STRIKE UPDATE (fwd)
Bryan A. Alexander
bnalexan at umich.edu
Tue Oct 17 09:48:18 MDT 1995
This is massive, be warned. And sad.
Department of English
University of Michigan
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Date: Tuesday, 17 October 1995 9:41am ET
From: MARY_ELLA_HOFFMAN at dsc.umich.edu
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Subject: STRIKE UPDATE
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Mon, 16 Oct 95 05:45pm ET
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 95 17:47:22 -0400
From: alec at umich.edu
To: newssupport at umich.edu
Subject: STRIKE UPDATE
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Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 11:30:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Charles Dreiling <mdreil at umich.edu>
Subject: STRIKE UPDATES
To: newssupport at umich.edu
STRIKE ACTION UPDATES:
The last three weeks of the strike have been marked by a period of
disarray interspersed among active efforts at reorganization and
innovations. Saturday night pickets have continued, but have shifted
various metro distribution centers. The leaderships continued
to organize and mobilize a Sterling Heights mass picket has reflected
internal contradictions of the contemporary labor movement. Union
leaders, fearing the massive fines and arrests from a defiance of the
injunction, have remained locked into a business unionism, accepting the
postwar convention of labor-capital negotiations. This same leadership
principle was evident with the decision to quit leafletting Art Van as
well. Art Van just won a case against the unions for allegedly carrying
out a secondary boycott. The law, and the institutions behind the law,
have consistently limited the terrain on which this strike can be
out. The leaderships main strategy of hitting the advertisers is now
being jeopardized by the law that they fear, as was the earlier strategy
of mass pickets at Sterling Heights. Active rank-and-filers have
increasingly recognized the constraints and injustices of the law.
Militant protection of the picket lines at the distribution centers
reflects this. The Clayton Dist center was turned into a war zone for
two weeks. Company goons charged the pickets two weeks ago with batons
and shields. The attack was a clear violation of the law, but the cops,
only 50 feet away, assisted the goons rather than protect the workers.
The company ignited one of its vehicles, burning it for their media
campaign against the workers. This effort was thwarted by rank-n-file
videographers who filmed the goons igniting the car. The video was
provided to the various TV news braodcasters, but nothing was ever
More recently, large mobilizations took place at two north Metro
distribution centers, with about 500 strikers and supporters at each
site. Cops mobilized substantial numbers as well. Conflict was less
intense, but the clear sense of urgency and need for continued
mobilization has been apparent. Finally, IBEW (Int. Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers) rank-n-filers have taken
the initiative that has been long in waiting; the planning and
for a mass picket at the Sterling Heights plant by SUPPORTERS of the
strikers. This innovation has been in the making for a while, but,
is broad support from UAW locals as well as IBEW, BMWE (Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way Employees (railroad)), and other union
locals. Be watching and prepared for getting out to the picket line in
coming weeks. The striking workers will sit on the sidelines for this
one (at least 40 feet from the driveway). This will protect them from
losing their jobs and protect their unions from massive fines. We will
probably need to mobilize for several weeks to stop the Sunday paper in
the upcoming advertising frontier of the holidays.
This ends the report on strike activities.
Report on local support activities
Locally, a coalition has formed to organize support in the Ann
Arbor/Ypsilanti area and to support the Detroit activities. The main
effort to date has been to get organized in picketing local advertisers
to get them to stop supporting the scab rags. This is starting to come
together although there are still some rough edges. As you may have
read, we now have two-hour shifts set up to cover Saturday and Sunday.
Anyone who is interested in picketing can call Katie Phillips at
313-522-8212 to get hooked up with a shift. Or you can contact
alec at umich (ph.741-9744) or mdreil at umich (ph. 763-8761).
Additional activities are planned as well. This week the Student Labor
Action Coalition (SLAC) has invited two striking workers to speak in the
Union this Thursday. In the mean time, SLAC will be tabling in the
fishbowl (Mason hall area). Leaflets, flyers and a video will be
played/made available from 1-3pm. Stop by to help out or get more info.
SLAC will post more info when we get the names of the strikers who will
come this thrusday.
