The purpose of the defamation lawsuit is clear. To intimidate and drain the resources of the union and its supporters. To scare off any paper that dares to quote a workers side of the story. All this to clear the way for profit-hungry coal bosses to run roughshod over workers fighting for better wages, dignity, and work safety. The recent deaths of coal miners in West Virginia and the bosses disregard for safety there underscore the urgency of organizing the mines and mobilizing union power to protect safety on the job. The Militants truthful, tell it like it is coverage of the Co-Op miners unionization battle makes it a special target of the coal bosses in this suit.
Such retaliatory lawsuits are a common tactic used by bosses against the labor movement, often to block workers from organizing a union. Coal giant Massey Energy recently filed, lost, and then refiled a defamation suit against the UMWA, seeking $300 million in alleged damages. Cintas Corp., which owns industrial laundries around the country, is bankrolling a suit against UNITE HERE and the Teamsters on phony charges of harassing laundry workers. Whether or not the companies score a court victory, the legal fees and related expenses can bleed dry a workers organization.
As supporters of the Militant Fighting Fund engage in discussions about these questions with fellow workers and others, they will find opportunities to win new support for this defense effort. Nearly a dozen new endorsements from union locals and officers in the past month affirm this potential. Many endorsers, both new and those who signed on earlier, will be eager to help raise funds to ensure that this attack on labor is defeated.
Stand strong in defense of labor rights
Campaign to defeat retaliatory suit by Utah coal boss gains support
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