Six demonstrators--including three Harvard students and one Harvard lecturer--were arrested yesterday while supporting a drivers' and helpers' strike at Morgan Memorial, Incl., "Goodwill Industries."
The six were passing out leaflets in front of the Boston plant and talking to the picketing strikers and prospective customers in front of the first-floor store. They were arrested about 12:30 p.m. and charged with "blocking free foot pass age" on the Berkeley St. sidewalk.
They will appear this morning at the Boston Municipal Court. After the arrest yesterday, they were held in jail for over two hours and then were releases on $20 bail.
The six arrested were: Richard N. Boyd, lecturer in Philosophy, Laura Anker, Brown University, Neal I. Koblitz '69, John N. Lazarus '69, Robert Park, and Michael H. Schwartz.
"At the time, there were only the six leafleters and about a dozen picketing drivers anywhere in front of the store," Neal I. Koblitz '69, one of those arrested said yesterday.
Koblitz had also been arrested Friday for "trespassing" at the Morgan Memorial store. He said that he started to enter the store without leaflets when a police man stopped him and told him that he was "not allowed on company property."
When he responded that he only wanted to talk to the people inside, he said, the police officer grasped him in an armlock and put him in a paddy wagon. Koblitz was kept in jail for two hours after his arrest and for three hours after his trial. He was then released from the Charles St. jail.
Koblitz was found guilty and fined $20. Though he is currently out on $200 bail pending appeal, he says that he has decided not to appeal the case. "The case wouldn't come up for months, by which time the drivers will have won the strike, and I'd be automatically convicted anyway," Koblitz said.
One of the picketing drivers said that the students' support "had definitely helped the strike. Their leaflets cut business by half," he said. Another, one of the strike's organizers, said "We would have won anyway, but the support of the students has made everything go so much faster."
"The two police who had been watching the store all day directed the students' arrests," one of the striking workers said. "They arrested people in an obvious attempt to intimidate both the students and the drivers," he said.
A spokesman for the Boston Police Department said yesterday that the two officers in front of Morgan Memorial were off-duty members of the Tactical Police Force. They work during the night and "do strikes" during the day, he said. They are hired by Morgan Memorial for $6 an hour.
All 74 drivers and helpers of the six-story Boston plant and store for Morgan Memorial have been on strike for three weeks seeking Union recognition, a raise from the current wage of $1.60 an hour to $3.10, the repair of defective equipment at the plant, and fringe benefits of sick leave, a medical plan, and an insurance system.
The strike began after Morgan Memorial fired most of the night shift--11 workers--and four day-shift drivers. Strikers on the picket line said that conditions inside the plant were indecent and that they were continually harrassed. They said they were often asked to "leave for unpaid vacations" when they complained about working conditions.
The drivers and helpers will vote this afternoon on whether to accept Teamsters Local 82 as their union. Henry E. Helms, executive director of Morgan Memorial, sent out letters to the drivers which said, "I sincerely hope you will preserve your right to deal directly with Morgan Memorial rather than through a third party. You can do this by voting NO on union recognition."
The drivers and their union will negotiate with Morgan Memorial concerning the specific demands if the union is accepted by the drivers, as many of the drivers thought it would be yesterday. "We're going to stay out on strike until we get what we want," a driver said. "We'd be stupid not to," he added