Thugs assault Detroit newspaper strikers

Scott Marshall Scott at rednet.org
Thu Oct 5 20:13:00 MDT 1995


**Thugs assault Detroit newspaper strikers**

(Reprinted from the October 7, 1995 issue of the People's 
Weekly World. Maybe reprinted or reposted with PWW credit. 
For subscription information see below)

By Fred Gaboury

"They came out of the gate onto public property in a V-
formation with clubs swinging," Norman Sinclair, a member of 
the Detroit Newspaper Guild, said in describing an assault 
by a platoon of Vance paramilitary security guards on union 
pickets on Sunday morning, Oct. 1.

"They were wearing full riot gear and waded into a circle of 
pickets. It was every one for themselves," said Sinclair, an 
award-wining investigative reporter for the Detroit News who 
witnessed the attack.

Sinclair is one of 2,500 newspaper workers who have been on 
strike against the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press since 
July 13 when the Detroit Newspaper Agency (DNA), which 
represents the publishers, refused to continue negotiations. 
The six unions representing the newspaper workers have 
formed the Metropolitan Council of Newspaper Unions to 
coordinate strike activities.

The council, backed by the Detroit labor movement, has 
organized mass picketing on Saturday nights at DNA printing 
plants in Detroit and Sterling Heights and distribution 
warehouses throughout the metropolitan area. Mass picketing 
began in earnest over Labor Day weekend when more than 5,000 
protesters demonstrated before the DNA printing plant in 
Sterling Heights.

Although police have cleared paths for trucks each time, 
pickets consider it a moral victory that deliveries have 
been held up. "It costs them money when they have to use 
helicopters to move papers or when outlets don't have their 
papers on time," Wendell Addington, aJmember of the 
Steelworkers Union, told the World.

In other strike related developments, the council filed suit 
in federal district court on Oct. 2 charging the DNA, the 
city of Sterling Heights and two private security firms with 
a conspiracy to violate the unions' constitutional rights in 
the conduct of an unfair labor practices strike.

Citing numerous instances of brutality by Sterling Heights 
police and thugs of the Assets Protection Teams of Vance 
International and Huffmaster Associates, a local scab-
herding outfit, the unions allege that they conspired to 
deny striking union members their basic rights of free 
speech and assembly, to deter strike supporters from 
associating with their unions and to otherwise unlawfully 
undermine the strike.

Also named as defendants were Sterling Heights Police Chief 
Tom Derocha and former City Manager Steve Duchane. Duchane 
was forced to resign when it became public knowledge that 
the city had accepted some half million dollars from the DNA 
to pay for police protection of its Sterling Heights 
property.

The suit charges that Huffmaster and Vance goons have beaten 
strikers, threatened them and that a car driven by Paul 
Nevil, an employee of Huffmaster, rammed the car of Steven 
Munson, a striking newspaper worker, five times while 
traveling at speed of 60 miles an hour.

Meanwhile, Stephen P. Yokich, the newly-elected president of 
the United Auto Workers, authorized the union to pay for 
mailing a half million copies of the Detroit Union, the 
newspaper published by the striking unions, to UAW members 
in the Midwest and to distribute 50,000 "No Scab Paper" 
bumper stickers. The UAW also terminated its relationship 
with a major travel agency when the firm refused to withdraw 
its advertising from the scab papers.

"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.

Al Derey, president of Teamsters Local 372 and chairman of 
the council, said circulation of the strike-bound papers is 
a "disaster. And we'll keep it there."

Derey said circulation has fallen to below 200,000 from a 
pre-strike high of more than a million. "We know that 1,700 
routes have no carriers at all."
##30##


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