ACTION REPORT: Sept 3 Mass Picke (fwd)

Bryan A. Alexander bnalexan at umich.edu
Thu Sep 7 09:42:58 MDT 1995


more...


Bryan Alexander
Department of English
University of Michigan
**********************

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Subject: ACTION REPORT: Sept 3 Mass Picke

After reading this the short version, i realized that it was very different
and the information was different, so I've decided to forward both of these
reports to all of you.
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-------------( Forwarded letter follows )-----------------------
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Received: from UMDSCXA by UMDSCXA (Emc2 TAONET);
 Wed, 6 Sep 95 04:10pm ET
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 95 16:03:04 -0400
From: Alec Meiklejohn <alec at umich.edu>
To: newssupport at umich.edu
Subject: ACTION REPORT: Sept 3 Mass Picket!!! short version
In-Reply-To: Your message
 <Pine.SOL.3.91.950906121850.5805C-100000 at qix.rs.itd.umich.edu> of Wed, 6 Sep
 1995 12:20:52 -0400 (EDT)
Content-Type: TEXT/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Greetings! Mike and I wanted to get out a report to everyone about Saturday's
incredible mass picket line in Sterling Heights. The first version came out
pretty long, so we tried to provide an alternative short version. Well, we can't
get it too short, because so much happened. So take your pick, read either one
or none at all! There is some repetition between them, but hey, we're just
starting to get organized. Enjoy......

SHORT REPORT FROM STERLING HEIGHTS, SEPT. 02

>From Ann Arbor to Sterling Heights, Sept. 02, 1995.  The
beginning of a successful effort to build a coalition in
support of the striking News workers?  About 20 local (Ann
Arbor) activists and unionists journeyed to the first mass
rally in Sterling Heights.  Some of us have never
paricipated in labor/class politics, others have been
involved for some time.  But all of us were hopeful,
excited, and full of passion for justice. Arriving in buses
from a nearby union hall, the first sight of the plant
indicated the deep political divisions this strike involves.
On the median of Mound Rd., 100, and later about 300 cops
from 21 communities, full-riot, full-assault decor.  In the
driveway of Gate 1 at the plant, 250 picketers.  The bus
passes the scene to the rally point at UAW Local 228.  By
5:00 p.m. the crowd at Local 228 could not be held back.
News of an attempt by the cops to break the line with pepper
gass and arrests reached us in the midst of speeches by top-
union politicos.  We wanted to move.  The union leaders
could not continue their campaigns.  We marched, and the
crowd grew as busses continued to arrive.  1000 to 2000, to
around 3000 people.   Workers waiting at the plant watched
with excitement and hope as a contingent of 2000 people
marched for them, their struggle, our future.   A deep sense
of awe, of collective strength flowed through the 3 large
contingents of people at each of the 3 gates to the plant.
For the first several hours energy flowed vigorously through
us.  Several incidents: a young man arrested for running
down Mound Rd. with a flag; a driver to a van who brought
drinks to some supporters, arrested; running through a stop
sign that didn't exist, arrested....   These kept us alive,
standing and picketing.  Late through the night, this wore
on many, and a rudimentary encampment was formed on the
grassy areas of either side of the driveway.  People, some
shivering, wrapped themselves in bags and shared blankets.
Spontaneous surges of chants and songs-of-solidarity seemed
to have an organization of their own, picking up tired
workers and supporters, some sleeping in the grass nearby,
or even on the curbs,  with shots of adrenalin and song we
could stand, our pickets in hand, through the night.    At
3:00 am our blood flowed, uncertainty...  The cops began a
move, as did the company trucks.  At Gate 3, a company van
was sent hurtling at 35-40 mph into a gate barricaded and
locked by the activists there.  To the company's dismay, the
barricade held, the van crashed, and the company goons
commandeered two other Free Press/News vans and sealed the
gate off from INSIDE!  Shortly after, Gate 1 opened and two
diesel trucks full of cargo of bleeding capital moved
towards a large crowd, 500-800.  Rather than splitting, the
people said, "NO!  Backup!!!"   More than words were used to
convince the drivers, who quickly learned that moving from
2nd gear to reverse was difficult and noisy.  The trucks
were repelled and the paper delayed for about 14 hours.
Excitement and determination, some hope mixed with a vision
of justice, well-organized pickets, and some flexibility in
tactical responses to unexpected company/cop strategies made
this an incredible, and successful experience for all
involved. We need more of these if this attack on working
people is to be defeated. Stay tuned and see you next
Saturday!

Peace, Justice, and Solidarity,

Mike Dreiling and Alec Meiklejohn






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