Coleman retirement questioned

By Nikki Blankenship -

Laborers Local 83 field representative Cole Coleman stated Monday that union leader Gary Coleman had retired from the union after 30 years of service. That statement has since been proved to be false.

Gary Coleman is not yet eligible for retirement. In order to draw a retirement pension from the union, one must be 53 years of age and have 30 years of employment. Gary Coleman is not yet of retirement age.

“Cole said he retired. That’s all we know,” Local 83’s office secretary stated when questioned about the union leaders “retirement.”

“There is not yet an active indictment,” she further stated when asked about investigations into the Gary Coleman.

Gary Coleman, who was the business manager for the Laborers Local 83 in Portsmouth, has been under the media eye for several years. Coleman has been accused of nepotism, hiring several family members to join him at the union hall, while also being criticized for his high wages.

According to US Department of Labor statistics, Coleman is among the highest paid union leaders in the State.

In the Jan. 15, 2013 edition of The Washington Times, an article titled “For union leadership jobs, it pays well to have family ties,” states, “At the Laborers 83, a $2.9 million union with 634 members in Portsmouth, Ohio, Gary Coleman made $163,000 as secretary-treasurer with his brother Joe as auditor. The elected officers hired Gary’s daughter Lindy to oversee the apprenticeship program.”

Gary Coleman was appointed to his position by former father-in-law Ralph Cole. Since taking on his position, Gary Coleman has recruited numerous family members, including his former wife, son, daughters, brother and in-laws – all of which are documented through the US Dept. of Labor and Statistics.

In the 2012 Labor Organization Annual Report, the $2.5 million union with 600 active and retired members paid board president Stanley Craft $108,039, comparable to vice president Adrian Harrison who made $29,217. Meanwhile, recording secretary James McGraw earned $123,964, and Business Manager Gary Coleman made $311,357. The following year, salaries were adjusted taking Gary Coleman down to $191,291. Stanley Craft earned $119,974, and James McGraw earned $109,104. Furthermore, Gary Coleman earned $241,444 the following year; $195,046 in 2015; and $201,258 in 2016 and was the only officer to earn more than $100,000. Union membership has decreased each year since 2012.

By Nikki Blankenship

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.