first target, Southland, is the second-largest concrete company in the market behind Miller & Long. Because it has many public projects, it’s also more vulnerable to public and political pressure.

The challenge of helping immigrants to organize is obvious: For those who lack citizenship, courage can carry an especially heavy cost. Some companies look the other way when hiring, but are only happy to fire an overly assertive employee on the basis of immigration status. Building-trades unions also don’t always have the best reputation with immigrants. Their traditional approach—basically acting as seniority-based hiring agencies for a well-established pool of workers—means essentially shutting out newcomers.

Champions of UCW’s approach say it’s in veteran union members’ own interest to change their tactics. The old strategy is fine in places where union density is high, Shepherd says, but it’s no way to expand a small base. “Where you only have so few union members, what that sets you up as is an adversary of the overwhelming majority of workers,” he explains. “What you’re talking about is stopping them from working, so your people can work…You start to view the cheap labor source as your enemy, instead of the person you’re supposed to be advocating for.”

Shepherd assembled a team of young organizers to help: Matt Traldi, a 2006 Yale graduate who came through the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; Guzman, 26, who moved from Mexico when he was seven and helped run campaigns in Chicago and Oklahoma before hearing about UCW; and a 22-year-old Latina organizer who asked that her name not be used because of her own immigration status. Spanish-speaking staff went to Southland sites to reach workers, gradually getting hundreds of them to sign cards indicating support for joining a union. They did trainings in churches and one-on-one sessions in houses to explain that this wasn’t the old kind of union the workers had heard about.

After a few months, UCW started raising its profile. Advertisements ran in local newspapers—including Washington City Paper—with the face of a fired Southland worker and the slogan, “We Are Not Disposable.” Its first major action was a protest at the Consolidated Forensics Laboratory, a $133-million District project at 4th and School streets SW. A few dozen Southland workers came from sites around the region to march around the fences in orange shirts, with workers in hard hats watching dubiously from within. Backed by SEIU members, they unfurled LiUNA banners and made speeches about discrimination and intimidation at Southland. At-Large D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson showed up to cheer them on. “It is fundamental that workers have a right to organize,” Mendelson yelled into a bullhorn. “If workers want to organize at this site, they should be allowed to do that.”

As the pressure mounted, Traldi and Guzman were starting to make inroads with corporate leadership. They had a steadfast adversary in Southland President Randy Green, who denies that his workers are treated badly—the Manassas native started as a laborer there himself 27 years ago, and rose through the ranks to run the company, which is one of the few employee-owned contractors in the industry and pays solid benefits. “I told them, why pick us?,” Green says. “We got a pretty doggone solid foundation and good people, and we’re dedicated to our people.”

But UCW wasn’t asking for the typical union deal of replacing Southland’s workers with its own existing members managed through a hiring hall. Instead, Traldi and Guzman asked Green to sign a “neutrality agreement” that would allow workers to vote on whether or not to join a union, with no retaliation from the company. If they voted for LiUNA, they would start non-economic bargaining over labor-management cooperation. Economic bargaining would kick in when UCW had signed similar agreements with more than half the concrete companies in the D.C. area, so as to reduce the competitive disadvantage.

Despite feeling that his company had been smeared in the press and his workers pestered by LiUNA staff, Green took a liking to Traldi, and had a days-long e-mail exchange with the young organizer about what UCW was trying to do: Create a structure for giving laborers a voice at work, with an eventual contract to give them some security between jobs. In mid-October, Green told them to set up the vote.

Three days later, Traldi and Guzman were terminated.

It’s a bad idea to think of unions as monolithic. United Construction Workers is part of the union’s mid-Atlantic region, meaning its officials answer to a Pittsburgh native named Dennis Martire, who has been with LiUNA since 1990, and now makes $310,000 per year. His continued leadership depends on being re-elected every five years by a network of more than 40 locals from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, most of which are run by guys with names like Fahey, Taraczkozy, and Mangino.

And Martire, according to organizers who have clashed with him, didn’t share the new team’s all-inclusive approach to organizing immigrants. The regional office’s political staff, based in Reston, Va., advocates for the use of E-Verify, a system that screens new workers for their immigration status. The system is notorious for its mistakes, and critics say that screening out undocumented people only drives them away from unions—and into the arms of employers who can pay even lower wages.

Back home, Martire—who would only answer City Paper’s questions in writing, through the region’s general counsel—has penned letters to local newspapers warning the public against hiring foreign guest workers. “Consumers should make sure to ask any landscape contractor they want to work with a point-blank question about where their workers come from,” one missive read. Shepherd, while not supportive of guest-worker programs, found an anti-immigrant subtext in Martire’s message.

“What it’s saying is, don’t accept cheap labor, we need to just hire Americans,” Shepherd says. “The answer in his logic is not to help those people who are getting exploited. There’s no solution to it.”

The offensive against foreign workers carried over into electoral campaigning—Traldi was asked repeatedly to research contributions to state and federal Republican candidates in Pennsylvania from Cohen and Grigsby, a law firm that counseled companies on the rules around the H-2B visa program, which allows the hiring of temporary foreign workers if no Americans are available. Martire had learned about the firm’s activities on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, and passed on a clip from the rabidly anti-immigrant CNN host to explain what he needed.

Guzman says that when he presented Martire with an organizing strategy for a campaign at Lane Construction, where workers had been suspicious of LiUNA because of strikes that didn’t go anywhere, the regional leader replied by suggesting a crackdown on undocumented labor.

“He said, ‘you’ve tried this before. At what point do we call immigration on these illegals?’” Guzman recalls. “So when he said that, I bit my tongue, and said ‘look, Denny, that’s a double-edged sword. Like, sure you’ll get rid of some of the workers and sure they’ll be scared of you. But if you’re going to do that, might as well never organize in the state of Virginia. So he kind of threw up his hands and said ‘well, if they’re not with us, they’re against us.’”

Martire, through his general counsel, denies that the conversation took place.

Why would a union leader raise the prospect of calling immigration enforcement officials onto a worksite, where they could potentially deport those found to be undocumented? There are a couple rationales, from a business perspective. One, you make workers fear not joining the union more than they fear their employer, by punishing them for not organizing quickly enough. And two, you could force a company that employs illegal immigrants out of business, which betters the position of those companies with whom you can sign agreements to provide pre-screened workers through a hiring hall.

As an immigrant himself, Guzman saw it as a betrayal of everything the campaign was supposed to mean. Having it come from the union’s vice president shook his confidence to the core.

After Shepherd resigned in early October, Traldi raised concerns about the direction the campaign was taking with the regional office. Part of the problem was that UCW never got the funding it was promised. But more fundamentally, Traldi saw the contradiction in the messages LiUNA was trying to send. “Are we on the side of immigrant workers, or not?” he said in an interview later. “Any union has to make that decision in order to be honest with community organizations, politicians, and workers themselves. The moment a union says, I’m for some workers and not others, it starts sounding like a special interest.”

Days later, Traldi was let go, as was Guzman. They quickly got new jobs with SEIU, which had scooped up Shepherd as soon as he left UCW.

After the departure of the director and two senior organizers, the UCW campaign started to crumble, with staffers confused and demoralized. Out at the work sites, engaged workers went “off the program,” according to the young Latina organizer (she quit this Monday, after being hired by SEIU as well). It doesn’t take much to break someone’s trust.

Contemplating the aftermath, Guzman brought up the people Southland had brought in to dissuade workers from joining the union.

“The union buster will sit down and say look, I’ve worked at unions before, they really just want your money. I think their rap was that ‘other unions, like in the nursing homes, those are good unions, but the unions in construction, they’re not that good,” Guzman said, and then paused to think for a second. “Like, I kind of believe her! I’m sorry to say, but I do!”

The disintegration of the United Construction Workers is a textbook example of a problem that labor scholars have been chewing over for half a decade: Union leaders know they have to bring in new workers, but they can’t override the habits of entrenched, mid-level bureaucrats who think in terms of protecting existing members.

On the highest level, LiUNA talks the talk. The International, headquartered in a stately building just north of the White House on 16th Street NW, doesn’t support E-Verify in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, and opposes the deportation of undocumented workers. But communications director Rich Greer says they don’t tell regions, district councils, or local branches what to do. If someone calls the authorities on undocumented workers, well, it’s a free country.

“I’m sure we have members who are very frustrated, from all backgrounds,” Greer says. “If you’re a long-time LiUNA member, maybe the son of an immigrant many years ago, these are really tough economic times. So it wouldn’t surprise me if a member wanted to call an immigration officer because they see an immigrant worker working, and they weren’t. And it wouldn’t surprise me if immigrants were more fearful than they were in the past.”

The union has to know that that sort of attitude among older-line members makes it harder to organize new, often Latino, workforces. Unions with the greatest success organizing Latinos explicitly reject tactics like E-Verify, which can exclude potential union members. SEIU, for example, says it can’t prevent employers from trying to check a worker’s papers, but they’ll advocate for them to be given a chance to work toward naturalization instead, rather than being fired or deported.

“It’s our view that our job as a union is to make sure that all workers, regardless of their immigration status, can share in the wealth that they helped create in this country,” says Jaime Contreras, president of SEIU Local 32BJ, on E-Verify. “We believe it’s unfair because it targets the most vulnerable workers in the country.”

