Has strike actually proved anything?

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 13, 1999

Our community is celebrating a birthday of sorts. It has been exactly one year since the members of the United Steelworkers of America began what it deems an unfair labor strike against Titan Tire.

Some days it seems like only yesterday that the picket signs popped up outside the Kelly Avenue tire plant.

Other days it seems like the dispute has been going on for years.

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As it changes from a situation first described in months to one that the historians of our community will now refer to in years, the question arises, &uot;What good has it done?&uot;

Every person you ask will give a different answer to that question.

Union members will say they have – through great sacrifice on their parts -&160;protected workers from the tyrannical exploits of Titan CEO Morry Taylor.

In an effort to give themselves something to rally around, union members have demonized Taylor.

Whether Taylor actually has horns and carries a pitchfork has yet to be determined. His name and face have been slapped on union posters and propaganda since the beginning.

But it seems that union members have forgotten that Taylor, whether he is the devil incarnate or not, was the only person who showed interest in buying the bankrupt company a few years back. So the man probably deserves a little respect just for that.

Without Taylor the plant wouldn’t be open and the union would have nothing to strike about in the first place.

And until Steelworkers realize this and become determined to work out some kind of compromise, before we know it, we might be celebrating the two-year anniversary of the strike.

So here we are, one year older but apparently not much wiser.

It was a year filled with lots of marches and rallies. A year marked by malicious mischief by someone who was so angered by the situation that he or she used the cloak of darkness to spread tacks over several residents’ driveways. Legally, nothing was ever proved in the cases, but obviously someone, from one side or the other, did it.

In short, the situation has made many folks act like children.

A prime example of this happened Saturday during the anniversary rally. With four bus loads of outside support, union members pushed open the gates at Titan and proceeded to march inside the plant cursing and yelling as they went.

The move was completely misguided and wrong.

Even if Morry Taylor is the biggest devil on the face of the earth, the union has no right to barge onto his property just because they can.

Members, likely instigated by the folks who were bused in, simply went too far in trying to garner attention to their cause.

The union members have all of the rights in the world to protest – peacefully on public property.

But if they choose to continue acts of flagrant unlawfulness such as their actions on Saturday the public’s view of their &uot;plight&uot; will quickly begin to sour.

And eventually, no one will care how long they’ve been sitting on the curb holding off the tyranny of Titan.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 446-5172 ext. 241 or by e-mail: kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.