The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 3           January 23, 2006  
‘Stand strong in defense of labor rights’
Campaign to defeat retaliatory suit by Utah coal boss gains support
(front page)
SALT LAKE CITY—“I commend your efforts to stand strong against the C.W. Mining Company’s attack on labor rights,” says a recent letter to the Militant Fighting Fund from James Lowthers, president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400. “All too often large businesses attempt to intimidate working men and women, and through solidarity and perseverance we must let this company know that its actions will not be tolerated.”

The local, which represents meat packers and grocery workers in several mid-Atlantic states, asked to have its name added to the Militant Fighting Fund endorser list and “be included with those groups standing in support of the United Mine Workers of America and the Co-Op miners.”

UFCW Local 400 is one of a growing number of trade union bodies, labor officials, and prominent individuals endorsing the Militant’s fight to defend itself against a harassment lawsuit by Utah mine bosses and making financial contributions to help defeat the C.W. Mining retaliatory suit.

As part of their anti-union campaign, the owners of the Co-Op mine in Huntington, Utah, have sued the United Mine Workers of America, 16 former Co-Op miners, the Militant and Salt Lake City’s two daily papers, and other supporters of the miners. C.W. Mining and the company-connected International Association of United Workers Union (IAUWU) have accused the defendants of defamation, conspiracy, and interference with the company’s economic activity. All defendants have asked the court to dismiss this lawsuit. A hearing in front of Federal Judge Dee Benson is scheduled for January 25 here.

Supporters of the Militant Fighting Fund, which is helping to organize the defense effort for the Militant and publicize the related fight of the other defendants, are expanding their efforts to talk to trade union locals, union officers, farm organizations, professors, student groups, and other supporters of labor rights leading up to the hearing. Over the past month $1,000 in contributions has come in from union locals and individual unionists to help the defense effort.

Support from unionists internationally has also helped to strengthen the fight against the Co-Op bosses’ lawsuit. Harold Gibbens, president of the Spring Creek Miners branch of the New Zealand Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union in Greymouth, recently sent a donation of NZ$200 (US$139) with his endorsement for the Militant Fighting Fund. Gibbens and other miners first began reading the Militant after the paper covered the union’s several-months-long battle in 2005 for a union contract at five Solid Energy mines throughout New Zealand.

Further endorsements and contributions can be sent to the Militant Fighting Fund, P.O. Box 520994, Salt Lake City, UT 84152-0994.

Annalucia Vermunt from Christchurch, New Zealand, contributed to this article.
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