First Published: Berkeley Barb, February 21-27, 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“Twenty Richmond cops surrounded our car. When I protested I was busted and beaten.”
That’s Bob Avakian was busted early Wednesday morning on the Oil Strike line.
Avakian and other student supporters of striking-oil workers were on the line at 3 am urging scabs not go through the gate. After one company car went through picketers were accused of slashing its tires, but nobody was arrested. At 5:30 am while Avakian was making a phone call at a nearby service station a squadron of cops surrounded and busted him. Also arrested with him was Terry Turnquist, a striking oil worker.
“They accused me of cutting the tire,” Avakian told BARB. “I was handcuffed so tightly my hands are still numb. They beat on my knuckles, and smashed my head against the car.”
While Avakian and the strikers are at the mercy of the Richmond cops, scabs are rolling bread. “Some get as much as $300 a week for overtime,” he said, “if they wouldn’t cross the line for a few days the strike could be won.”
Besides the Oil Worker’s Local 1-581 there are several other unions at the Richmond facility. Last week several members of the International Union of Petroleum Workers (IUPW) called BARB to say, that although they went through the line, they were not scabbing because their union is not on strike.
“Most of us sympathize with the strike,” one member said, “But we have a no-strike clause in our contract.”
“Honoring a picket line is not striking,” Avakian said. “If the other unions did that it would put much more pressure on the management.”
While the strike is continuing all Standard products will be boycotted, Avakian said. These include everything made by Standard Oil, Chevron and Ortho.