At the beginning of the 1968 strike Lone Star employed over 3,000 mining, transportation, production, and maintenance employees. After the strike was underway for 10 days or two weeks approximately 700 supervisors, non-union workers, and strikebreakers continued to operate the plant at less than capacity. A month ago the mining operation, which had been virtually shut down by the strike, was resumed on a limited basis. IMPORTATION of strikebreakers has been systematic, with loads of men coming in by bus, living in tents and warehouses, and eating in a tent cafeteria. During an open hearth breakdown several months ago, mechanics were reportedly brought in by a plane which landed on the company’s airstrip within the fenced complex. One group of workers was brought to the plant from Houston. After several days four of them refused to work a second shift in one day and were fired. Company guards put them outside the plant’s main gate on the highway between Longview and Daingerfield and told them to start walking. One of the four told union picket marshal Tom Brannon: “We were hired at a Brown & Root office on Clinton Drive in Houston. We were brought to the plant in a Continental bus without being told about a strike. “We were paid $2.70 an hour and got time and a half overtime, free meals, toilet articles, Cokes, bedding on cots in a warehouse, TV, and movies. We were like prisoners. We couldn’t leave and couldn’t call out. They warned us to stay away from the fences because they said the strikers had rifles with telescopes and would shoot anyone near the fences. One foreman said we would be allowed to go home [to Houston] for a day or two in about three weeks.” When the four men from Houston were fired, they received payroll checks from Brown & Root, even though they said they had worked in production jobs in the Lone Star plant. Union leader Brannon made photostats of the Brown & Root checks, which were drawn on the bank at the nearby town of Lone Star. Union members told of seeing MexicanAmericans working in the struck plant. “They had to have been imported from South Texas,” a union officer said. “They’re just aren’t very many MexicanAmerican families in this part of the country. We know some were Mexican nationals, working on ‘green cards,’ but we’ve been assured that they’re all gone now.” “The big difference in wages in Texas makes it bad in a strike,” union president Wimberly said. Almost none of the strikebreakers are Negroes, strike leaders say, even though the pay at Lone Star would seem tempting. One reason for this, union leaders say, is that so many of the striking union members are black and nearly always there are black men on the picket lines. Wimberly said the strike has taken on proportions far beyond just a battle between the largest union and the largest plant in East Texas. “Every union in East, Texas is helping us, and for this we are thankful. On the other hand, every antiunion company and contractor in the area is helping Lone Star. “So this is not just a fight by the Steelworkers, the whole labor movement in Texas could be set back 10 years if we should lose; on the other hand if we win, who knows?” A Strike in Austin Austin An Austin factory owner who for some 30 years enjoyed a reputation of being a humanitarian in the community has be come confronted with a human relations problem in his own factory. Faced last May with an overwhelming vote of his em abuse of the strikers has prevailed. Many of the incidents of violence directed at the strikers have not been reported to the community by news media; higher-ups of the Austin daily have ordered their reporters not to write about the strike much, and in particular to ignore the strikers’ complaints, according to several of the THE TEXAS OBSERVER Don Allford A Journal of Free Voices The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1969 63rd YEARESTABLISHED 1906 A Window to the South ployees to organize a union, Milton T. Smith, owner and operator of Economy Furniture Company, has opposed the unionization movement and has disregarded all rulings by the National Labor Relations Board to the contrary. The unrecognized union, Upholsterers International Union Local 456, began a strike for recognition on November 27, 1968 and its end is not yet in sight. During the strike a climate of violence and Mr. Allford is the editor and publisher of the Voice, an Austin weekly begun to report events that otherwise are often not published by local news media in particular those events of social and political significance, and most of those having to do with the capital city’s Negro, MexicanAmerican, and disadvantaged Anglo populations. He has been active in liberal politics, working in 1968 in behalf of the presidential candidacies of Robert Kennedy and then Eugene McCarthy. Mr. Allford now is a leader in efforts to establish the New Party as an alternative for liberals and radicals in Texas to the Democratic Party. Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin Forum-Advocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor, Greg Olds. Associate Editor, Kaye Northcott. Editor-at-large, Ronnie Dugger. Business Manager, C. R. Olofson. Business Manager Emeritus, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Lee Clark, Sue Horn Estes, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $6.00; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00; plus, for Texas addressees, 4% state sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Air-mail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone 477-0746. Editor’s residence phone, 478-3851. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. Form 3579 regarding undelivered copies: Send to Texas Observer, 504 W. 24th, Austin, Texas 78705. Subscription Representatives: Arlington, George N. Green. 300 E. South College St., 277-0080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, 465-1805; Beaumont, Betty Brink, 2255 Harrison, 835-5278; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 1224’/z Second St., 884-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, 821-1205; El Paso, Philip Himelstein, 331 Rainbow Circle, 584-3238; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., 924-9655; Houston, Mrs. Kitty Peacock, PO Box 13059, 523-0685; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, 694-2825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 2210 30th St., 443-9497 or 443-6061; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 204 Terrell Road, 826-3583; Wichita Falls, Jerry Lewis, 2910 Speedway, 766-0409. Washington, D.C., Mrs. Martha J. Ross, 6008 Grosvenor Lane, 530-0884. Vol. LXI, No. 8 743h April 25, 1969
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