Las Vegas Boss under Attack

Unidentified dissident members of the Clark County Education Ass’n in Nevada have recently circulated bulletins under the name the Committee to Impeach Sue Strand. Strand is the top boss of CCEA. They accuse Strand of greed and utter incompetence.

One bulletin focused on Strand’s apparent indifference to union corruption. It quotes some of her published statements from recent years when she was asked about the embezzlement charges against ex-CCEA director Steve Confer in Indiana, Strand dismissed it as “just a silly issue.”  Confer pled guilty to union embezzlement on July 26.

Another bulletin went after the boss’ salary. “Members got a 1 percent raise and no increase in their benefits, but their president got an 11.6 percent increase,” states one bulletin. That raise would hike Strand’s compensation package from $100,566 to $112,238. By contrast, a beginning teacher makes $26,060. [Las Vegas Rev.-J. 10/28/99]

Workers Loose Libel Case against Union
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 25 that name-calling, however inflammatory, is not necessarily libelous in the context of a labor strike. The Air Line Pilots Ass’n was entitled to call members who crossed picket lines “scabs,” the Court held. The 2-1 decision ends, for now, a $280 million libel suit by dozens of former Eastern Air Lines pilots against ALPA.

The case stems from an eight-month strike by Eastern pilots, conducted to support striking Eastern machinists in 1989. After the strike, the pilots’ union distributed 50,000 leaflets identifying more than 2,000 pilots who broke the strike, calling them “The Scabs of Eastern.”  On the leaflet’s front page was a poem called “Ode to a Scab,” comparing strike-breakers to Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold. It read in part: “No man has a right to SCAB as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with.”

In 1991, some of the nonstriking pilots sued for libel, claiming the “scab” moniker was malicious and false. The picket-crossing pilots argued they weren’t “scabs” because the strike was never approved by a secret ballot of Eastern’s pilots. Therefore, they weren’t violating union policy. [Fulton County Daily Rep. 10/29/99]