Likewise, efforts to unionize entire industries, which UCW wanted to do with D.C.-area concrete work, takes time. SEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign, which ultimately organized 225,000 workers around the country, took 20 years, vast resources, and a top-to-bottom commitment to expanding the union base, rather than a focus on quick, high-profile wins. “We’re not a hiring hall,” Contreras explains. “We’re in the business of organizing workers and building density in the labor movement.”

Taking on the construction sector is even more difficult in a recession. Another one of LiUNA’s bold initiatives, organizing mostly Latino workers in residential construction in the Southwest, foundered when the homebuilding industry ground to a halt. From a private contractor’s perspective, going union is a sure way to put yourself out of the running for awards from big general contractors like Clark Construction or Whiting Turner, which are under pressure to deliver projects on tight budgets.

Even in a Democratic-run place like D.C., where pols regularly pay homage to labor, unions haven’t had the muscle to push through even their biggest asks. The same unions who helped elect Vincent Gray as D.C. mayor this year made legislation requiring Project Labor Agreements on city-funded construction projects a “No. 1 priority.” The bill tanked last month in the face of business opposition and a city report that calculated—contrary to unions claims—that the law would cost $67 million over four years. (LiUNA, incidentally, was one of the only unions to support Adrian Fenty over Gray.)

Still, the conflict between old-model union structure and what it actually takes to build power among a large Latino workforce isn’t insurmountable. In Los Angeles, for example, a 17-year-old, labor-supported community organization called L.A. Alliance for a New Economy takes a social justice approach to organizing, with a heavy emphasis on research and partnerships with environmental and faith-based groups. In June, the group signed a “Community Workforce Agreement” with the Port of Los Angeles, under which the employers agree to hire from the local community through union apprenticeship programs, and pay good wages with health benefits.

That kind of comprehensive approach doesn’t exist in the D.C. area. It won’t, unless unions truly make a choice.

For now, the people most happy about the state of the UCW campaign are the firms it targeted. Back at the Consolidated Forensics construction site on a sunny November afternoon, the organizers appear to have vanished. Green, Southland’s garrulous CEO, is smiling, calling out workers by name, clapping them on the shoulder with a jovial “‘Sup, man.” Climbing through the building’s soaring floors, Green brings longtime employees to chat, pointing out evidence of humane working conditions along the way. “Look, water!” he says, pointing at a large cooler.

UCW’s organizing didn’t put a dent in his business, Green says. But he’s glad to have a respite all the same. “They may come back at us,” he says, “but not today.”

Union Building and Busting 101.

To build a union from scratch:

  • Pick a target. It’s important to optimize your chances of success by choosing a company where workers will want to organize, and where management might eventually be persuaded to come to the table. Mid-sized companies are sometimes the best, since there are enough workers to create a critical mass of support, but the company isn’t large enough to brush off organizing tactics.
  • Identify leaders and create a committee. No union drive will be effective if workers themselves don’t take the lead to bring on their colleagues. Find people who are well-liked and charismatic, and train them to talk about why the union would help workers.
  • Figure out what you want. Higher wages? More breaks? Better benefits? Pick a few clear priorities and focus on telling workers that’s what you can help them get.
  • Sign cards. Under current law, if 30 percent of employees sign an “authorization card,” the National Labor Relations Board may certify a union election. If more than half of a company’s employees sign cards, and the NLRB determines that the company has engaged in tactics that would make an election unsuccessful, the union may be automatically recognized.
  • File Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB, which may result in judgments against the employer and build your case for unionization.
  • Optional: Get the company to sign a neutrality agreement, by which they commit to not make negative statements about the union, easing the election process.
  • Win the election.
  • Negotiate a contract.
  • Move on to the next company. Unions are stronger when employers don’t feel like they’re putting themselves at a disadvantage by allowing workers to organize.

To prevent a union from taking root in your company:

  • Treat workers well. Satisfied employees are harder to organize.
  • Employ union busters. Bring in former union activists to tell workers how unions will just take their money and dole out work based on seniority instead of merit.
  • Recruit moles. Persuade or pay a few workers to spy on union activity or disrupt it by questioning the legitimacy and motives of organizers in union meetings.
  • Get rid of agitators. Find any legitimate reason to fire active worker leaders, which chills organizing. But watch out for unfair labor practice charges!
  • Say you’ve changed. An admission that you’ve recognized worker concerns and will take steps to address them might convince workers that they don’t need to form a union to get what they want.
  • Lawyer up. Since an NLRB election is a legal process, attorneys can do a lot to cast doubt on the legitimacy of petitions or ask that other divisions of the company be included in the vote, slowing down organizing and showing workers that the union isn’t in control.

Our Readers Say

First Mid-Atlantic Laborers is for all people no matter what, they will fight and fight to get people better working conditions, I believe Brian Shepherd is full of crap, and I don't think Alex and Matt were fired I think they had a choice to stay or leave and they left on their own accord.Oh and the woman who won't give her name is Rocio Hernanadez, see she and Alex came with Brian S from SEIU, maybe they were a plant from SEIU to destroy what LiUNA was trying to do,but that is my thought and only my thought.

All I want to say is Lydia DePillis get your facts right, you took a one sided conversation are you a friend of Brian and that is why you wrote this article? Hmmmmmmmm
I do not disagree with the campaign I disagree on how it was run. You can't push people around and use cuss words all the time. Brian Shepherd was an asshole. Matt and Alex were nice but they believe that Brian and them are a team, he will protect them. From what? LiUNA backed their campaign until they couldn't advocate them not doing the right thing. As a reporter, you should have really got both sides of the story. These guys are master campaign manipulaters. This is what they do. They are mad so distroy what helps so many for their own personal satisfaction. The union helps all people of all colors/race/and nationality. There are alot of people out of work we need to feed our families. Everyone wants the same I didn't see them complaining about the salaries and the company cars and the trip to FL to stay at the nice Westin. If the union didn't believe in the meaning behind the campaign would they have encouraged them to speak at the conference?

Some reporters should not only listen to disgruntled employees, who quit on their own,but should investigate. This fiction i guess is freedom of speech. And you know what they say about opinions.
Saying that LIUNA is anti-immigrant is not true it's hurtful.My name is Miguel Diaz, I'm proud member opf LIUNA for 9 years and when I read this article the first thing came to my mind was,people who wrote this article are wrong about this organization,as a member of local 11 in alexandria va I have been able to help members when they need it,I remember when I joint the union back in 2002 we were just 45 members,actually this local represent more then 950 members,with a large number of latino members,this speak by itself and show us the other side of the coin,there is one more thing that I would like to say,as an immigrant from el salvador I know and understand what an immigrant go trought and LIUNA is an open door for all those who want a better work place and better life,thanks to LIUNA I have been able to cooperate with other organizations whom defend immigrants rights and provide services to our member and their families such translations and help to fill up applications to renew their working permits.all this services are given to our members free of charge,thanks LIUNA,who wrote this article don't know that our diversity is our LIUNA
I am an immigrant and joined LIUNA over 17 years ago. LIUNA trained me in basic construction skills while paying me a stipend and placed me to work with Giant Construction. Before I became a member, I asked a lot of questions about the organization and realized that LIUNA was created by immigrant workers and welcomes all workers as it's Constitutional objectives states, to unite all workers under one banner. Our diversity is the strength of our Union and I have found nothing holding me back from advancing in this Union. Since becoming a member, I worked through the ranks and have held several leadership positions and currently the Business Manager of a District Council.

In my experience leaders like VP Martire have always tried to find ways to meet our objective of organizing all workers. In fact it was VP Martire's idea to create a new Local Union in the right to work state of Virginia which now has over 1,000 members composed of mainly immigrant workers. It was also VP Martire's idea to create a new Local Union (UCW) to organize the concrete industry in DC realizing the need for independence from established Local Unions that would allow it to organize new workers and build leadership. VP Martire, asked all District Councils throughout our Region to support this difficult task by pulling and dedicating the needed resources to get the job done. VP Martire has never restricted any of the Local Unions within this District Council from participating in efforts to support comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, he has encouraged us to participate in rallies and lobbying activities in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Additionally, it has been VP Martire whom has appointed several Latino immigrant workers such as my self to various leadership positions within our Union and giving us the opportunity and privilege to help other immigrants workers in many ways.

Therefore, I disagree with any notion that LIUNA and or any of our leaders are in anyway apposed to organizing immigrant workers and in fact realize that we need to help them better their lives by joining us and together improving working conditions for all workers.
I been working for this union for the past 20yrs, in the beginning of these years I worked in construction site and I was chosen to work as a leader for this organization.My co-workers and I and the hispanic communities have gathered togther to participate in rallies to approve immigration reforms. We have have also brought embasadors from El Salvador, Honduras, ect to come to our offices to work together and help our hispanic community renew theirs work permits at no cost. We continue to work for our latino community so they can have a better life and provide for their families.We will continue to help our immagrants in our organization as much as possible.
I am a proud member of LIUNA,and I am proud of what our union stands for: to organize all workers without question. We are a union of immigrants and will continue to be so. We will continue to march for immigrant rights, stand for immigrant rights and fight for immigrant rights.

In solidarity with those fighting for a better world.

Steve Lanning
As a LIUNA member for over 8 years I have participated in numerous LIUNA led events and programs to Support our immigrant Brothers and Sisters. I have personally witnessed thousands of our diverse members receive numerous benefits to help
Improve lives for themselves and their families.

