25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

March 27, 2023

March 30, 1998

DES MOINES, Iowa — Members of the United Steelworkers of America rallied in downtown Des Moines March 6 to support members of the United Auto Workers now in contract talks with Case Corp. The protest aimed its fire at Strom Engineering, a temp agency that has been recruiting workers to “help temporarily staff a company during a potential work stoppage, caused by a strike,” as ads in the Des Moines Register put it.

Leading up to the action, union activists went undercover, going through Strom’s application process. They confirmed that the outfit was lining up replacement workers.

The UAW contract expires March 29, and covers 3,300 workers at plants in Burlington, Iowa; Racine, Wisconsin; East Moline and Burr Ridge, Illinois; and St. Paul, Minnesota. Workers told the Militant that a key issue is opposition to mandatory overtime.

March 30, 1973

DENVER, March 20 — A young Chicano activist is dead, the victim of a police attack on an apartment building owned by the Chicano movement. A Chicana, aged 17, is hospitalized with a bullet wound in her chest. Her condition is critical. Another Chicano activist has a police bullet wound in his back.

There is well-justified suspicion that the police attack was planned. The dead youth, Luis Martinez, 20, was a director of El Ballet Chicano de Aztlan, part of La Escuela Tlatelolco. Tlatelolco is a school for Chicano youth from kindergarten through college.

It is operated by the Crusade for Justice, the Denver Chicano organization that has played a major role in spurring the development of the Chicano movement throughout the Southwest. The apartment building attacked by the cops is next door to the Crusade and Escuela headquarters.

March 29, 1948

A walkout of the miners is always the occasion for the kept press to hurl bitter diatribes against “union bosses,” “labor monopolies” and above all to rant against the rank and file.

Anyone even slightly acquainted with the history of coal unionism knows how many struggles, pitched battles, bloodshed, hunger, and untold sacrifice went into building the union and establishing the firm morale, amazing discipline and spirit of solidarity which is now the hallmark of the miners.

The issue over which the miners have now walked out — pensions, health and welfare fund — is especially close to every miner’s heart. In 1947, 1,165 miners were killed in mine accidents, 63,000 were injured. The miners know that they have only their own organization to rely on. That is why they back their union in every class fight with such solidarity and such unanimity.