25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

September 17, 2018

September 20, 1993

NEW YORK — Cargo handlers and ticket, passenger, and reservation agents at Alitalia Airlines went on strike September 5 in response to a brutal company assault.

On September 2, Alitalia broke off negotiations with the 308 workers who are represented by the International Association of Machinists in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities.

The company then moved to impose its final offer, which included 40 percent pay cuts for all IAM workers except reservations agents, whose pay was frozen.

In New York the company locked out all its IAM employees at Kennedy Airport. The company moved quickly to contract out work done by the strikers.

Grover Walraven, a passenger service agent, said the new contract included a “farming out” clause requiring workers to agree that their jobs could be contracted out at any time.

September 20, 1968

OAKLAND — Only two days after the city of Oakland succeeded in securing a “voluntary manslaughter” conviction in its attempts to frame Black Panther Party minister of defense Huey P. Newton on a phony murder charge, two Oakland cops shot up the national headquarters of the Black Panther Party here.

About 12 bullets were fired through the large front window of the Panther headquarters. Many of the shots were aimed at a large poster picture of Huey Newton that hung in the center of the window. An eyewitness to the action said that the shots were fired from a police car in the street in front of the headquarters.

Oakland police chief Charles Gain, acting under heavy pressure, fired officers Richard Williams and Robert Farrell for their part in the attack, which occurred at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

September 18, 1943

Court-martial, four months in the guardhouse at hard labor and demotion to the rank of private — that was the punishment meted out to Sergeant Alton Levy for expressing disapproval of the Army’s treatment of Negro troops stationed at the Lincoln Air Base in Nebraska.

Levy, a former organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers, was assigned to work with Negro troops. He protested repeatedly against the rude and discriminatory treatment practiced against them by officers.

Levy was questioned by Army intelligence officers on alleged statements he had made, primarily his protests against military Jim Crow. Levy admitted that he had spoken out against race discrimination, but denied the other charges. He was then brought up for court-martial on grounds of conduct unbecoming a soldier.