Oct. 7, 1998
The Rhode Island Laborers' District Council
announced its endorsement of Governor Almond yesterday, marking
the second time the union has broken ranks with the Rhode Island
AFL-CIO to back the Republican governor. The union, which is an
arm of the Laborers' International Union of North America, also backed Almond in 1994.
"His performance over the four years
satisfies us," said Ronald M. Coia, business manager of the
Rhode Island council. "He's done very well for us in the
area of construction."
Coia cited Almond's support of the Providence
Place mall, which has added 125 new Laborers' union positions
and promises many more. State employees represented by the union
also have received a fair shake from Almond's administration,
Almond secured the union endorsement after
meeting with LIUNA General President Arthur Coia (Ron Coia's cousin)
in Newport last month.
The governor, a former U.S. attorney, has
courted the Laborers' endorsement despite highly publicized allegations
of mob influence in the union. Almond campaign manager Edward
Morabito said the governor is not worried that cozying up to a
union with a less-than-savory reputation will hurt the governor.
"The endorsement reflects the fact that
the Laborers, as an organization, believes that the governor has
done a good job for the working people of Rhode Island,"
"The vast majority of Rhode Islanders
know Lincoln Almond, know his record. This has nothing do with
problems they may have had, or allegations that may have been