An F.O.B. and the Mob

An F.O.B. and the Mob

With droopy eyes and an engaging, boyish smile, Arthur A. Coia presents himself as the new face of American labor. Coia is the general president of the Laborer's International Union of North America, the sprawling association of toxic waste handlers, oil riggers, and tunnel diggers. An unabashed supporter of free trade and "worker-management cooperation," Coia has successfully sold himself to journalists and politicians as an avatar of reform.

Also a staunch ally and financial supporter of President Clinton, Coia was an early backer of the new leadership at the once-listless AFL-CIO. His efforts to recruit low-paid, disenfranchised workers and to raise the profile of labor in the political arena are part of a trend that many say has reenergized organized labor. Meanwhile, Coia claims decisive victories in breaking labor's longstanding and notorious partnership with organized crime....

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