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Teamsters Use Ku Klux Klan Act to Protest at NAIAS

More than 300 demonstrate at Detroit Show’s Public Opening.

by on Jan.16, 2010

“Frankly, the conduct displayed by Toyota and the city here is just the kind of stuff that happened during the civil rights fight in the South during the 1960s.”

More than 300 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters demonstrated in Detroit today and marched in a mock funeral procession to the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center.

It was part of an ongoing series of protests against Fiat for using the bankruptcy process to move 5,000 Chrysler carhauling jobs to non-union carriers.

The union also handed out leaflets at the auto show’s charity preview last night protesting Chrysler’s demands for concessions on wages and benefits.

The latest demonstration follows a ruling yesterday by a Federal Court saying that Teamsters had the constitutional right to distribute leaflets inside the lobby of the Cobo Center during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The judge directed the city’s police department to stop interfering with the union.

The ruling resulted because of a Teamsters Union complaint for injunctive relief in U.S. District Court in Detroit. The lawsuit alleges that the Toyota Motor Corp. conspired and acted in concert with governmental defendants to deprive the Teamsters Union its constitutional rights.

Ironically, the legal action in a largely black city with a Black mayor and police chief was brought under the federal Ku Klux Klan Act, which was enacted in after the Civil War to address efforts by private parties, including the lynch mob Klan, to conspire with government officials to deprive citizens of their rights.

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“Frankly, the conduct displayed by Toyota and the city here is just the kind of stuff that happened during the civil rights fight in the South during the 1960s,” said Teamsters General Counsel Brad Raymond.

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