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Vol. 76/No. 12      March 26, 2012

25, 50 and 75 years ago

March 27, 1987

SIOUX CITY, Iowa—A thousand meat-packers marched through downtown Sioux City March 17 chanting “we want a contract.” The meat-packers were mostly members of United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 222 from the Iowa Beef Processors plant in Dakota City, Nebraska.

Members of Local 222 held a meeting March 15. In a stand-up vote that was almost unanimous, they decided to strike. The meat-packers had been locked out since mid-December after they rejected a concession contract.

IBP announced before the latest vote that it planned to end the lockout and force the opening of the plant March 16.

Wages have been frozen here since 1983. The company’s latest contract demands included pay and benefit cuts for both slaughter and production workers.

March 26, 1962

The Kennedy administration’s persecution of the Communist Party was given an added dimension with the six-month prison sentence meted out to James E. Jackson, editor of the Worker.

Jackson was framed up on a contempt-of-court charge after he very properly refused to answer loaded questions put to him before a Washington grand jury.

He was asked such a ridiculous question as whether or not the Worker reflected the viewpoint of the Communist Party, something the paper has never in any way sought to conceal.

In a further vindictive move against the Communist Party, Attorney General Robert Kennedy has renewed efforts to compel it to pay huge income taxes on the sinister grounds that it is not a political party, but an “agency of a foreign power.”

March 27, 1937

Every edition of the press carries smoking articles against the “lawlessness and violence” of sitdown strikes (without once mentioning that in every instance violence has been initiated by police, deputy sheriffs, and thugs.)

Because the sitdown strike has proved highly effective against employers who have spent untold sums for efficient methods of fighting conventional methods of striking, the sitdown has been suddenly discovered to be a menace to liberty, to the constitution, to law, and to the entire future of the labor movement! The furious polemics launched against the sitdown strike completely overlook its disadvantage to the employers!

Effective strike tactics can no more be eliminated by decree than can the approaching destruction of the entire capitalist system.  
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