This article is not based on any facts...City Paper just lost a longtime reader...
I am immigrant and proud member of LiUNA. They are more than Union for me, we are a family. In my 8 years as member of this great organization, I have witnessed how they have fought for workers and immigrants rights. Thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Region and its affiliate Local 11, I could take ESL classes (They have helped me to pay the tuition),I can help my family in El Salvador and the most important, they support the working class without any distinction of race. In addition, through the vision and leadership of VP Martire was created the Local 11 where the membership is mostly immigrants workers. This Local is very active in terms of community support. Our President, Hugo Carballo has been member of the E-Board of CARECEN,we have worked toguether with the Tennants and Workers of Alexandria,since many of our brothers and sisters are under the TPS status, the Local has been there helping to fill out applications during the renewal period without any cost. At this point, say or write that LiUNA, and specially the Mid-Atlantic Region and its Vice President Martire are anti immigrants is a shame. Diversity is an important component in this great organization. A serious newspaper or journalist must get the facts right.

As a proud union member of the Mid Atlantic Region, Laborers' Local 657. I am blown at what i just read. I dont believe that Brian and his little "butt buddies" have no idea what the Laborers'stand for.

If the laborers' were anti-immigrants why would they be in the forefront to pass Immigration Reform, fighting to get the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give Hundreds of Thousands of latino worker the freedom to organize without the worry that the boss would retaliate, it would create a sense of dignaty, it would level the playing field with latino workers and their bosses. Meaning that, workers would have a decent wage, benefits, pension or some sort of retirement, get training to better their skills and be more qualify to be out on the field. The Laborers' leadership is constantly looking for ways to find assistance to legalize families for their immigrant members. No matter where your from in the world. The Laborers' except everyone and will fight for every member, men, women, race and most importantly construction workers no matter if your an immigrant or not.

And can attest to all of this, because i worked for a short time with a non union demolition company called Selective Demolition and while i was working there i witness alot of unfairness,safety violations, some workers didnt know how much they were getting pay or even had filled out an application to say the least. And while i was there i notice that the foremens did care at all about the safety of the workers and i started to talk to some of the workers about doin something to change things; some were hesitant and most of us didnt know what steps to take, so i called around and got in touch with the Laborers' Union, and they came out there and told i them what was goin on,
next thing you know there was a picket line out front of the job with about 100 people. And ever since that day i knew that the Laborers' was the union that workers without a voice would find hope in getting justice and fairness.
All this article is saying is blaablaablaa blaablaablablaablaaa1 ......I cant believe this newspaper would allow somethng like this to be printed ....Wat a shame! it sounds like these punk are just mad that they couldnt built their "other kind of union"..BITCHESSSSSSSSS!
LIUNA doesn't just support its Latino workers, its supports the entire community. I've been a member of LIUNA for more than 12 years, and thanks to them I've been able to help others with great jobs and benefits. LIUNA is more than a Union to me, it's a family. Because of them I was able to send my daughter to college, I can provide a roof for my family, and provide them with health insurance as well. As an immigrant myself, I am proud to say that LiUNA helped me with many struggles and made me realize the great benefits this country has to offer to the latino community. I remember back in 2002 when LIUNA didn't have any presence in Northern virginia, nor a place where workers can go and get help with: employers who give out checks that bounce, discriminated at a workplace, information about workers' rights, and a place where they can feel welcome, it was the Regional Manager Martire idea to create a new Local Union in Virginia which now has over 1,000 members; he made the decision to put me in charge of the local, he believe in diversity and always will.
One thing that I don't understand is, why this "reporter" didn't get both sides of the story? why not checks the facts first, this article has bunch of lies and lies..suggest that these two buddies were "senior organizers", please give me a break..
When workers need a voice, a UNION in this area, LIUNA will be there to help!
Who cares about Brian or anyone of these guys that walked, this article is not about them anyway. The article points out that the LIUNA, like so many other American institutions, has fallen into the same old trap: "When times are tough blame the outsider". We have heard this tired old song generation after generation. A more apt question to consider is why do so many business owners feel they need to control their costs to such a degree that they treat their employees as if they represented nothing more than a line item on a profit and loss statement? And more importantly, which politicians support these business owners? We can all agree that unions set out to change the unjust treatment of workers but when they fail to represent ALL workers, it is no suprise that current and future union supporters begin to feel that nagging question that derives from such a platform of division, and that is "which class or color or gender or age group of people will be the next ones to be left out in the cold?" If I ever find myself being asked this morally and ethically bankrupt question by my leadership, I can only hope that I will be able to muster the courage to do the same and submit my walking papers. I call it how I see it folks and the act of bravery and standing for what "you" believe in are attributes applauded by all but sadly exemplified by just a few.
People reading this, let me tell you something about Brian Shepherd, he used to be a pastor or claims he still is, how can a pastor say the F word 24-7 that man is the DEVIL,look into his eyes and all you see is evil, and the proof is in what he is telling this reporter who believes him, Brian acts like he knows how to organize but look at his record with LiUNA, if he is so much for immigrants why did he fire so many of them when he came to work at LiUNA,
Brian, Alex and Matt I hope you are reading all the comments, remember what comes around goes around, stop your lying your adults, LiUNA ROCKS
I am a proud member of LIUNA and Local 11 as well. Since my beginning 8 years ago on the field, this great Union gave me protection and voice at the jobsite, good wages and benefits. Now as a union officer, I have witnessed that this organization is fighting for workers and immigrants rights. We are not working against our brothers and sisters, instead we are supporting and fighting for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we have done lobby in the congress for the same cause and the Employee Free Choice Act as well. My union, helped to the Salvadorean Community to build houses in its Training facility when El Salvador had two horrible earthquakes, we helped our brothers and sisters and their families who are under the TPS status to fill out the applications during the renewal period. All these facts show that LIUNA, and specially the Mid Atlantic Region under the leadership of VP Martire are working hand to hand with the immigrant community. Serious newspapers and journalists find the right facts, no litle histories with no credibility.
The leadership of Mid Alantic LiUNA! Works to create positive environments for all workers. To say that LiUna! has a double standard is a mistake. United we Stand!
I am a union member for 13 years and a member of local 11.liuna is an instution that has approved in many start in favor in the immigrant communitybecause i am an immigrant.i write in articular newspaper they r lies.lies that shouldnt get attention.
I am a union member for 13 years and a member of local 11.liuna is an instution that has approved in many start in favor in the immigrant communitybecause i am an immigrant.i write in articular newspaper they r lies.lies that shouldnt get attention.
I applaud the efforts of this brave union Vice President Martire because it is about time someone stood up to these marxist Socialist organizers. Where does union money come from? MEMBERS. A union needs to worry about getting it members jobs and needs to do what needs to be done. Obama approves all of this money but the work goes to foreigners not the people who live here. I have been a proud union member for 23 years this kind of stuff makes me proud.
I am glad to see this issue addressed, as it is an ongoing debate within the labor movement. Unions have struggled historically on how to deal with this issue for the last century, so though not a new issue, needs to constantly be addressed. A dissappointing part about the comments (that seem strangley the same) from all of the "liuna members" is, none of them address exactly how liuna, or any union for that matter, is planning to do something about the servere decline of unionization in the region. While the personal attacks might be funny, they highlight the fundamental problem, there is no plan beyond the failing tactic of trying to get a very small number (and shrinking) of union members work, to the exclusion of the 98% of workers that are nonunion but need one.
As a member of the local Laborers and knowing the situation I am totally amazed at the inaccurate reporting and the unfounded accusations of this story. Unfortunately I am not shocked by the reporting, it is expected that the City Paper would run an unfounded story and knowing the people who are making the accusations they had already proven to be lacking in integrity and character. I thought it comical that the reporter hours before the release of this story was snacking on canapes with her elitist pinky finger raised in the air at the convention center hotel groundbreaking with developers and contractors of this town who have been exploiting the Hispanic workforce for their own profits for over twenty years. I am sure as she was trying to advocate for healthcare for the workers who will be constructing the project as she ate her lobster roll.

The reporter failed to mention the LiUNA under the leadership of Dennis Martire has been advocating for Hispanic worker rights well before it came fashionable in this town. He created a local union in northern Virginia to give the Hispanic workforce and organization run by Hispanic leaders and emerged in the community. The membership is over 1000 workers and growing. The Washington DC Local Union is mostly comprised of Hispanic and African American members and the leadership is mixed between the groups. LIUNA is proud to give opportunity and representation to all and want all to feel welcomed regardless of status. It has never been our concern nor will it. Furthermore, LiUNA under Brother Martire Leadership will continue to fight those who try and exploit workers, especially immigrant workers who are the most vulnerable.
For someone who was giving an open door policy like Brian was giving. Coming into an organization that has been stablish for over 100 years of fighting and standing up for immigrants rights, and start firing immigrant staff member of UCW after he would work them for 90 days (their probation time) and not assist them when they were not being pay by the temp agency that he would hire his "organizers" from and just leaving them in the cold.

To me its resembles the same attitude of some those that take advantage of immigrants workers. So F*CK Brian and all that are in support of his radical attitude and mind set.
My name R. Dario Ferrufino; Im a VERY PROUD MEMBER OF LIUNA, one more "wetback" in the USA back in the late 70's now a proud American citizen. I'm not scared to say it, but I crossed the Mexican border in April of 1978 when I was a teenager fleeding of the civil war of the country where I was born; I entered the USA looking for a better future. After I worked for different companies in the area, LIUNA gave me the oportunity I was looking for, a good pay, and all kind of benefits includding health insurance. by the way talking about insurance...! one member of my family suffers from a serius illness, the medication she takes cost $1,255.00 per month; tanks to my healt insurance I have for being part of LIUNA, this medication cost me $25.00 ONLY. I have a question for you "vaselina" How do you think i can afford to purchase this medication? How in the world you can express like that of Liuna when you know you are liying, because you and your family had the same bennefits I have as an immigrant?

