Workers Join Students

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Fifth Estate # 73, February 20-March 5, 1969

Reprinted from the Guardian.

San Francisco—A major breakthrough in the San Francisco State College strike was achieved Feb. 7 when representatives of striking workers at the Standard Oil refinery in Richmond, across the Bay, joined with striking SF State students and teachers to call for the formation of a mutual-aid agreement in the best traditions of labor solidarity.

On Feb. 3 already, more than 400 students joined workers on picket lines in Richmond (see article, in this issue). On Feb. 17, the opening day of SF State’s spring semester, the oil workers will join the students and the American Federation of Teachers on the lines at State.

A meeting of more than 600 community people and rank and file workers was sponsored at the San Francisco Labor Temple Feb. 2 by the Community Conference to Support the SF State Strike, a group initiated by the Peace and Freedom party and black community leaders. A number of California labor leaders shared the platform with student strike spokesmen from the Third World Liberation Front. The rally supported the TWLF strike as well as the AFT strike, in opposition to the position of the San Francisco Central Labor Council which supports only the “labor” part of the AFT demands. (The AFT, in addition to demands of its own, has endorsed 15 student demands.)

G.T. Jacobs, secretary-treasurer of Local 1-561 of the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers stated, “There was a time when we in the labor movement were widely respected as the champions of the underdog. That was a profound source of the power of organized workers. We earn the support of the community—the minority groups in particular—by our actions in solidarity with people getting a dirty deal from the big corporations and the establishment.”

He pointed out that this strength has been steadily dissipated “by the smug complacency and blind narrow-mindedness of the bulk of the labor movement. I pledge myself to exert every effort to rally the material and concrete support of labor generally behind the struggle of striking third’-world-led students and teachers in return for their help on our picket lines. We are going to revive the old spirit of solidarity and identification with progressive social causes that characterized the historic movement of organized workers for justice and equality. We fully expect in time to strike a responsive chord throughout the length and breadth of American trade unionism.”

In other developments at SF State, acting president S.I. Hayakawa on Feb. 6 advised 199 members of the striking faculty that they had lost their jobs.

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