Victims of Union Violence Forced into Witness Protection

Victims-of-labor-union-violence-will-tellFrom the US Chamber’s Business Advocate Newsletter (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” … “With its grim examples of personal property damage and human suffering, this hearing should prove a valuable learning experience for Congress,” said Arthur F. Rosenfeld, a labor-law attorney at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would apply federal criminal law to union violence. Introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-lowa), the· legislation would amend the Hobbs Anti-Extortion Act to include acts committed during labor disputes.

The act has not been used in such cases since a 1973 Supreme Court decision said it did not apply to violence committed in pursuit of “legitimate” union bargaining aims.

Another witness is a former Oregon lumberjack who will tell of union orders to destroy $100,000 worth of equipment during a labor dispute.

The lead witness will be Cher Mungovan, who with her husband, Walter, were run out of the construction business in Maui, Hawaii. when they. refused to sign a contract demanded by union agents.

The firm, which employed 20 persons, could not get deliveries of materials from suppliers because of union threats, it is charged. Two agents of AFL-CIO Carpenters Local 745 have been sentenced to prison terms in. connection with the case, and two others have been indicted.

The CNLP says the case demonstrates the absence of any means to protect individuals.

Walter Mungovan who is 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 to contributions to a legal defense fund.

The Center for 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.”