For me, my family and other immigrants, Liuna has been the open door to a geat oportunity. I'm very proud of my General President Terry O'Sullivan and my Vice Mid Atlantic President and Regional Manager Dennis Martire because they work hand to hand with the immigrants regardles their nationality.

The organizers of LIUNA and it's members is soley comprised of people who's only mission is to improve the quality of life for our members and their families. We work hard and in unison with the law. Discrimination is and will always be unlawful and not tolerated within nor by The Laborers' International Union of North America. Sounds like a hater to me. Sour Grapes !
Interesting article to read. If a person or member is an illegal immigrant, they shouldn't be allowed to work in the United States period.
As an immigrant worker and Local 980 member, I join this great union, LiUNA, since 1998 or so. I started as an organizer and trained to help and support my brothers and sisters of all races and background through organizing to better their lives; especially, Latino workers because of all the difficulties that we encounter when we get to this country. In 2007, I was transfer to the Mid-Atlantic region where Mr. Martire welcomed me with great Joyce as a Latino to keep helping more Latino workers join our organization. Since I join the Mid-Atlantic Region, I am Proud to be working with Mr. Martire because he always thinks about the Latino community and how we can help them to better their lives and provide for their families. He asked me to work in a right to work state, North Carolina, where no other union has put any resources to help workers, where the prevailing wage is much less than the minimum wage and most construction jobs are being done by Latino workers.
As per Brian Shepherd...? Since I met him I thought he was full of shit. He thought he was going to teach us how to work in the construction Industry, but instead he needed to be educated in our field, and for his friends; no difference. YES WE CAN! LIUNA!
LIUNA astroturf bomb!

A lot of question pops into my mind.
Why is everyone writing on LiUNA'S behalf employed by LiUNA? (not actually real members, BIG DIFFERENCE)
Why are most people ignoring the real issue?

You can go to and seach all of these "members" of liuna. they are paid staff people of Martini.
Terry O, you make an excellent point. All the people so far making comments are mostly Latino workers and their writing skills are great. I believe someone else is writing and speaking for these so called immigrants. The real issue is illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants should not be working period or be in this country illegally. Why at all the construction sites I see in most States, all the workers are Central American or Mexican? What happen to all the black and white U.S. citizens working in construction before the influx of illegal aliens into the United States?
I am a proud LIUNA member and have no doubt that our union supports the rights of all immigrants and will assist those workers who want to better their lives by joining a union. LIUNA is one of the most diverse unions within the Labor movement and will always fight for immigrant rights. Vice President Martire is a progressive leader who wants to bring all workers under the LIUNA umbrella.
Gary Tillis, you do know there's a difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants? Why would you or the Unions support illegal immigrants, people that crossed our porous borders illegally? Illegal immigrants should return back to their countries in El Salvador, Mexico, Central America, South America, Dominican Republic to demand rights of their governments for better opportunities. The United States economy is in the toilet and the influx of illegals working in construction, hospitality, etc. is hurting United States citizens and legal residents. I support Unions as long as all their members are legal U.S. citizens or are holding a Green Card.
Mr. Shepherd (not diserved title) you mention in your article that the names of Liuna Leaders are not hispanics; you forgot to mention the names of Liuna latinos leaders such as: Mike Quevedo, Jose Moreno and the new latino (name not remembered) recently appointed as Vice president in California. Business Managers of Liuna Locals like Sergio Rascon of Local 300 with more than 10.000 members in Los Angeles. Come on, you Bustard tell the truth...!
I have been a Union Member since 1986 Carpenter by Trade was Proud Member of The Carpenter's Union for 19 Years, Organizer since 1998
5 years Proudly working for LiUNA and one thing I know is We had always fought against Descrimination, March and Rallies for Inmigration Reforms and Workers Rights, in the field helped so many Latinos like Me to better their lives and continue to do so, all under the Leadership of Dennis Martire were there are pictures of Dennis also talked to the Media Supporting Inmigrants workers.
Our Organization is No Creed, Color or Race Organization and We Stand for Workers Rights United.
My Question is to Brian and Alex where you going to go when you burn that bridge you're on in 12 months?
I suspected that many of the comments were written by someone fluent in English and capable of articulating these views on paper. These views, however, seem slanted more towards justifying the employment of illegal aliens and providing them with rights and protections that they aren't entitled to. It is very disturbing that with the high rates of unemployment among American citizens that a majority of the construction and service industry jobs are heavily populated with persons of dubious citizenry.
It absolutely amazes me how one sided and incorrect this article it is. It appears to be nothing more than the irresponsible work of a reporter that will report anything without checking facts and that of a disgruntled employee and his yes men that have some kind of agenda against LiUNA and Dennis Martire. The truth is, LiUNA represents all workers from all walks of life that are looking to enhance their lives by having good paying jobs and benefits. In no way, is there or have there ever been any kind of anti-immigration views or ways of thinking from LiUNA or any of its leaders. As a member of the Laborers' I am proud to call VP Martire my leader.
The LIuna Staff keeps on referring to Brain, Alex, and Matt and mentioning the international stand on immigration. They also mention that they are organizing and helping workers if this is so then why the fuck are the number dwindling in the region???

Something is unclear to me too when they speak about organizing? Is it Organizing project labor agreements to put there members to work and kick the other workers out, because that would explain why there is so many construction workers without a voice, and why it is a non union market.
Or Are they talking about bottom up organizing when they build worker power…
The staff can yap about their hurt feelings, but the facts speak for themselves.
I am a very PROUD and ROWDY LiUNA! member in the Mid Atlantic Region working under the leadership of VP & Regional Manager Dennis Martire. First off I would like to say that VP Martire has one progressive objective and that is to better the lives off every man and woman by creating a path for better pay & benefits for current and new members and to organize the unorganized whatever their status is, at the end of the day we are ALL in one family. Second off I believe that Brian was the organizing Director for a year with our organization so Alex and Matt should not be happy with Brains performance or theirs but they choose to follow him back to their previous employer. (Should of left sooner) PS: Lydia DePillis Bio reads she is a real estate reporter, maybe she should stick to that and not be a reporter on disgruntle employees.
Forget semantics and personal issues. The discussion shouldn't be is Brian an asshole, but what are today's unions doing to reach out to immigrant workers and what responsibility do they have to do so? Who holds them accountable to that? If believing that working together with immigrant workers instead of against them is Marxist, then paint me red. Thinking that all of this divisiveness is EXACTLY what the top 20% of this country's wealth want from us is not a communist idea, its reality.

You can point the finger at Brian, Alex, illegal immigrants all you want, meanwhile the people who are TRULY responsible for diminishing jobs and income in this country are laughing while we fight amongst ourselves. It isn't the color of our skin or our immigration status that binds us together, its the corporate agenda of the rich in this country who could give two shits if you're brown, black or white as long as you shut your mouth and work for slave wages. The sooner we realize that and get over our own prejudices, the better off the working class will be.

On a personal note, I've worked with Brian before and he can absolutely be an asshole when he wants to be. The great thing about him however, is that he cares more about building a movement and building talented organizers than he does about building a "good" name for himself. I have met few people in the labor movement who can say the same.
As a business man in the construction industry, this is exactly why 93% of contractors choose not to be union. Reading this article I see a a difference of opinion and strategy. Reading tge comments, shows me something more revealing. Mr. Martires staff types away all sorts of simple verbal assaults on these guys who were not willing to walk in lock step with him. The staff of Liunas mid-Atlantic region are writing all sorts of absurd things, I've never met Mr. Sheppard, however I doubt he is actually tge devil.

As a company, why do business with people such as Feliepe, Joe, Hugo or the rest? They tell me loud and clear, if they don't get it their way, prepare for an attack. Perhaps this is the way tge Laborers do business, if so; no wonder their membership is shrinking and staff are jumping ship. This is no way to do business and today Liuna confirmed to me why we must be a market driven construction sector.
Brian is an great guy with the scruples of a lion, nuff said. It is clear that at some point he and the others had heard and seen enough and judging from the way others on this blog have chosen to attack him I am not suprised why they walked. I mean, who calls anyone an a**hole on a blog? Really? C'mon! What a punk move.
Reading these blogs only tells a deeper story of an organization that bullys those that have a difference of opinions and while opinions are all over the spectrum, the numbers don't lie. You can pick apart the claims about this guy or that guy but the numbers don't lie. You can say it's poor reporting and the claims that are being made are outrageous but the numbers don't lie. You can name call, you can condemn all of them to hell but the numbers don't lie.

