Update from Feb 2, 2015 Court: Protesters Defy Blizzard to Pack Court to Say NO frame up charges
Once again Team Solidarity, USW 8751, Boston School Bus Union and Supporters packed the Court in an exemplary demonstration of Solidarity in Action to Say NO to the Veolia/Boston Public Schools/Boston Police anti union frame up of USW 8751 leader and founder Stevan Kirschbaum and to put the Union Busters on Trial!
Nearly 75 Activists defied a major Boston blizzard and declared snow emergency (public schools and federal court was canceled and an additional foot of snow added to the 2 feet already blanketing Boston) to pack the Dorchester District Court and take a stand with the fighting members of USW 8751 and their struggle to Rehire the 4 illegtally fired USW leaders – Andre Francois, Garry Murchison, Steven Gillis and Kirschbam, to demand contract justice for the bus drivers, safety for the students, and NO to racist anti poor budget cuts.
As furhter evidence of the continued anti union harrassment, the courthouse was deserted as nearly all business with the exception of the frame up had been canceled. The courtroom was jammed to overflow as People’s Lawyer John Pavlos had the Judge formally recognize the dozens of defense witnesses who had braved the elements to testify in brother Stevan Kirschbaum’s behalf. Because of the blizzard conditions and in keeping with the union’s bold and militant tactics the “usual post trial” rally was held inside the courthouse in a vertual hour and a half people’s speakout occupation featuring a legal update for John Pavlos, veteran freedom fighter Chuck Turner, housing, anti gentrification activist Lisa Owens (in 1985 a militant leader of the “Free My People” youth organization that occupied the Mayors Office in support of a strike of Local 8751), Sandra McIntosh, Coordinator of the Coalition for Equal, Quality Education, Jackson Chan, activist bringing solidarity from the s/heroic protestors who blocked the Highway in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Detroit UAW rank and file leader and national labor solidarity with USW 8751, Martha Grevatt, Lynn Meza, Chelsea United Against the War, Workers World organizer and retired union nurse Sharon Eolis, Tony Murphy, National coordinator of the traveling “Solidarity – “Boots on the Ground” brigades, Andre Francois, one of the 4 fired leaders, Howard Rotman, SEIU 1199 member and movement photographer, and Georgia Scott and Fred Floreal of Team solidarity. We were joined by the dynamic Detroit Fist crew lead by our brother in the struggle, the indefatigable Joe Mchahwar. The day concluded with a people’s sing-a-long of union songs led by the fabulous fiddling of Detroit FIST activist Josh! The next court date is March 3, 2015. United with Solidarity, WE WILL WIN!
Update from Nov 24, 2014 Court:
The fighting members of Boston School Bus Drivers, Steelworkers Local 8751, and their supporters from the community, labor and the political movement staged a virtual occupation of the Dorchester [Mass.] District Court on Nov. 24 at the scene of the continuing anti-union frame-up trial of USW 8751 grievance chair and founder, Stevan Kirschbaum. People packed the courtroom and hallways, and picketed and rallied on the courthouse steps. Team Solidarity — “the Voice of United School Bus Union Workers” — even conducted briefing rallies inside the courthouse in “Occupy Wall Street” style. The militant legal team of people’s attorneys Barry P. Wilson and John Pavlos brought the Team Solidarity fightback approach right into the court proceedings. The defense attorneys’ tactics shocked the prosecution when they introduced a “mass witness” list, issuing subpoenas to numerous enemies of the union, including Veolia’s management, the Boston School Department and the Boston police. Kirschbaum’s attorneys also presented a detailed, thorough and compelling motion to dismiss the case, effectively taking on Veolia, BSD and the Boston police. The attorneys even called out the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for its apparent complicity in union busting, since the office had gone ahead with a prosecution in the face of fraudulent and fabricated evidence and government witnesses’ false statements. A media alert issued Nov. 24 by Team Solidarity states: “The defense motion to dismiss argues that, in the face of evidence in the DA’s possession that would exonerate Kirschbaum, the Suffolk County DA’s office ‘can have no good faith basis required to continue its prosecution with respect to the remaining trumped-up charges’ — and those should therefore be dropped. Failure to do so would amount to acquiescence and complicity in the abuse of court process for union-busting aims. …
“The campaign against the school bus drivers’ leader is transparent given his role in the union. He is a 40-year veteran union leader and founder; the grievance committee chair responsible for processing virtually all disputes at all four bus yards; a chief negotiator for the union in the current collective bargaining; and one of the four illegally fired union leaders.” The state tried but failed to exclude 38 defense witnesses. Wilson and Pavlos pounded away at the frame up in their compelling arguments on their motion, which included photos, video, a conspiratorial text stream (exculpatory evidence obtained from the state) and potential witnesses. As part of Wilson’s presentation, he denounced Veolia’s global reputation as an oppressor and union buster from Boston to San Francisco to the Arab world, a political defense of a motion not usually heard in this court.
