The Sweetheart Union

As Sugar Strike Fails, Longshoremen’s Union Butts Into Greengrocer Campaign

According to the story, Han was aware that since the longshoremen's union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, another AFL-CIO union such as UNITE can't organize its shops or stage boycotts.

"In addition," the article quoted Han as saying, "the longshoremen's union has promised not to negotiate over wages and to allow employees to withdraw from the union two years later."

Han couldn't be reached. His attorney, Larry Cole, whose offices are in Jersey City, failed to return calls. So far, the AFL-CIO has ruled against the ILA in two hearings on the dispute with UNITE.

The ILA's national leaders also declined to discuss the greengrocer matter. James McNamara, who, records show, was paid $205,000 last year to handle public affairs for ILA president John Bowers, failed to return messages.

The ILA has more than one reason to duck the calls.

The Voicehas learned that the 56-48 vote to accept a company proposal to end the almost two-year-old strike at Domino came only after top ILA officers insisted on a secret mail ballot against the wishes of striking members.

In public meetings held at a church near the Domino plant in Williamsburg, strikers had voted twice not to accept the crushing contract terms, which included elimination of job security, offered by Domino's British-owned parent, Tate & Lyle.

"The secret ballot was the union's idea," said striker Bob Horn, 54, a 27-year veteran mechanic. "Most of us were against it. The previous vote was unanimous not to accept the company offer. We would just rather have the vote right out in public. I was surprised by these results. I think we got sold out by the union," said Horn. "They just wanted this over."

ILA president Bowers never appeared at the plant's picket line or its rallies during the strike. His pledge to get a national boycott of Domino Sugar also fizzled. Horn is headed back to work this week, although without many of his fellow strikers since the new contract allows the company to pick and choose. "It's going to be really hard," said Horn.


Research assistance by James Wong

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