I'm in the business of numbers and when the numbers tell a story, and they always do, everything else just falls under the category of excuses because the numbers don't lie. LIUNA is losing membership and fast! Yet all I hear from it's so called supporters are excuses and the lie that they are perpetuating is that the numbers some how must be telling a lie, but as this tiny blurb points out, the numbers (I'll let you finish this one)...
Someone asked why all the union people are on this site and are defending the organization. It's because that is who we are. You pick on one of us and you pick on all of us. This is the same message we are taking to the concrete industry. So workers will not act as individuals but as a group. So today and everyday we advocate for those workers who we need to advocate for. Bad employers like Southland Concrete, Oncore, Miller and Long, Baker Concrete, SMC make for good unions. Today and everyday we will advocate for all workers who are being exploited.
I am not a member of LiUNA but I am a longtime union member and advocate. Ms. DePillis, you got a lot of your facts wrong. Your facts and history regarding union organizing and structure and PLAs are off the mark. Looks like you relyed on some second-hand opinions. Poor reporting like this gives organized workers a bad name. Organziers like Brian Shepherd don't belong in the labor movement either.
A difference of opinion is not what Brian and his crew had. They were on the right track with helping illigal and leagal immigrants. The problem is they only casme across as supporting. What they did was come in and fire a large number of people because they did not do things the same as him. (most had been employed with the union for years)What he should of done was offer a mentor program and help get everyone on the same page. Secondly his campaign's focas on the outside appeared to be only in support of illegal immigrants which upset many members who are suffering through the economy. The tactic that should have been used was going after the companies that employ illegal immigrants so they can outbid jobs for companies that pay a good wage, offer health insurancea and safety. The companies that take advantage of the people who cannot protect themse4lves are the ones who should of been written about in this article. Even thought Brian is passionate about illegal immigrants lets put the real story out there. All people deserve a fair wage, job safety and health coverage. We need to work together and support the one place people can go to - The Union - Nothing is perfect but the Union is the only place we can all go to, whatever your race, religion or color, to get support for working families. Terry O needs to understand that if Brian and his crew really cared they wouldn't try and hurt the very movement they claim to support.
The thing is this people. When Brian first came into MARoC. No one knew anything about this guy and where he came from. While he was being introduced as the "new" director he carried himself like and erragant prick. He thought he was the shit, and though the he could come into an organizition of real men and be as easy like it was where ever he came from. But once he saw that contruction is a compleatly different industry than organizing "nurses" and 'janitor" . So when he came into the Laborers' and got his first ass chewing, i think he realized wht he was dealing with and that it was not goin to be easy. So he the easiest way to make himself look good, was to come up with this crazy ass "action" to hurt Dennis Martire and the Laborers'. Since he couldnt stand up like a men.

And i dont understand why the individuals involve in this article feel like they are the "Super Man" of the whole issues and are only ones that could orgnize the unorganize. We hve the people that are capable to do the job, and we will continue to organize and grow our Union.

Also, LiUNA is not for E-Verification nor push it. That is a dicision that the Feds are imposing on the contractors to use. So learn what Labor Union are about and learn the history of Labor Unions as far as what they have done for working people.
Everyone is attacking these random people who are out of the union now. If they were so terrible, good riddance! I'm more curious to see how LiUNA responds: hopefully the union will reaffirm its commitment to latino workers. Has anyone seen an official response regarding LiUNA's suport for immigrant workers? I'd love to read that.

You could not possibly be this ignorant. I am an immigrant and YES IDID LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH. YOU MORON. I ALSO LEARN HOW TO WRITE AND NO I DID NOT GROW UP HERE.

What do you think just because someone moved to a different country they are uneducated and someone has to do their talking for them.

Sounds to me like you have lots of issues. Let me guess you have a PHD - public high school diploma. So proud of you.


Oh by the way the person correcting my spelling is called SPELCHECK.

Which by the way am sure have to use every day seeing how most AMERICANS don’t know how to spell their own language.

LiUNA is a great company. THANK YOU VERY MUCH
I have been part of the LiUNA family for over five years. It made me sick to my stomach to read this be honest, I couldn't even finish reading it. I have personally marched and protested (along with other LiUNA members from all over the U.S. and Canada) in support of Immigration Reform. I have personally worked with LiUNA's Latino Caucus to talk to members of Congress regarding this issue and how crucial it is to our members and working families. There are so many families, so many illegal immigrants being exploited by companies, to be more specific, NON-UNION companies. Yes, we are all going through tough times right now...and many of these companies are taking advantage of this to exploit these illegal immigrants and their families, threaten to lose their jobs, if they even consider talking to a union representative. Being a Latino, it's sad and disgusting to hear all these stories...

My advice to you Lydia, instead of trying to ruin a great organization's name, that give back to its family and community, no matter what race, color, religion, status, put your efforts in writing about those companies that are exploiting illegal immigrants...that are abusing these families that have no voice. There are so many cases out there!! Talk to Casa de Maryland for example!

Finally, I know you graduated from college, so I know that you are aware that you must collect all the facts before publishing such "article"...and one of the readers above may be right, you may be "associated" with those you state in your article to any one degree, but make sure you actually get all the facts from them too *hint hint*

I'm very familiar with Liuna and I see the Union is very benficial for many immigrants trying to help there family's for a better life in the US. We represent alot of immigrants that get mistreated and under paid from alot of NON-Union companys. I've been reading alot of ignorant comments along with this piece of shit article. The only thing this article is good for is to whipe my ass after consuming a large amount of beer and hot wings. It's hard for me to believe all this shit started from a piece of shit motherfucking cock sucker who couldnt make it in this business. A Vasaline and Knee high pull your skirt's down your vagina is showing. By the way these guys spent the whole time on there Knees while working for LIUNA so thats why there hot and bothered.

I am not trying to ruin a great organizations name. I think you got me mixed up with someone else. I support the Union. I'm disgusted with Brian, Alex and Matt. I thought they supported all people not just themselves and their own agenda. I just think the articles focus needs to be on the companies that exploit the very people big companies should be supporting.
I was a real fucking member of the union not like these fucking assholes that never got me a job, sit back and get there fat pay checks. Some one mention health care that migth be good health care for the staff but fuck out in the construction when i was with Liuna local 11 that fucking shit was a fucking joke! There is reason why people are leaving liuna cause it is a fucking joke.

But i do agree with one thing lets get these illegals and send them back to there country, they are taking our jobs!!

LIuna power, that power never got me a job!!
LOL. The first thing that comes to my mind after reading this article is lol. Are you kidding me? I am a first generation American, and a second generation Union Laborer. My uncle has been in the Laborers Union for over 30 years. He came to this country by crossing the border. He found his way to this country for work. He found work with LIUNA. The opportunity the laborers provided him is the reason he was able to support and provide for his 5 children on his income alone. He also helped pave the way for me and my generation. He was an immigrant who took advantage of an opportunity given by LIUNA.

I personally know many people who have a similar story like my uncles. LIUNA has always been and always will be pro active in helping all classes of people. If you want to make an honest living at a great wage without discrimination of race LIUNA is where you want to be.

One more observation. Alex and the other unnamed employee, by their own admission are undocumented workers, and yet they worked for LIUNA. Sounds a little confusing to me. You say LIUNA doesn't support immigrants, yet you were hired and worked for over a year as an undocumented worker. Let’s get our story straight and not hide behind the immigrant issue. Stop being passive aggressive and be a man.

The fact is you made promises you couldn't keep. You promised results in a year or you would resign. Now the time has come to resign and your ego cant take the fact the real blame is in your mirror. This job is tough enough. If we can’t get it done, let’s not find excuses and point fingers. You say you believe in the labor movement yet you sit here and bash an intricate leader in the movement that is LIUNA.

God Bless you and yours and yes this includes Brian and his crew.
Liuna is a joke ha ha i agree
Correction they are documented.
I am a resident of Silver Spring MD, and was very active during my years in college. i wanted to say that I agree with Lydia about the articles being about big companies exploiting workers.
The fact is no on is helping them, marching, rally's that is all great but, where are the results? Why are the numbers going down if it is such an good organization that question remains unanswered?
Again people always resort to ignore the real issue and go with what is easy attacking individuals; my 13 year old can do that. It is a no brainer why the Union Liuna here is not a powerful union.
The real answer to why the union numbers are down dumb ass is all these companies exploits illegal workers and they will not stand up for their self if they are illegal. Get your head out of your ASS!!
The article is obviously biased for these guys and would have been more effective if it seemed to be trying for balance, but that doesn't respond to the substance of the claims. Labor is declining in this country and a big part of that is a failure to respond to its own shortcomings. I don't know the details of this cat fight but LIUNA clearly threw in a bunch of its loyalists to comment on this article and that's not going to help anyone. Why won't this Martire guy speak out, except through his lawyer? Seems like he's got something to hide.
haha I bet 99% of these comments are from one side or the other, especially liuna. someone mentions that the english is too good for immigrants, suddenly the comments aren't as well written, someone else says something about it all being staff, all these first but not last name comments saying the same stuff pop up. Maybe if they spent more time organizing workwers and less time commenting on blogs they wouldn't be declining into complete sh*t
Ok, I was involved in this organizing campaign early on and then decided that it was not for me and personally, I do not like Mr. Shepherd one bit. Thats not the point I do not have to like him, however respect for someone and having a vision for how workers can change their own lives, is a totally different matter. Most of the comments from LiUNA are a love-fest for Dennis Martire. He had a chance to respond and tell his side, he did not choose to do so. LiUNA Nationally is great on immigration, yet, their spokeperson said it all: "We can't tell Regions or Locals what to do!" Why didn't the NATIONAL spokesperson stand up for this Dennis guy? Was that an accident? Just scroll up a few posts and you will see LiUNA staff posting that the reason for labors decline is illegals getting exploited, really? So alll of you Martire loyalists, how do you deal with that problem? How do PLA's exactly help undocumented workers, or non-union workers for that matter? You know you can't answer that question, so you attack a person instead and praise yourself and give yourselves pat's on the back for being a good ol'boys club. Interesting NO ONE attacked the Latino who actually said something bad about Martire, wonder why THAT is. Really, really, sad. Sounds like LiUNA has a rouge running wild in Reston.
Liuna...hard to deal with truth ?
Lydia,you should be proud for exposing Liuna's Facts of Life
The companies listed above do concrete work, who said it was easy, they hire us,work everyone hard and pay us good when they can.The economy suck so when you walk the neighborhood and see haw many people have no job and have no idea where the next meal will come from,go to work and thank the company that takes care of you.