Finally, once we have the advertiser boycott activity under control, we
are looking to expand our targets to hit business who continue to sell
the paper. We want to be sure there is enough people-power to do this on
a sustained basis.
This ends the report on local support activities.
For those of you who want additional information, the following stories
may be of interest. They are mainly pulled from the strikers Internet
Web Page, the Detroit Journal, at
http://www.rust.net/~workers/strike.html. If you don't want the info,
I. CLUW pledge of support;
II. Guild and DNA negotiations;
III. Detroit City Council resolution;
IV. criminal investigation of the papers;
V. Ward's pulls out
VI. Scab injures striker
VII. UAW support;
VIII. The papers delivery dilemma;
I. Labor women coalition pledges support for strikers
More than 1,000 delegates at the annual convention of the Coalition of
Labor Union Women, meeting in Dearborn, pledged support this week for
Detroit's striking newspaper workers.
"We stand squarely behind the newspaper strikers in their fight for
fairness against two giant media monopolies," said Gloria Johnson,
president of CLUW.
Convention delegates demonstrated Saturday at Super Kmart in Dearborn
at other stores that continue to advertise in the Detroit News and Free
More than 2,000 members of six unions have been on strike since July 13
against Detroit Newspapers Inc., which operates the two papers and is
jointly owned by Gannett Co. and Knight Ridder Inc.
Linda Foley, the newly elected international president of the Newspaper
Guild, said that Detroit's newspaper workers have received wide support
from labor, church and community organizations "all over the Detroit
and across the country."
"Knight Ridder and Gannett have admitted $46 million in losses as a
result of the strike," Foley said. "They've admitted a 24-percent drop
in circulation, and a 20- to 30-percent decline in advertising.
"The real figures are probably much worse," she said. "These media
giants clearly underestimated how strongly citizens and local businesses
would react to their illegal harassment of working families."
"We're committed to standing with the striking newspaper workers," said
CLUW President Johnson, "and to provide the support they need to bring
this strike to a speedy and successful conclusion."
"We're going to demonstrate while we're here in the Detroit area," said
Johnson. "And one thousand delegates will go home to their unions, to
their churches, to their communities with a very clear message: We're
not going to shop at stores which support the campaign being waged
against working families by Gannett and Knight Ridder."
Johnson said CLUW members will take an active part in a national labor
boycott of Detroit News and Free Press advertisers, which includes firms
such as Kmart, Hudson's, and Art Van Furniture.
The Coalition of Labor Union Women, founded in 1974, represents union
members and working women across the United States.
Thursday, October 12, 1995
II. Negotiators for the Detroit Free Press and Local 22 of the
Newspaper Guild will meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 18. Guild President Lou
Mleczko said he doesn't have a clue as to what will happen. The federal
mediators "asked us to be there next Wednesday, and we'll be there,"
Mleczko said. "Last time we met was Sept. 7, and they haven't formally
responded to our counterproposal concerning an incentive pay plan,
combined with other wage increases. We're still waiting for a
counterproposal or at least a response to it."
Although several Guild members were in attendance, strike talk wasn't
a hot topic at an enagagment party for well-known attorney Henry Baskin
and Debbie Schultz of Rochester. The party was held in Baskin's
Bloomfield Hills home. Said one Detroit News reporter: "A few of these
mega-lawyers walked up to me and said, `Hey, are you back to work yet?'
