This effort goes hand in hand with circulation of this special issue of the Militant newspaper, which is calling on working people everywhere to back the United Mine Workers union in their work to organize nonunion mines and to mobilize union miners to re-impose safer working conditions in coal mines across North America.
The 15 deaths in West Virginia and Kentucky mines in recent weeks have focused attention across the United States and beyond on the conditions coal miners face, said Mailhot.
Backers of labor rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press who are approached by supporters of the Militant Fighting Fund in coming days will appreciate the Militants call for workers everywhere to back the UMWA in organizing coal mines, Mailhot explained. They will likewise appreciate a discussion on the issues in C.W. Minings lawsuit against the Militant, the United Mine Workers of America, 16 of the former Co-Op coal miners, and the two largest newspapers in Utahthe Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News. We can help them understand how the coal bosses launch retaliatory lawsuits like this one to prevent workers from having the right to speak out on the need to organize a union, and about the working conditions they face, especially safety on the job.
At stake in this lawsuit, Mailhot said, is the right of a working-class newspaper to tell the workers side of the story. Mailhot urged supporters of the Militant Fighting Fund to take advantage of the fact that the presiding judge postponed until February 17 the court hearing, which had been scheduled for January 25, to break new ground in winning support for the case. On that day the various defendants will argue before the court their respective motions to have the case dismissed.
In addition to winning new endorsers, we need funds to fight the lawsuit, Mailhot emphasized. The bosses have deep pockets. They try to drain the resources of a workers newspaper like the Militant. The paper has already spent tens of thousands of dollars defending itself in the suit since it was filed in September 2004, even before its first motion to have the case dismissed is decided. Mailhot encouraged backers to use the growing Militant Fighting Fund endorser list to win new support. He cited several recent endorsers.
Howard Allen, a retired merchant seaman and member of the Seafarers International Union, has added his name. He joined the labor defense fight after spending a couple hours at his New Orleans home talking with Militant reporters. Allen was among the first working-class residents of that city who told their story to the Militant last September as the social disaster unfolded in the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Allen contributed $200. You must need a lot of money for this fight, he said.
A growing number of union locals are backing the case too and contributing to the fund. They include International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 in Seattle and International Longshoremens Association Local 21 in Beaumont, Texas. The two locals have donated $1,000 and $500, respectively.
Last week an important endorsement came in from the Spelman College Student Government Association in Atlanta, Georgia.
Support also continues to arrive from outside the United States. In Christchurch, New Zealand, the National Union of Public Employees took up the case at a recent meeting and three organizers of the union endorsed. Also in Christchurch, Campbell Duignan, southern regional secretary of the Service and Food Workers union, pledged support to the case.
Please send endorsements and donations to Militant Fighting Fund, P.O. Box 520994, Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-0994; fax (801) 924-5910.
Unionize the mines! Build the UMWA!
No miner has to die! Workers need a union to enforce safety
Coal boss greed kills two more miners in West Virginia
Toll: 15 in three weeks
Join effort to win 1,000 Militant sub renewals
Letter from the editor
Safety violations rampant in western coal mines
Deaths on the job, racism sparked 1968 Memphis strike
Marxism, or why join the communist movement
New York event takes up contradictory development of labor vanguard
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