Ken Ward Jr.
December 10, 1999
A West Virginia labor leader
has been named president of the Laborers' International Union
of North America,union officials announced Thursday.
Terence M. O'Sullivan, 44,
was elected general president of the Laborers' union at a meeting
of the organization's General Executive Board in Washington, D.C.
O'Sullivan succeeds the controversialArthur A. Coia, who will
retire Jan. 1. "Having been a member
of this union for almost 30 years, I have seen success and growth
- and the work and dedication it takes to make those things happen,"
O'Sullivan said. "I want to assure the
members of the Laborers' International Union of North America,
the entire North American labor movement, and our critics and
supporters alike, that this union is strong and will grow even
stronger," he said.
Coia drew scrutiny from congressional
Republicans for his support of President Clinton. In March, an
independent hearing officer cleared Coia of charges that he had
ties to organized crime. Coia was fined $100,000 for accepting
a Ferrari in a joint arrangement with a dealer who leased cars
to the union.
The Laborers' Union has about
800,000 members. It represents workers in construction, environmental
remediation, maintenance, food service, health care, clerical
and other occupations. The union also has members in state, local
and municipal government, and the postal service.
In the 1980s, President Reagan's
Commission on Organized Crime accused the Laborers of having mob
ties. In 1995, the union signed an agreement with the U.S. Department
of Justice to avoid racketeering charges.
Coia served as president of
the union for 10 years. "But for far too many
years, my position in the union has caused me to be investigated
nonstop, top-to-bottom and inside out," Coia said. "For far too many years,
my entire life has been scrutinized - every action reviewed, every
motive analyzed, every decision questioned, every good deed doubted.
For far too long, I have asked my family to endure what I had
In a prepared statement, O'Sullivan
said, "I look forward to building on the record of achievement
this union has attained under Coia's administration. Above all,
at all times, we will continue to fight for the rights and dignity
of [union] members and all working men and women."
O'Sullivan, a California native,
began his career with the Laborers in 1974. In 1987, he joined
Local 1353 in Charleston, where he worked as the administrator
of the West Virginia Laborers' Training Fund. O'Sullivan also
served as assistant director of the union's construction, maintenance,
and service trades department, and was instrumental in construction
of a union training center in Mineral Wells, Wood County. He lived
in Parkersburg for five years, and now lives in Clifton, Va.
To contact staff writer Ken
Ward Jr., call 348-1702 or e-mail email@example.com.