Archive for the ‘Labor’ Category



By Sharon Tracy

In the early spring of 1977 I went to one of the events about nuclear power held around New England to educate the public and recruit for the occupation. I sat on a metal chair in a church basement with 20 or so strangers crowded round Judy Rubenstein as she told the terrifying story of Karen Silkwood. Judy outlined the evidence of how Silkwood had died in 1975 or so under suspicious circumstances while blowing the whistle on the Oklahoma nuclear fuel fabrication facility where she worked. She had documents with her proving the facility’s criminally lax adherence to safety regulations preventing radioactive contamination. By the time of her fatal drive to meet a New York Times reporter, Silkwood herself was contaminated by high level radiation that mysteriously appeared in the bologna in her refrigerator. (Meryl Streep portrayed Karen’s story masterfully in Silkwood some years later.) I was riveted and outraged.

Putting put my affairs in order, I joined the great occupation in April and ended up living on the Seacoast off and on for many years. During the occupation, I was support, part of the robust legal team of lawyers and non-lawyers from New England and beyond (most were card carrying members of the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU).

            Once construction was well underway, in the mid-80s, locals started hearing some hair-raising stories about bad welds (there are miles and miles of welded pipe), negligent quality assurance, concrete set poorly, improper construction. We started a whistleblowers organization for Seabrook nuclear plant construction workers: Employees Legal Project. Remembering Silkwood, we set up a whistleblower identity protection method. Read the rest of this entry »

LABOR AND THE CLAM By Steve Thornton


By Steve Thornton

Peter Kellman went to work at the Laconia Shoe Company in Sanford, Maine on the morning of September 18, 1980.  Peter was a machine operator at the factory and the president of the local shoe workers union. He was also an anti-nuclear activist with the Clamshell Alliance.  That morning he posted a notice on the union bulletin board urging workers to support the upcoming state referendum to shut down Maine Yankee, the state’s only nuclear power plant.  That’s when the trouble started. Read the rest of this entry »

Jobs and Energy by Richard Grossman

Jobs, Energy & the Clam

by Richard Grossman

In spring 1976, I moved from California to Washington DC to become director of Environmentalists For Full Employment (EFFE). EFFE’s task was to counter corporate state propaganda that safe energy threw people out of work, was anti-progress and bad for the economy. We also built alliances among workers and environmentalists.

I had worked for the nation’s first anti-nuclear referendum, California’s Nuclear Safeguards Initiative. Nuclear corporations, banking and weapons corporations, construction and insurance corporations all had joined nuclear zealots in government and the press to scream jobs! jobs! jobs! without let up.

            Without the 1000 nuclear power plants across the nation, they screeched, no jobs. Without 50 nukes in California, everyone would go hungry, freezing and jobless in the dark. California AFL-CIO leaders dangling from corporate strings attacked solar energy advocates as anti-labor and un-American. Read the rest of this entry »