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Tens Of Thousands March In Solidarity With Newspaper


Since then the newspapers have only allowed about 200 of the strikers to return to work, at lower wages, and then fired at least two of them. The unions declared the companies' actions a lock-out and went to the NLRB requesting a federal court order returning the strikers to their jobs.

The demonstration and other actions here over the weekend attracted workers from across North America.

Other strikers from around the country came to show their solidarity and win support for their own fights. About 50 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 594 on strike against General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan, attended.

Cles Saunders said that he and other members of UAW Local 51 who struck Chrysler's Mound Road Engine plant in the spring were there, "to support the newspaper workers and get rid of the scabs."

Dennis Gary, a member of UAW Local 724 carrying a "UAW on Strike" picket sign, explained that "I'm here with my wife because we need to support others who have been on strike and attacked by the police, like the news strikers have been." He and 61 other unionists in Lansing, Michigan, are on strike against Melling Forge, an auto parts maker, over wage cuts and the elimination of medical benefits. On May 29, about 60 Lansing cops, armed with dogs and automatic weapons, attacked their picket line with tear gas. Four bus loads of retired auto workers from Flint were at the picket line.

Also on the march were striking Teamsters from New York City, members of the Machinists union who had just ended a strike in St. Louis, and fighters who had waged a long strike against the Staley corn processing plant in Decatur, Illinois.

About 50 members of the UAW came from Caterpillar plants in Pontiac and Peoria, Illinois. Ken Whetson, a UAW Local 974 member from Peoria, said, "We're here because these workers need our solidarity." Referring to the strike battles that have taken place at Caterpillar, he said, "They went after us first, now they [the employers] are following Cat's example everywhere, like what GM is trying to do." He reported that many of the Cat workers who came to Detroit planned to visit the picket line in Lansing on their way home.

Dozens of members of the United Mine Workers of America came, including about 20 veterans of the fight against the Pittston Coal, many of whom have since retired. Farm workers from both California and Ohio joined with other Latino workers to form a colorful and militant contingent carrying large banners and red flags with "huelga" (strike) emblazoned on them.

Some 350 steelworkers traveled from Toronto. Thirty-seven postal workers, members of the Mailhandlers Union made a 14- hour bus trip from their region - New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut - to join a sizable U.S. postal worker contingent.

At the rally following the march, a long list of international union officials, including AFL-CIO president John Sweeny, hailed the NLRB judge's ruling as justifying the unions course of relying on the courts during the strike.

Other activities included a teach-in of over 700, religious services, fund-raisers, a picket line of 400 to 500 at the Sterling Heights police station protesting cop brutality on the picket lines there during the strike, and small protests at the two printing plants used by the struck newspapers.

John Sarge is a member of UAW Local 900 and is the Socialist Workers Party candidate for Detroit City Council.


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