During the Coachella struggle I was a member of a small group of Teamsters who supported the UFW. Led by Mike ‘Scotty’ Napier, a Glasgow-born veteran of the 1970 wildcat strike in freight, we focused on the old Seventh Street Produce Market where we leafleted and appealed to workers to refuse to unload scab grapes. Several of the hand-truck guys were outspoken supporters of the UFW and were reassigned by their bosses to unload other produce. At this point a goon squad of Teamster business agents, completely dressed in black (black chinos, black leather jackets, black gloves), came around the corner. One of them used a bullhorn to warn the members of the produce local that anyone refusing to unload Teamster grapes would be fired on the spot, by the union. There was some scuffling and we were physically evicted.
The atmosphere of intimidation was sinister, to say the least, but one young Chicano produce worker stood his ground in support of the UFW. He was instantly fired, despite an appeal from his foreman. I write this note to celebrate the courage of this unknown soldier of the struggle, as well as that of my friend Mike Napier, now deceased, who risked much (he was later badly beaten) in defiance of Fitzsimmons and the corrupt IBT leadership.