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   Vol. 70/No. 8           February 27, 2006  
Steelworkers’ locals back labor defense case
(front page)
SALT LAKE CITY—United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1005 endorsed the Militant Fighting Fund last week and contributed $500. The local, which organizes workers at the giant Stelco mill in Hamilton, Ontario, is one of the largest union locals in Canada. Its support follows the recent endorsement from USW Local 8580 in Hawkesbury, Ontario. The workers in that local have been on strike for more than eight months against IKO Industries (see On the Picket Line column).

The Militant Fighting Fund is raising contributions and organizing public support for the Militant’s fight against a harassment lawsuit by the C.W. Mining Co., which owns the Co-Op mine near Huntington, Utah. Miners there waged a two-year-long fight for representation by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). The Militant Fighting Fund is also publicizing the fight of the other defendants—including 16 Co-Op miners and the UMWA—to dismiss the defamation and other charges filed by the Utah coal bosses.

A growing number of union locals and others in the labor movement and beyond are endorsing this effort to defend labor rights and freedom of the press because of heightened interest among working people in the struggle for safety on the job, especially since 22 miners were killed across the United States in the first six weeks of this year. C.W. Mining has charged the UMWA, 16 Co-Op miners, the Militant, Utah’s two main dailies, and others with defamation for supporting or writing about the Co-Op miners’ union-organizing struggle. Many of the charges center on company claims that workers slandered the boss by explaining the fight against unsafe job conditions was central to their struggle.

Organizers of the Militant Fighting Fund are shooting to get over 100 new endorsers by the February 17 court hearing here, where the defendants’ motions to dismiss the retaliatory suit will be heard. Since February 1, over 95 individuals have signed up.

A number of them are from New York. The executive board of Laborers Union Local 79 there donated $200 last week. Three members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342 at different meatpacking shops in the Bronx endorsed as well. UNITE HERE Local 63 chairman Achilles Selearis and Daniel Rottenstreich, a political organizer for UNITE HERE, signed up too. Twenty individuals, including two local rail workers, endorsed after hearing facts about the case at a February 10 Militant Labor Forum in Manhattan on the New York transit workers’ fight for a contract. The new endorsers at that forum contributed $420.

Endorsements continue to come from abroad. At the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, at the end of January, 15 people signed up. They include Valentin Pacho, director and deputy general secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions, from Prague, Czech Republic; Josue Merilien, secretary general of the National Union of Haitian Teachers, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Jean-Marc Byoko, president of the Cameroon Public Servants Union; Manuel Córdoba, president of the Teachers Union of La Guajira, in Colombia; and Maria Ednalva, national secretary of working women of the Central Workers Union, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Please send endorsements and donations to Militant Fighting Fund, P.O. Box 520994, Salt Lake City, Utah 84152; Fax (801) 924-5910; E-mail:
Related articles:
Boss profit greed claims 22 miners’ lives this year
Latest death occurs at Pennsylvania stone quarry;
Unsafe job conditions are prevalent at Utah mines
Bosses’ profit drive, gov’t cuts in safety standards killed W. Virginia miners Special Militant Labor Forums  
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