The meeting in the park was straightforward and no snipers appeared, if snipers can ever be said to appear. We talked about the safety violations occurring all across the shipyard, those that occurred because the company wasn’t enforcing safety regulations and those that occurred because the company was actively pushing us to violate safety protocol. We talked about our low pay or lower-than-standard pay. We talked about the union which had a history of working hand-in-hand with the company. Stories were told of the union flipping coins over worker’s jobs and golfing with administrators on the company payroll and on union time. Most importantly, we decided to put together a small newsletter and distribute it throughout the shipyard. This way we’d get accurate information into folks’ hands about the conditions inside the shipyard.
“They’ll fire us for making that newsletter, much less passing it out inside the yard,” Mueller warned us. “So we’re going to be smart about how we get it in and circulate it,” I said and Mueller suggested we bring it in stuck inside our hardhats or welding vests, rolled and crammed in boots, folded into lunch boxes.