Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Erin White

NASSCO 3: In Trial’s Wake, Resolve Stronger Than Ever

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 6, No. 24, June 24-June 30, 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Collusion between companies and some Internationals continues as individuals face harassment for their support of the NASSCO 3. People concerned about their fundamental freedoms and the ability of the unions to protect their members are stepping forward to voice their support for the union organizing as well as for the NASSCO 3 or for some of the issues raised in the NASSCO 3 trial.

Support has been flowing into the Committee office since the verdict. People from Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Peace Research Center and other organizations have come out even stronger in their condemnation of the verdict. Other groups and individuals who at first believed the three were guilty have changed their minds after sitting through the trial and seeing for themselves the “justice” dispensed by the court.

The Committee has declared the verdict as round one in a battle in which they vow to fight to the end. A letter campaign has been mounted and people from all over the country are writing to Judge Schwartz who tried the case, about the verdict and the part government’s played in entrapping the three union militants. Letters should be mailed in time to reach the judge for July 14 when he will decide whether to hear the defense motion of outrageous government misconduct.

The Committee also has plans to demonstrate in support of the three and against government interference in union activities before July 14. Further, plans are being formulated to coordinate a campaign to ensure that Congressman Ron Dellums’ call for a congressional investigation of FBI activities into NASSCO becomes a reality.

Activists Harassed

Meanwhile, the San Diego County Central Committee of the Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for an end to government interference in union activities and for the Congressional investigation recommended by Congressman Ron Dellums. The investigation would look into the FBI and National Security Agency activities at NASSCO. The Committee also resolved to present a resolution calling for support of the investigation to the California State Central Committee of the Democratic Party.

Rhonda Levine, Chair of the Committee to Defend NASSCO Workers, was injured in a June 1980 accident at Solar Turbines International, where she works as a machinist. From June until January, 1981, she collected workman’s compensation. Suddenly, at the end of January, Solar decided to contest the compensation claim and said Levine owed over $400 which she had received for the month of January. Solar’s reason is that they believe Levine is capable of returning to work and that she just wants the compensation so she can do her political work with the committee.

Ms. Levine had to wait until March 1981 before she could undergo a painful nerve operation to correct the injury. Both her own physician and the company doctor agree that she is disabled and hasn’t regained mobility in her injured arm yet.

Nevertheless, Solar is going ahead with its demands and has even subpoenaed medical records from all of Ms. Levine’s physicians. Those records have nothing to do with Levine’s present condition and are related to past injuries or illnesses.

“They are on a fishing trip,” said Levine. “They want to cut off my only source of income, which I earned and am entitled to – under the law and morally. They want to find some excuse to fire me because they don’t like my political activities. Really, what they want to do to me is what NASSCO did to the NASSCO 3. NASSCO got rid of them because they didn’t like their union organizing and their political beliefs. But NASSCO is not the only corporation who wants to get rid of certain people.”

Another strong supporter of the NASSCO 3 has been warned that her union standing is in jeopardy because she dared to speak out against the gross injustice being perpetrated against the three union militants. Her International wrote a letter to her local and included with it a copy of the Committee’s newsletter. Apparently, the letter warned the local to watch out for this person.

Strong Drive

Workers at NASSCO are continuing to fight for the right to vote for the union of their choice. A drive to decertify from the Ironworkers International, which represents over 3,000 of NASSCO’s 6,500 workers has gotten off to a good start. In reaction to the drive, the International, for the first time in over five months of trusteeship, has finally said something to the rank and file of Ironworkers Local 627.

They slandered the efforts of those who want to set up their own union (United Shipyard Workers) as the sole representative of those workers currently covered by the Ironworkers Union. They claimed they would keep the battle tied up in the court for two years rather than allow members their choice of unions or doing their duty to protect the rank and file from NASSCO. Since the Trusteeship in January, workers say they have no more union representatives, the International won’t file grievances, and that the whole union structure is a joke.

“All they are thinking about is their pocket book” said Miguel Salas, Business Agent elect of Local 627 and one of the leaders of the decertification movement. “We talked with attorney Dan Siegal, and he said there is no way this can be tied up in court for that long a period of time. The International is desperate to keep our dues coming in. They’ll say anything to try to split the workers and keep us from getting a good democratic organization.”

The same coalition of union activists who are leading the decertification drive have won a significant victory by getting arbitrations reopened for 27 workers fired by NASSCO in August 1980. The proceedings will begin on June 19, 1981. Former NASSCO official Michael Contreras who was subpoenaed but couldn’t be found for the earlier arbitrations will testify this time. Contreras has stated that NASSCO used labor spies (a violation of Federal law) to find out what the unions were doing, and that NASSCO had policies designed to discredit the leadership of various unions in the shipyard. NASSCO also engaged in other illegal activities and dirty tricks which many expect to be aired on June 19th.