Liuna will do nothing but take those jobs and our money and the the companies we work for to HELL, the economy is the economy and Liuna can't change that ALTHOUGH they will say they can for us,will you believe them,the Article is REAL READ IT
This smacks of don't ask don't tell...I can just imagine the board room discussion: "Our national policy is that we won't marginalize or target immigrants, but if you [local chapter officials] decide to go after them on a local level...we won't ask if you don't tell." If the national organization doesn't want to smell like fish on this one they'll need to lay down some Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are in line with the national organization's values and even more importantly SOPs that are applicable to those rogue local chapters that operate outside of the established framework. I applaud these guys for taking a stand. It's no suprise to me why they did what they did because a good Union Man or Woman always fights for the underserved.
This is really bad...union-busting by the union itself? What logic is this union applying by attacking a group of people that could one day very well become its own members? How does a Union that supposedly represents the working class go after another group of people that come here for the sole purpose of working? If I am not mistaken the construction industry is demoninated by immigrants or the children of immigrants. The enemy is not the never has been and never will be. The real enemy is the thinking that cheaper is better and I am sorry, that has nothing to do with a hard working man's desire to provide for his family. Shame on LIUNA!
I just dont understand why thid Brian guy and all his "followers" didnt use this article and bring to the light the abuse, the slave treatment, the unfairness, the real and major issues that "imigrant workers" go through, if he actually care about "immigrant workers".... As much influence where its good or bad a newspaper article will be read, and people will then be informed about what the real issue is. This issue seems to point at only thing, and that is to tarnish the good that all Unions stand for and do for middle class America. And if this Brian guy really had the interest and well being of "imigrant workers" he would have brought the issue to light. Instead he bashing the same people that feed him and his family just for personal reason.

And for all of you that claim that LiUNA never got u work or did nothing for you, i know why...U probably couldnt pass a drug test or keep a job because of ur layziness and needed to put the blame on someone else intead of taking responsibility like a real men would.

And yes i am a REAL LiUNA member for 5 years local 657 and its been the best ......and for the record i dont mind working with my Latinos brother and sisters we are in this together....Feel the POWER!
My response is directed to the character that refers to him/herself by the name of "The real truth", post number 58 who posted,

Begin quote
"The real answer to why the union numbers are down dumb ass is all these companies exploits illegal workers and they will not stand up for their self if they are illegal. Get your head out of your ASS!!"
End quote

Please allow me to address this post...the numbers are down because LIUNA is not capable of offsetting the pressures of the current non-union landscape. The numbers are down because LIUNA can't convince the employer that LIUNA employees can do a better job than those they are currently employed. The numbers are down because those that are working who are not documented have no support from LIUNA and have no place to go. The numbers are down because LIUNA can't even convince those workers that are documented to join. The numbers are down because of people like you...who choose to hurl insults rather than discuss, yell rather than talk, use weak arguments like a useless crutch rather than examining the situation at hand and addressing it like a sensible union man. The numbers are down because of people like you that attack others under assumed identities and accordingly because you have no authority on blogs like these and much less when you are face to face with problem solvers, some of whom have chosen to comment on this very article. So while people like us are pulling our heads out of our a***s, I'm sure people like you will continue to contribute to the decline in LIUNA numbers and blame every "Tom, Dick and Harry" or better still "Tomas, Pedro y Juan" instead of looking at a mirror that will reflect only but "The real truth". So if cursing and insulting makes you feel better keep on while we all watch the numbers go down, down, down...and that ain't no lie "jack".
Just a note to Mr. "Y people dont gettit" you say in your post:

(I just dont understand why thid Brian guy and all his "followers" didnt use this article and bring to the light the abuse, the slave treatment, the unfairness, the real and major issues that "imigrant workers" go through, if he actually care about "immigrant workers")

I don't think that Brian guy wrote this and if you keep up with the articles, you would see that UCW has highlighted these issues in Billboards, article, ads, etc. The entire point of the story is not about these guys leaving, it is about after they left, labores union just went back to "business as usual" and dumped all of the workers who were taking risks to try to fight for a better life.

Maybe YOU just dont getitt!
Here is an analogy: Brian Shepherd is like Adrian Fenty--smart,talented, good vision, and a complete train wreck. Because of the way he treated people, and because he employed a staff that thought they knew "better" than anyone else, they quickly alienated everyone around them. To those that criticize LIUNA and unions--I actually am glad the author wrote this piece,(how often to newspapers focus on unions and organizing) and I'll respect her more if she actually follows up on the themes here--does Southland change? Will she actually cross the river and go to Laborers Local 11 or Local 657 in DC and interview union Laborers that are Latino and see if LIUNA is anti-immigrant? THAT is the piece I'd like to see.

What a funny entry! I hope "the real truth" tells us all his/her "real" name and lists his/her "real" motives. Blogs are so inpersonal and so easy to treat eachother like animals, thanks for bringing some humanity back to these entries George M.
Wrong town Wrong Place Liuna
I have worked for Liuna and I also have worked for the concrete companies in this town and still do.
Liuna or UCW did nothing for me but take my dues and my call when I called looking for a job.
I have worked non-union in this city for 10 years since that time and I own a house,a car and can support my family because I worked hard,got recognized as part of a company that is a team and not a union which causes a distinct seperation.
I am not a laborer or journeyman hoping that a union project is coming along, I am a Foreman and have a crew that cares how the company does on a project.

This keeps us on a project instead of wondering when Liuna will get us back to work.
its easy to say what LiUnA is not doing or what its going to do about the Contruction industry and its method to organize. But im sure that all of u who are writing all this anti LiUNA stuff have never organized and most imoportantly never organized in the contruction industry.

Its not easy folks. But LiUNA has always been in the forefront of this, we organize till we die.....Just so ya know LiUNA has a slogan that reads "organize or die trying" what other labor organizition do u see out there in the field making move and reaching out to the contruction workers wh0 are voiceless. NONE !!!! Only LIUNA. and if u dont believe it look any clips from any rally relating to imigration reform you will see the sea of orange. LIUNA ....and not only that but why would Liuna fund a local(UCW) that is focusing on assisting, organizing and providing a better opportunity to the immigrant workers in concrete. Like those at Southland .....

Also, the writer at the beginning of the article mentioned that Liuna had pinked sliped one the most active organizer and then it said the he had resigned... So which one is it?

This is clearly a personal vandetta that Brian has against Liuna and the writer bought into it.... HOpe her ass gets sued for writing such false article without getting the facts....Remember its not what u know, but what u can prove.!And LIUNA 100 years of existense has proof it loyalty to workers of all orgins......

also BRian , Alex and bitch ass Matt if i see u in the street ima bitch slap ya... for being such punks.
Well while the truths are being told. I am an Latino Worker for Southland Concrete and have been here for many years and the lies that have been put in the papers,on Latino radio and everywhere is proof to me and my Latino co-workers that Liuna Organizes with lies.

Those lies are used to insult our intelligence, we are not stupid Liuna and we know how to tell when we are treated bad, we don't need you to try to talk us into believing your BS.

We want our jobs,we like our company, and no we don't want you to save us.
Mr. "Ray J" Oh i get it.. if you think about it how long its been since Brian resinged? a week or two... so what the fuck are talking about that the workers were dumbed....and the laborers went back to business as usual. I guess u must be one of their little "Butt Buddies" too who bought into the this whole bullshit lie. And not only that but did Alex also get fired last week, so could a campaing that had such a strong hold all the sudden be done with after a week ot two..C'mon man!
Mr. "Ray J" Oh i get it.. if you think about it how long its been since Brian resinged? a week or two... so what the fuck are talking about that the workers were dumbed....and the laborers went back to business as usual. I guess u must be one of their little "Butt Buddies" too who bought into the this whole bullshit lie. And not only that but did Alex also get fired last week, so could a campaing that had such a strong hold all the sudden be done with after a week ot two..C'mon man! and the laborers' werent the one that left the workers of Southland it WAS BRIAN AND ALL BITCHESSSSSSSSSS!
"Ypeopledontgetit" or whoever you are, you really are an angry guy and maybe anger management is in order. If these post are representitive of liuna, no wonder you are a dying breed. I'm suprised you can use a computer. hah ha ha haha
"I rather die on my feet, than live on my knees" like all of you that are giving this article and Brian praise.

