The Business Advocate (October 24, 1983)
Victims of labor-union violence will tell stories of bombings. arson, physical assaults and property destruction to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
The one-day hearing Oct. 25 will demonstrate “the inadequacy of local law enforcement in these cases,” said a committee aide.
Walter Mungovan, who was. the key witness for the prosecution, is still in government custody under the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program because of fears for his safety.
The Mungovans have exhausted their savings and are accepting contributions to a legal defense fund.
The Center on National Labor Policy, which is representing Walter Mungovan in a suit against the union, said the Mungovan case “is a pointed example of the virtual absence of any effective means to protect individuals and small businesses from union sponsored extortion.”
[Mungovan remains in witness protection.]
Unions are not required to do everything they can to ensure that rank-and-file I members obey labor laws. But union leaders can’t promise to do something to avert labor violence and then do nothing, a Birmingham federal court judge ruled in what has been called a landmark decision on union responsibility.
U.S. District Judge William Acker decided last week that United Mine Workers of America International and UMW District 20 are liable for property loss at a non-union mine in Walker County as a result of union violence during a 1978 strike. …
The suit, brought by Oakman Mining Co. and Prater Equipment Co. against the UMWA and District 20, which includes Alabama locals, resulted in more than $500,000 in damages being assessed against the unions. …
“This case was an extreme example of coordinated violence,” said Lee Bellinger, a spokesman for The Center on National Labor Policy, which supported the companies in the case.
“Had we lost this case, it would have given unions a free ticket to further violence. The decision will make unions more accountable for their actions,” he said.
The Center is a non-profit public interest legal foundation located just outside Washington. D.C. Michael Avakian, a foundation lawyer, joined Birmingham attorney Edward L. Ramsey as trial counsel for Oakman-Prater. .
Bellinger said the small companies couldn’t afford the long legal battles on their own.
With all the attention paid these days to the plight of working mothers, one might expect considerable support for a proposal that would permit women with young children to work at home. But at hearings the other day before the House labor standards subcommittee, Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan received nothing but abuse for his decision to allow homework in the jewelry, knitted outerwear, glove and mittens, button and buckle, embroidery, handkerchief and women’s clothing industries.
Mr. Donovan plans to repeal the Labor Department’s 40-year prohibition of homework in these industries, he cites recent [CNLP] application to a group of Vermont mothers who made more than minimum wage and were able to save on baby-sitting and transportation costs “by knitting ski caps at home.
But unions and companies alike in the garment industry are up in arms. If homework were legal, says the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, it wouldn’t take place mostly in the dank and crowded kitchens of New Jersey tenements, of Chicago slums, of southern California barrios. The dispersion of workplaces would make it harder to enforce minimum wage, child labor and working condition laws, and make it easier for manufacturers to hire illegal aliens who because of their status would be unable to complain to law enforcers.
We have seen the future and it stinks. Last year General Motors Corp. unveiled its new Saturn auto plant and with it, it’s much ballyhooed “labor-management contract of the future.”
If the agreement between GM and the United Auto Workers union is any example of what’s to come, American workers are in trouble.
Why? Because the so-called “contract of the future” at G.M.’s new Saturn plant is nothing more than the same old run-of-the-mill, management-crawl-in-the-bed-with labor forced unionism sellout that unions hoped to make legal under President Walter Mondale.
Fact: GM and the union have publicly stated that the bulk of the workers hired will be UAW union members.
Fact: Under federal and state law that kind of discrimination is illegal as if GM had announced that only whites would be hired. …
Now the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Rosemary Collyer has allowed a n open and shut case sit on her next for months.