Charges Against Union Denied

Labor Lawyer Says Wall Offered A Chance To Work

By Lawrence Strauss
Journal Inquirer Staff Writer

Oct. 14, 1988

A Hartford labor lawyer on Thursday rebutted several allegations made by Gary R. Wall, a Wetherfield man who has contended that his union's leadership is corrupt and that it has blackballed him.

Several of Wall's allegations about the union, Laborers Local 230, were printed in a Journal Inquirer story Wednesday.

Robert M. Cheverie, who defended the union in a complaint filed by Wall with the National Labor Relations Board, responded to some of the allegations during an interview in his office.

Among other things, Wall said the union has kept him from working for more than a year.

"I resent very much the allegation that the union has blackballed Mr. Wall," Cheverie said.

The union , Cheverie said, has provided opportunities for Wall to work on many occasions

Wall scored a victory over the summer when an administrative law judge, after reviewing a complaint he had filed with the NLRB, sided with Wall. The judge, Wallace H. Nations, ruled that the union engaged in unfair labor practices when it refused to refer work to four members.

Wall also said that Cheverie, in speaking at a union meeting in Hartford last month, called the judge a "moron." "I certainly didn't call the judge a moron," Cheverie said. I did criticize his decision."

Wall had accused Cheverie of telling the NLRB "the big lie." The union plans to appeal the decision , a move Wall thinks is ludicrous and too expensive.

Responding to Wall's comments about "the big lie" and the appeal, Cheverie said, "I felt there was a sound reason for an appeal. And I feel Mr. Wall has created a conspiracy theory, which is difficult to rebut, and that once a judge buys part of a conspiracy theory, he then adopts the entire conspiracy theory, which has resulted in the decision going against the union."

Asked what he meant by the "conspiracy theory," Cheverie said he was referring to Wall's allegation that the union has conspired against him and others to keep them out of work.

Referring to his own remarks at the union meeting last month, the lawyer added: "I said that the conspiracy theory is based upon a big lie."

"This is 'On the Waterfront.' He (Wall) is the bad guy," Cheverie said, referring to a published remark by Wall in which he accused the union's leadership of corruption.

Cheverie contends Wall, in making allegations about corruption, has never produced any specific evidence. Wall has said he feels vindicated by the NLRB ruling.

Wall also has noted that his attempts to challenge the union's leadership, including an unsuccessful bid for office in June 1986, have cost him dearly and that he has attempted to reform the organization legitimately.

Cheverie accused Wall of using "threats" and "intimidation," among other tactics, in union affairs.

Wall has said he plans to run another slate of candidates in the next union election. Chrverie pointed to the incumbents' 514 votes.

As for Wall's contention that he was silenced at the union meeting last month after he tried to speak out, the lawyer said, "Mr. Wall's ability to speak out and exercise his free-speech rights have never been curtailed

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