The judge stated that he will rule on the motion to dismiss within two weeks and set the next trial date for Feb. 2, 2015, at 9 a.m. Chants of “Drop the frame-up charges! Rehire the Union 4!” “Veolia, we say no! Union busting has got to go!” and “No contract, no work!” reverberated from the courthouse step to the halls and court rooms inside. It was clear that the rainy weather did not dampen the spirit of the determined rank and file. The day closed with a militant rally featuring updates from people’s lawyers Wilson and Pavlos and wonderful solidarity messages, including those from Sister Pam Africa, MOVE Minister of Confrontation and leader of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal; Brother Charles Clemons of TOUCH 106.1; Monica Moorehead and Teresa Gutierrez from Workers World Party; Boston Teacher Union Building Rep. Herculano Fecteau; Garry Murchison; Samir Stanley; Andre Francois; Steven Gillis; Max Chris Perkins; and Brad Holhut of the International Workers of the World. Later in the afternoon Clemons aired an exclusive interview with Sister Pam Africa.
All out for the March 3rd trial! Drop the frame-up charges!
On July 3, 2014, four plain clothes BPD detectives paid two visits to brother Kirschbaum’s home while he was at the Boston Teachers Union in contract negotiations with Veolia Transportation, Inc. Lieutenant Detective Thomas Hopkins served Steve’s daughter, Hannah, with his Summons to appear on July 14, 2014, at 8:30 am at BMC Dorchester Court, 510 Washington Street, Dorchester MA 02124. The summons says Steve is to be arraigned on charges of Assault and Battery with a dangerous Weapon (table), Trespass, Breaking and Entering during the Daytime to Commit a Felony, and Malicious Destruction of Property. These false, defamatory, and outrageous charges are identified as “offenses” alleged to have occurred on June 30th at the Solidarity Day rallies and march.On June 30th Solidarity Day nearly 500 militant USW 8751 Boston School Bus drivers and supporters took the struggle against Veolia/City union busting to the streets surrounding the Freeport bus yard and Veolia Corporate Headquarters. Demonstrators chanted “No Contract. No work!” and “Veolia, We say no, Union Busting has got to go!” Protestors were demanding the rehiring of the 4 illegally fired leaders, a just new contract, and, joining with the community of Boston, saying “NO” to the City’s racist austerity cutbacks and re-segregation plan. The 3 ½ hour protest included an opening rally featuring Labor and Community supporters followed by a march to Veolia HQ for another rally.
The demonstrators then took to the streets again, concluding with an impromptu “union membership briefing” in the Freeport Driver’s Room. The union leaders advised both company representatives and BPD that the union members were asserting their contract right to “access to the property” to conduct “union activity” (Article 15, sec 1 and 3.), namely a critical briefing on that day’s contract negotiations, as the contract expiration was just hours away. The doors to the facility were unlocked and opened. The union, drivers, monitors, families and supporters had access to the drivers` room facilities all day on June 30th, as is always the case. There was no issue of “disruption of operations,” as there was no operations taking place at that time of the day. The company’s illegal efforts to stop the meeting by calling in the police proved ineffective in deterring the union. The meeting was held in an orderly, peaceful manner, and the gathering disbursed at the conclusion without incident. There are scores of witnesses that can confirm that the charges against Steve are absolutely false. These frame-up charges seek to defame Steve Kirschbaum and USW 8751’s 40 year history of militant unionism, social activism and solidarity with labor struggles locally, nationally and globally.
These groundless frame-up charges represent the most recent link in an unbroken chain of vile anti-union attacks against the hard working women and men of USW 8751, their militant fighting union, and the communities they serve. It is part and parcel of the Veolia/City war against USW 8751 that has included the illegal firing of the four USW leaders, 18 Unfair Labor Practice charges against Veolia with the National Labor Relations Board, hundreds of individual and class action grievances, and more.
At the negotiating table the company is seeking to take away 40 years of collective bargaining progress while the city’s racist austerity cuts represent a most serious attack on the community’s right to safe, on time, professional yellow school bus transportation and equal, quality education generally. The obscene, anti-union opinion column by Lawrence Harmon in the 7/5/14 Boston Globe lays bare that the intent of Veolia, the City, the Boston Police, and other labor haters is to defame and destroy USW Local 8751.
The Union busters will fail. USW 8751 has a proud and militant history of defending its members, the majority of whom come from Boston’s African American and immigrant communities; winning wages, benefits and working conditions; and ensuring union rights that are the envy of the school bus industry. The unity and solidarity demonstrated by Solidarity Day will prove decisive in the battle to win Safety for the Students and Justice for the Drivers. This is a struggle to defend Local 8751 and the union movement as a whole.
Drop the remianing anti-union charges against Steve Kirschbaum NOW!
Rehire the fired leaders!
No Concessions! Contract Justice NOW!
Say NO to Boston School Department’s racist austerity cuts. Don’t throw middle school students off the bus!
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