Just because he couldnt deliver on his promise and the only way to go out is like a punk bitch and bring as many people down to make him self look good for his next job or wat ever the reason. 100 years and counting. Dying breed my ass.
"dontgetit, seems like you are in love and obsessed with these guys. you sure you didn't make a pass at them? your an idiot.
OK, I will start with For You by responding to your last post. First off I am a former union member (not construction but a union), my father is a former construction worker and union member who was forced out of the industry after being abused by IUPAT and LIUNA. In addition I even served as a Union Organizer and trained organizers for LIUNA, SEIU and UFCW. I can tell you flat out that LIUNA and the Carpenters in this area and for that matter are full of shit. From them holding events in South East DC in which all of the folks they had show up talking about needing local jobs were from PG County to flat out telling stories about the work on the Baseball Stadium and Convention Center. They tried to push a PLA bill in DC so that they could try to force the government to organize the local construction union because the employees don't want that bullshit. The fact of the matter is the union is full of shit, I will tell you what is truly going on with them:

(01) They are not for the employees, they want the dues.
(02) They are truly not letting you know that if you are not a member for 3 or more years that all of the money you put into their pension program which is not fully funded that you lose.
(03) They are not telling you that the majority of the work in this area is performed by non union companies and for that reason you will more than likely be sitting on your hands instead of working because they don't bid jobs, have jobs or create jobs.
(04) They are not telling you that jobs are awarded based on how long you have been in the union so that the white folks will get all the jobs because they have been there longer.
(05) The are not telling you that in the paper they were lying because they don't have members at Miller & Long, Southland, Clark and all of the other companies they mentioned.
(07) They are not telling you that most of the folks that they tricked into the joining the union on the baseball stadium are still paying dues and not working but have to pay dues.

Now we can talk about the fact that even the government said that the PLA's are not the best and most effective way.

I mean the Laborers lie and advertise on their building that they build America. If only 15% of construction workers are in the Union then you can't be building the damn country you lying bastards.

Fact of the matter is that LIUNA, Carpenters Union and the others are full of shit and those saying otherwise are just trying to trick folks into joining so that they can get some money. If you all really cared about the workers you would let them join for free in such a bad economy as you don't need the money or you would allow companies to have portable benefits on PLA's which would allow them not to pay into your broken pension plans. This won't happen however because the old guard money hungry Italian Bastards are full of shit and just want your money for their $300,000 a year salaries and to go to Florida and attend trips, get company cars and go to stay in nice hotels while you and your families still struggle.
It does seem as though some are confused by what Liuna is doing to them. Obama will not save your asses in this town.

Taking money from us to run a crooked operation such as Liuna doesn't make us feel better.

Of course all companies could be better to their employees but when you look at Dept of Labor information and, and many other websites,and the truths about Liuna,how the money is spent,the legal cases etc. the companies we work for are angels?

Don't let them suck you in too!!
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Listen DC Worker, if Liuna only took your money wont you be man enough to give your name?

Julio, I like your words, but i would like to make a correction, LiUNA doesnt employ undocumented workers>
Hey "DC resident and former Union organizer" I see why ur a "former" member and or employee....Cause your DUMB! u dont make any sence at all u fucking dumb ass. People like you who think they know what unions are; are what make UNIONs work. So families can send kids to school and get an education and learn . YOu obviosly didnt learn shit while there... thats probably why u got fired too....hahahahhahjaaa

and by the way i pays dues and dont mind it one bit, cus i know how the union work unlike ur self. And almost forgot i have a pension too that is secure, what do u have?
I like dealing with facts not fiction. VP Martire did not do this interview because he was smart enough to smell a set up piece. Fact, Matt, Brian and Alex are all Facebook friends with this reporter. This reporter was given the facts and decided to write a smear piece. Another fact, these workers while they worked for Liuna never once went to Martire with any of these allegations. A good reporter would have asked to see the resignation letter from Brian. You know he did provide one. For someone who was quitting, you would think it would scream I hate you because I hate your immigration policy! It's silent on the issue. Strange. You would think since they went to this reporter and then withdrew there statements that the reporter would kill the story. Still she ignored the facts. Strange once again. So let's please just stick with the facts. Lydia the author of this crap is bought and paid for by the developers and ABC Contractors. The non union contractors will continue to exploit it's workers because they can. Until the day when the workers will stand up and not take it anymore will they be able to come out of the shadows. The day when all the workers get the same benefit and pay no matter what concrete contractor they work for is coming. Don't be afraid Mr. Non-Union contractor. You will still have a big house, nice car and a country club membership. But you workers will get paid a living wage and get company benefits. Funny, all the management employees for these companies get company paid benefits but the actual people that make the money for these companies have it deducted from the pay. So let's do the math. If the worker only makes $12.00 an hour and if he wants benefits that cost $4.00 per hour he/she takes home $8.00 per hour. Everyone can make a living on $8.00. Lol. Let the games begin! This just made us stronger.
also if unions didnt do any good.. why do u think u benefit with overtime pay, and workers comp., and OSHA, and job safety, why do i think there is a child labor law, why do u think there is Prevaling wages? BECAUSE OF UNIONS! and unions are no good, but yet we all benefit from all the work they have done. Yall a bunch of hipocrits.
I like what u wrote #84.......NICE !

News papers takes anything specially with writters like Lydia "Blue Pills" Sorry I mean DePillis. Reading your article I only can come to a conclution: The only reason you offer your self to do something like that, is because you are frustated because you could'nt suck the 3 million dollars you were asking to run the "campaing" hahahahaha. Stop blaming others for your incopetent way of "work" Go back to where you came from to see if you can get a cow so you can suck the blood, you could'nt sucked from LiUNA;, Texas? I believe,,,!(I have nothing against that Great State) but I never like you from the first day I met you.
I stand corrected. I mis-wrote, I meant to write Immigrant instead of undocumented. That being said,LIUNA has always be an advocate for working Americans documented or not.
Maybe it's time for Term Limits! Sign the Petition for Term Limits at
I am an American and I too believe that everyone should have the chance to work but we need to figure out how to secure papers for those that are not criminals and allow then to be part of this great country.

This can be done without Liuna or anyone feeding off of them and taking advantage of them.

I would venture to say that the companies listed do not work undocumented workers or do check the status as far as the law allows and we all know or are pretty sure that they do not mistreat them, this misconception is the only way that Liuna can find to distort the truth and get those DUES to pay those listed in all this conversation above.

Everyone has great points but if you feel like you want to be union,be union but don't condone the using lies to suck others in that are doing fine where they are.

This is America and the world is watching us fall apart because of greed, either by companies or by unions,especially the leaders.

Unions are good if they are honest and fair and bad if they are not.Companies are good if they take care of employees top to bottom and bad if they do not.

Bad employers make for great unions. The concrete industry in the DC area has made billions of dollars off the backs of immigrant and for the past decade undocumented workers. Miller and Long testified at a hearing that if you take away his illegal workers it would put him out of business. What that really means is he would be forced to hire DC residents and pay a living wage. Also it means maybe he could only belong to a few country clubs instead of a unlimited amount. While his workers get paid poverty wages and make him and all the other concrete companies millions of dollars they continue to pay it's workers poverty wages. Why does a concrete laborer in NY, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh make over $20.00 plus benefits and a concrete laborer in the DC metro area only make $12.00 and no benefits? The work is the same. They perform the exact same tasks. So the only reason is the status of these workers requires they work for less or they are disposed of. That is the fact. Workers will unite and end this abuse. It has nothing to do with union dues. Workers can and will start to stand up. Cards are being signed at a rapid rate. Don't be afraid. It's good for those workers that you say love you so much. LiUNA represents workers not greedy contractors. Immigrant workers documented or undocumented just want to work and provide for their families. LiUNA is the vehicle to giving these workers a voice. They are not asking for much. They just do not want to feel like they are disposal. A living wage, employer paid health care and a retirement benefit is all they want. Are you willing to provide this Randy? I understand that one of your Superintendents was served yesterday for assaulting one of your workers. Care to comment? You pick on one of us you pick on all of us. Don't ever forget it!
Nick (#53) YOUR a fucking joke. lmao
Jackie (#60) talking about "someone mentions that the english is too good for immigrants, suddenly the comments aren't as well written" its called a fucking typo...DUH! smh.
Btw im 15, my dad works for Liuna. He works his ass off everyday to support our family and help others out their who need a job. You people make it seem like LiUNA only helps immigrants only when it's not even like that. Liuna is a GREAT organization. I don't care what people say. Opinions are like assholes. LiUNA, FEEL THE POWER!
Does anyone making the allegations against the companies know what they pay or what benefits they have ? do they not check the immigration status before hiring ? Does Liuna want them to or not,hard to tell ? Does Liuna also care about the White or African American Employees, it is very hard to tell ?

Just what I thought, this is why it is hard to get creditablity Liuna,is the information based upon assumptions or made up information,whatever is the easiest way to get into the employees heads and make them feel like less of a person if they won't listen ?

The employees believe in real shit, not made up drama like that from a reality show.

