BY FRANK FORRESTAL
PITTSBURGH - As part of building the July 11-12 active workers conference here (see ad below), supporters of the Militant sold 28 copies of the paper at eight plant gates and mine portals this past week.
Seventeen of these papers were sold to miners. Ten UMWA miners bought the paper at the entrance to the McElroy mine portal in West Virginia. Many miners stopped their vehicles after taking notice of a large placard that read: "GM Workers on Strike - Read the Militant."
"Miners wanted to learn more about the UAW's fight against the GM bosses," said Diana Newberry, organizer of the Socialist Workers Party's work in the coal fields. "One miner who bought the paper gave me a $5 donation." Another seven papers were sold to miners at three additional mine portals in Western Pennsylvania, including to one Coal Employment Project (CEP) activist who will be attending the June 26-28 CEP conference in Pittsburgh.
Airline workers from US Airways were also interested in finding out more about the GM strike. At a plant gate in front of the maintenance facility, two members of the International Association of Machinists pulled off the road to talk and buy the paper. One airline worker said he was frustrated with the situation at US Airways. "We've been working without a contract for almost three years," he said. "I'm going to make sure this paper gets around inside."
Four copies were sold at LTV Steel in Aliquippa and USX in Clairton. In recent years both of these companies have slashed their work forces. LTV, for example, now employs 400 workers, down from 14,000.
LTV steelworker Dorothy Kolis, the Socialist Workers candidate for Congress in this area, reported that one of her co-workers bought the paper at the plant gate. "He's been trying to get the paper but couldn't find me in the plant. He bought it at the plant gate and told me he read it cover to cover, and really liked the fact that the Militant writes about world events."
The petitioning effort to get Kolis on the ballot here had its best week yet, netting 800 signatures. To date almost 2,000 have been collected toward the 3,500 goal. In all, 22 campaign supporters hit the streets, getting the best response in working-class communities. Two new campaigners, both young, joined the petitioning teams. Campaign supporters aim to have the petitioning wrapped up by the July 4 holiday weekend. A campaign celebration is planned for July 4.
Brad Downs, a laid-off UAW member at the GM Parma stamping plant in Cleveland, reported that two Militant sales teams sold a total of 46 papers to UAW members at the Mansfield-Ontario GM stamping plant in Ohio. "This is the plant where the dies from the Flint plant were sent," said Downs.
Socialists here are beginning to meet with young people, as well as a few workers, about attending the conference. In these meeting they are stressing the importance of discussing the themes of the two-day meeting.
Special attention to fundraising is needed for
scholarships for those who need financial help to attend.
The $95 registration fee includes the costs of four catered
meals. The hotel room rate for the conference is $109 per
night, which is not guaranteed after the July 3 reservation
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