looked at them and said, 'Jeez, don't you read the newspapers, guys?' "
III. A Resolution by Detroit City Council Member Mel Ravitz October 11,
Whereas, the Detroit newspaper strike has now entered its third month
with little prospect of early settlement; and
Whereas, this strike has now produced a number of violent, hurtful
incidents in Detroit and, as it continues, will unfortunately likely
engender more violence; and
Whereas, the financial cost of this strike to Detroiters is increasing
each day that Detroit police are on duty at the Riverfront printing
To date, several hundred thousand dollars of overtime pay have been
Whereas, deployment of police to the Riverfront plant inevitably results
in reduced police presence in the city's neighborhoods; and
Whereas, because of this labor dispute, both management and labor have
suffered enormous losses in profits and wages; and
Whereas, it is to no one's benefit -- least of all to the people of
metropolitan Detroit -- that this dispute continue to the exhaustion of
one or both parties; and
Whereas, short of that condition of exhaustion, it is imperative that
both parties use every opportunity possible to resolve their differences
fairly and quickly; and
Whereas, toward that essential objective, Mayor Dennis Archer and others
have proposed round-the-clock collective bargaining and the mayor has
offered his good offices to facilitate that process;
Now Therefore Be It Resolved: That the Detroit City Council emphasize
firm support of the mayor's initiative and call on the Detroit
Agency and the several labor unions to avail
themselves immediately of the mayor's proposal; and
Be It Further Resolved: That copies of this resolution be sent to the
president of the Newspaper Agency, the publishers of the Detroit News
Free Press, the presidents of the six unions involved, to Ed Scribner of
the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, and to Mayor Archer.
Friday, September 29, 1995
Published by the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions
IV. DN, Jaske under criminal investigation
Detroit Newspapers and its officers - including Gannett Senior
Vice-President John Jaske, are the subjects of a criminal investigation
confirmed Wednesday by Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga.
The criminal probe, reported exclusively by our Detroit Journal
electronic newspaper, will focus on Labor Day incidents committed by DN
personnel at the Sterling Heights plant.
Specifically, Marlinga is investigating the Sept. 3rd ramming of a steel
gate by a DN truck driver, which injured one striking union member and
could have resulted in other injuries and deaths if the truck hadn't
become stuck on debris.
"We don't have any charges pending now . . . but we are looking at it,"
Marlinga told Journal reporter Robin Fornoff. Marlinga said the
investigation could lead to felony charges against scab drivers and
Jaske was identified as a central figure of the investigation because he
was at the North Plant the night the truck tried to ram through the
locked gate on Metro Parkway.
Mark Naumoff, 40, of Warren, a striking Teamsters Local 372 member,
suffered injuries after the gate fell on him.
Marlinga said he will be using a new state law that gives his office
sweeping subpoena power to compel testimony from reluctant witnesses.
Charges could range from conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly
weapon to conspiracy to commit attempted murder.
"If there was an order given with total disregard for human life, it
would make the . . . attempted murder charge appropriate," Marlinga told
the Journal. We applaud the prosecutor's inquiry.
Three Macomb cities take DN cash
The cities of Roseville, Clinton Township and Center Line are the
recipients of "donations" from Detroit Newspapers.
At a Roseville Council Meeting Tuesday night, it was announced that the
DN has sent two checks to Roseville totaling $46,089.05 - one in August
and one in September.
City Councilman James Zelmanski pried the information out of City
Thomas Van Damme, who earlier told a Roseville resident that "I think
check went to the police department and one to my office."
Zelmanski questioned why the city was accepting money from the DN, which
he said is "trying to bust the unions" and was spending money on 1,200
paramilitary security guards.
"I'm totally against this," Zelmanski said.
Meanwhile, the Macomb Daily reports that Center Line has received
$15,911.00 from the DN for police costs associated with the Unfair Labor
Practice Strike of the six unions belonging to the Metropolitan Council
of Newspaper Unions.
Clinton Township also received $5,000, the Daily reported.
The Roseville and Center Line payment disclosures come just two weeks
after the Sterling Heights City Council accepted the immediate
resignation of City Manager Steve Duchane, who was blasted by Mayor
Richard Notte for accepting $500,000 from the DN without formal council
V. Wards pulls out
Thanks to the efforts of the national AFL-CIO, Montgomery Ward
stores has announced it is pulling out all of its advertising from the
scab-produced News and Free Press.
Montgomery Ward was one of six national retailers targeted by the
for advertising in the struck papers.
The remaining four scab supporters are: Dayton Hudson; J.C. Penney; Lord
& Taylor; and Target.