I am a long time member of LIUNA and I am proud to say that never once have I encountered the type of discrimination that Mr. Shepard and Guzman talk about. In fact the union I know embraces all laborers of all nationalities. The leadership of LIUNA has today as it had in 1903 made concerted efforts to stand up for the exploited worker whether they be Latino, Irish , African American or any other nationality. The UCW owes it roots to forward, progressive thinking from men such as Mr. Martire. Without the foresight of leaders such as Mr. Martire, our union would not be where it is today. As far as Mr. Shepard, Guzman and Trabaldi go, I had the opportunity to work with all three of those men and I can tell you they are not honorable men, and the way they conducted business was less then forthright.
I've been a member of LiUNA for over 30 years, prior to joining this great organization I was a member of another great American organization named The United States Navy. While in the Navy I searved on a committee called Human Rights and Resources, a group committed to helping military personel and advocating rights for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or religion, its what I believe in, its who I am. In 1979 I was honorably discharged and choose to go to work in the construction industry. As I began working in construction I was faced with two decisions. The first decision was an easy one, and that was the decison to work Union and be a Union member.I was looking for a job that had good health and welfare benefits and a decent pension so when I decided to retire I could do so with dignity, so Union was an easy decision. The second decision was even easier and that was the decision of which Union to join. I choose LiUNA because like the U.S. Navy and the Human Rights and Resources Committee in which I served, LiUNA is a Union of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or religion, black, white, yellow, red and brown, its what they believe in, its who they are. During my 30 years of LiUNA membership I've seen this organization reach out, embrace, advance and help the Hispanic worker amd there families better there lives like no other organization in the country. LiUNA is the fastest growing most progressive Union in the country. Our strength is in our diversity, it always has been and it always will. So it should come to no surprise that LiUNA has more Haspanic members than any other Construction/Buiding Trades Union in the country. More Hispanic members than the Carpenters, Ironworkers, Electricians and Operating Engineers combined. Like the immigrant workers that came to this country many years ago, LiUNA has showed time and time again to reach out to welcome and embrace Hispanic immigrant workers and there families, its what we believe, its who we are, its in our DNA. I've known
Dennis Martire for over 10 years, and what I know is that he is a man of great character and conviction, a honorable, responsible and respected leader. A man totally dedicated to helping people, all people of all colors. This is simply a story of a former disgruntled employee, but then that's not news worthy.Miss DePillis and the Washington City Paper should be ashame, they have clearly demonstrated that responsible accurate reporting is not a priority. As for the next organization considering hiring Mr Sheppard, two works come to mind, BUYER BEWARE!
Ok enough, Brian, Matt we know you are writing most of the comments that are not Union Workers, and you call yourself Union leaders we know how your write and all the comments sound like you two, Mr. Martire had given you full power to do a job well and you failed and now you are bashing the Union that gave you a pay check, benefits, and a xar and gas card. I hope your next employer who we know is SEIU will see how you are in bashing your ex employer and I hope all future employment you two get and you also Alex and Rocio never become leaders because of this,

Oh yea Roicio I hope ICE comes visit you soon like in February Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Why does the union have to spread lies and rumors about great concrete construction companies like Southland Concrete, Baker, Miller & Long, Oncore ??? Yes I work for one of them and I am damn proud. Nobody can make everybody happy all the time and that is BS that there is mistreatment of the workers . If you work hard and do your job you can be anything you want in a company. I am proud to stand with my brothers of concrete.

Is Joanna White (#96) a LiUNA employee? If so, her comments regarding ICE suggest that the charges in the article are somewhat true. No organization that was serious about about a pro-immigrant stance would have employees that believed that kind of hateful speech was acceptable. Disagreeing with someone is one thing, hoping that a woman is ripped away from her home, family and friends and held in dangerous detention conditions that are sorely lacking oversight is just sick. The union could have responded to this article by defending its stance on immigration and instead they have sent employees to make ad hominem attacks, apparently without advising them on avoiding hateful and violent speech. It's just shameful. DC workers deserve better.

Joanne works real close to the so praised denny, how the fuck can you advocate for immigrant rights when you hope someone's daughter get striped away from her family, the true face of liuna comes out. I bet denny will give her a high five and maybe even a raise for that comment!!! Liuna is not pro immigrant your colors have been shown so please stop pretending.
Matt, Alex, and Brian you all are a bunch of PUNKS!

and Alex didnt talk shit about SEIU while u were working with LIUNA? Making the same accusation that they did not care about the members, after they too had fire you. And now ur doing it to LIUNA uhmmmmmmmm! seems like there are pass practice of cowardness in u.
again with the insults.

Can employers of LiUNA since you guys have a lot of time on your hand please explain why one of your workers just wished ice to come visit some one soon? What is that all about! Looks like instead of bashing people you should spend some time finding out what you are really working for.

People keep on parsing Denny but wtf has he really done? numbers have not gone up and liuna is still a weak union. Are people really that naive?

We are all laborers, be a man, pick one one pick on all of us......pathetic! talk about the real issues! and some one please explain why one of your employees would wish ice on someone when you supposedly advocate for immigrants? you are all lationos are all fine with that???
To Joanne Brown and Dina Hoffman:
This is the real Joanne White who works in the office of Mr. Martire and no I did not make that comment, someone else used my name and wrote it, in fact alot of people are using the real names of LIUNA members to make comments.
I do not wish any one to be rip away from their families so get that straight.
Wow...Ms. DePillis, you have stumbled on to something worthy of a series of articles. First, news is supposed to be objective; no slants allowed. Second, it is a shame that WCP is allowing a stream of comments that may have been forged. Third, it is an open secret that so much of the construction industry's labor force is undocumented; if the GOP-controlled House makes a federal version of the Arizona immigration law [for the POTUS sued Arizona], then construction and day labor sites across the US will look like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl during the Depression.
Favorite comment thus far:

#48 Ree wrote:

"LiUNA is a great company. THANK YOU VERY MUCH"

Ree, you are right. LiUNA is a COMPANY! It is run as such, and not as a union. There are plenty of managers at every level and region, and thus decisions cannot be made without getting approval from different heads so that you don't end up stepping on anyone's toes. That is why these folks got fired because they tried to negotiate a business deal without gettn clearance from other managers. This had nothing to do with the issue of immigration, but it had everything to do with trying to change the business culture of LiUNA.

LiUNA is not about advocating for social justice, its interests are solely to benefit their few clients (members). To accomplish this, every regional head or manager, rewards some of their best clients and family members by giving them jobs in the company to create loyal employees that will do their bidding and keep such managers in their position. Those newly hired, like all previously hired clients, must do whatever they can to protect both the company's image and their manager's image. This is universally understood by everyone within the company, that is why the Company's HQ representative makes it clear that "they don’t tell regions, district councils, or local branches what to do".

This pretty much sums up the day-to-day operations of the LiUNA Company. Yes it is true, like others have stated here, they do great things for many clients and no one can argue this point! But that's the main problem with this company! They may take care of 5,000 clients, but they aren't really doing anything for the 250,000 clients that are sitting on the bench! And they aren't doing anything for the millions of workers that get exploited in their industry. Yes, every once in a while they will throw money at some worthy upstart campaign, donate some cash to "immigrant-friendly" organizations, or place the "right faces" in some position of power, but in the end these are all business costs they incur to hide their front of being a company and continue the lie of being a union.

That is why the labor movement in the building trades is the way it is. It needs to be run like a true union, and not like a company. "Union" leadership must be willing to push a national plan and unity that will incur have to incur sacrifices (like letting go of dead weight), but this will never happen because LiUNA CEO "don’t tell regions, district councils, or local branches what to do".
To all gossips
you are a bunch of pussies quiffing about the whole thing, why don't you get to work and organize and let these 3 cowers and their chics run like chiken with out heads back to texas where there is no standards and learn from this that this is no camping organizing the construction industry, plus when it comes to organize the undocumented it's where it all stops because they are so afraid of standing for them selves and there is no magic to overcome this so thats why the construction companies rather have more undocumented workers to keep them in the dark and feed them shit in return undocumented are so greatfull to have a job, untill one day this goverment stop their bullshit and legalize the undocumented so we can move on and straight this krucked contractors accross the board. in the mean time I invite you to drop into the trenches with me starting at 5am. and face the real truth bunch of pusies, there I said it.
Say it's not so. These type of people have had this type of trouble from a previous employer before, here and then now going back to the same employer. Says a lot about them. huh
This is for Mr. Attention!!!!! You are right about the Houston article.

After Alejandro and Rocio left, the corrupt leadership of the Local Union were replaced by principled leadership. Them leaving was part of the catalyst that allowed change to happen. After reading this article, I felt bad for LiUNA, because nationally they are doing the right things, after reading these comments, I thought how pathetic is it to parade your Latino employees out and force them to say things that are not true in defense of theis Denny Martini. The rest of the comments are just a joke, apparently just like the team Dennis has put together.

You are right, let's hope LiUNA national responds the same way as the article you referenced above and fires all of the leadership team under Martini and all of the people who posted these comments. Good luck.
alex stop speaking such lies and make the victim, you say you fight for the right workers, where are my rights remember when I was fired for you. not gave me any reason, you told me, that you will send me my money ,im waiting some day for that money ,today i'am claiming in court.
I use my money to do my job, credit cards and cash, as well, you tell your other organizers said it was refundable, when I was fired because you left me bankrupt
Thanks to you I lost my apartment, I have debts
but I'm paying with my new job.
organizer is not much talk of a thousand strategies to try to impress the bosses
and ultimately does nothing.
remember who broke your dc march against southland workplace. ME , and I did it alone, that is to be the organizer. that was for me very easy to do, you knew that in my country I was a community leader, a university leader, and work with the national government, I know what it is to work with construction workers, remember you called me to work together, I did not knew you.
I met you through andrade hector, he saw my participation in a meeting of Local 11.
my question is that you're not going to court dates, you are afraid or because you are irresponsible or simply do not want to go.
You know in this process attended by representatives of LIUNA and TRUCORPS.
if anyone doubts what i say ask alejandro
dennis martire embezzled money from his members, and now he wants to deport them? how much does he make again?
I heard some wild stories about the Mid-Atlantic laborers, which is a shame, because this country really needs a strong and vibrant labor movement now more than ever.

Hopefully, the best is that the LIUNA President comes to Reston and puts a stop to everything before the situation becomes irreparable.

An action like this puts a black eye on the entire labor movement, not just the laborers or Martire. This is incompetence and sociopathy of the highest order.

Martire must step down for the good of his organization.

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