|Teamster Nathan Brown on strike against United Natural Foods, an organic food distributor, reads Militant on picket line outside company warehouse in Auburn, Wash., Jan. 5.|
“Your newspaper is the only one around that has any useful information in it. I will be carefully reading about the dockworkers as this situation develops,” Cedrick Graves, a 45-year-old warehouse worker originally from Trinidad, told Militant supporters who knocked on his door in Houston. He bought a copy of the paper.
Graves was reacting to coverage on labor conflicts involving some 14,500 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and 3,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on the West Coast. These workers are currently fighting concession demands by port bosses as they negotiate new labor contracts. (See article on page 5.)
“Stevedoring can be dangerous work,” Connolly Graves, Cedrick’s brother, added. “What’s worse is that they cut back so much.”
As a complement to building solidarity going door to door, Militant supporters organized sales at hiring halls and port entrances in several cities.
“We were surprised to read that opponents of the union are saying we’re ‘fat cats’ and ‘greedy,’” Twain Utley, an ILA member for 14 years, said in a phone interview the day after he bought a Militant subscription at the ILA Local 24 hiring hall in Houston last weekend.
Utley described how several of his coworkers had bought copies, adding, “they all really enjoyed it.
“I also read about the nurses’ strike in Israel,” he said. “I was impressed that they won higher wages and were fighting to get more nurses hired.”
As ILA members at the Port of Newark, N.J., suited up for cold weather Jan. 5, eight workers bought subscriptions and 31 single copies.
“There is nothing out there like this, telling the workers’ side. I like the Spanish part also,” Kelly Garrett said as he signed up after hearing a description of the paper and looking through it.
Javier Garay bought a single copy on his way onto the docks. He returned later and told Militant distributor Dan Fein, “I want two more copies of that paper. Others need to read this.” Garay decided to subscribe after hearing about the special offer for new readers.
Militant distributors in New York went back last weekend to several of the working-class areas where they got a good response during the recently concluded international subscription campaign. In the Electchester housing complex in Queens, 36 subscriptions were sold going door to door last fall.
“The Militant! Sounds great!” Julius Davis responded when he opened the door. When he heard it is a revolutionary, socialist paper, he smiled and said, “I was just talking with my girlfriend about these ideas.”
Davis is a 38-year-old electrician, originally from Jamaica and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. In addition to getting a subscription, he bought three of the four books on communist politics offered at reduced prices. (See ad on this page.)
Six subscriptions and a fourth book were sold in the course of the afternoon in Electchester.
Jonathan Silberman reported from London that Militant distributors there sold two subscriptions and 10 single copies going door to door in Southall, a working-class neighborhood in the west of the city with a sizeable proportion of people of Indian, predominantly Punjabi, descent.
A number responded to the coverage on the protests for women’s rights in response to the brutal rape killing last month of a young woman in New Delhi, India.
“There’s been a huge change in India in attitudes towards women,” said Ganandeep Singh, a 22-year-old air conditioning worker. “Not only are women not prepared to go on as before, but men have joined them in the streets.”
“I like a paper that covers workers’ fights around the world. I never heard about workers fighting for their rights in Bangladesh,” said Tammy Derrick, as she bought a subscription along with a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Jack Barnes, Socialist Workers Party national secretary.
Derrick was walking the picket line at United Natural Foods Inc. in Auburn, Wash. She is one of 72 members of Teamsters Local 117 who got fired by UNFI after a two-day strike in December over the company’s refusal to negotiate a new contract. In response, all 163 warehouse workers and drivers walked off the job, refusing to work until the fired workers are reinstated.
Striker Tyrone Elliott also bought a subscription and a copy of the Workers Power book.
Continue sending your reports, quotes, experiences and photos by 9 a.m. EST Monday.
And if you want to join the ongoing effort to expand the readership of the Militant and communist books among working people, you can order a bundle and subscription blanks at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 244-4899.
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