The Montgomery Ward action is a direct result of the AFL-CIO's Strategic
Approaches Committee chaired by Richard Trumka, president of the United
Meanwhile, Naked Furniture stores has informed us that it will also stop
advertising in the scab newspapers.
The Alliance also thanks MC Sporting Goods for continuing to stay out of
the struck papers.
VI. Scab carrier injures Teamster
Detroit Newspapers has a film of picket line violence that occured early
Sunday, but there's little chance the clip will be shown in a TV
The film, taken by a private security guards hired by the DN, shows a
scab carrier's Chevrolet S10 truck running into Teamster Local 372
member Jim Thomas and knocking the striker to the ground.
Thomas, 52, of St. Clair Shores, was treated for ankle and wrist
at Bi-County Hospital in Warren.
The incident occured about 3:30 a.m. Sunday in the north driveway of
DN distribution center on Lawrence Street in Center Line. Police said
Monday thay are continuing their investigation, including a review of
film shot by security guards.
"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it," said Gene Schabath, a striking
Guild member, who was five feet from Thomas when he was struck by the
truck. "I saw Jim go flying in the air and come down on the ground.
"I thought he might have hit his head. He could have suffered a serious
Pickets surrounded the truck to prevent the driver from escaping until
Center Line police arrived.
Scab drivers have continually driven recklessly in and out of
distribution centers as well as the two printing plants, often racing
through picket lines at 25 m.p.h. or faster.
Earlier this month, WDET Public Radio reporter Roger Adams personally
witnessed a semi-truck nearly overturn as it roared out of the Mound
Road gate at the Sterling Heights North Plant.
"He turned so sharply that the wheels on one side lifted off the
pavement," Adams said. "Ironically, it would have landed on the line of
Sterling Heights police standing on the median."
VII. Yokich rallies support for striking unions
The UAW, and its newly elected President Stephen P. Yokich, continue to
help us in a big way.
Last week, Yokich authorized the mailing of the Detroit Union newspaper
to 500,000 UAW members in the Midwest and will distribute 50,000 "No
Paper" bumper stickers.
Now, the UAW has terminated its relationship with Carlson Wagonlit
Travel Agency because the firm continues to advertise in the scab
"We are taking these additional measures to underscore our firm support
for the striking unions and their members, and to let the newspapers and
their supporters in the business community know that their blatant
anti-union activities will not go unnoticed and unchallenged," Yokich
said in a press release issued Monday.
"The best way to bring management to their senses is for people to stop
buying and to stop advertising in those scab papers."
The UAW was instrumental in providing strike pay for Teamsters members
when it posted $100,000 as part of the $1 million in strike assistance
provided by unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
Thousands of UAW members have also been appearing daily on strike picket
lines and making donations of food, clothing and cash. Thanks to all of
our brothers and sisters at the UAW.
VIII. 'Delivery a disaster'
"The Circulation Department is in a disaster, and we'll keep it there,"
Al Derey, chairman of the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions, told
a standing room only crowd of striking members at the joint membership
meeting held Sept. 21 in downtown Detroit.
Derey noted that 129,000 newspapers are regularly being shipped
leaving only 200,000 papers actually delivered for the News and Free
Press separate editions.
"We know 1,700 routes have no carriers at all, and the real problem for
advertisers is knowing that the 200,000 figure is divided in half,
depending on which paper they want to appear in," Derey said.
Notes from the battlefront
The Newspaper Press Photographers Association's executive committee has
voted unanimously to refuse job-posting ads from the News and Free
The vote came as a direct rebuke of News Photo Director Tom Hardin, a
past association president. Congrats to the NPPA and its 10,000 members
nationwide...Vyletel Buick, earlier named on our advertising dishonor
list, has pulled out of the scab papers. Our thanks to the Vyletel Buick
management for their support...At our joint membership meeting last
Barry Lipton, president of the New York Newspaper Guild, presented a
check of $2,500 for the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions...The
Community Service Office of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO is providing help
to strikers in getting extensions or delays on major bills such as
mortgage or rent payments. Unfortunately, the Community Service doesn't
have any funds yet for direct aid but urges you to call for counseling
help at 1-313-896-2600.
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