Frame-up trial of Boston school bus drivers union leader turns into ‘Solidarity Day 7’

After two charges were dropped at hearing, union militant Stevan Kirschbaum speaks to crowd of Boston bus drivers and other supporters.WW photo: Brenda Ryan

After two charges were dropped at hearing, union militant Stevan Kirschbaum speaks to crowd of Boston bus drivers and other supporters.
WW photo: Brenda Ryan

Dorchester, Mass. — The fighting members of Boston School Bus Drivers, Steelworkers Local 8751, and their supporters from the community, labor and the political movement staged a virtual occupation of the Dorchester [Mass.] District Court on Nov. 24 at the scene of the continuing anti-union frame-up trial of USW 8751 grievance chair and founder, Stevan Kirschbaum. People packed the courtroom and hallways, and picketed and rallied on the courthouse steps.

Team Solidarity — “the Voice of United School Bus Union Workers” — even conducted briefing rallies inside the courthouse in “Occupy Wall Street” style.

The militant legal team of people’s attorneys Barry P. Wilson and John Pavlos brought the Team Solidarity fightback approach right into the court proceedings. The defense attorneys’ tactics shocked the prosecution when they introduced a “mass witness” list, issuing subpoenas to numerous enemies of the union, including Veolia’s management, the Boston School Department and the Boston police.

Kirschbaum’s attorneys also presented a detailed, thorough and compelling motion to dismiss the case, effectively taking on Veolia, BSD and the Boston police. The attorneys even called out the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for its apparent complicity in union busting, since the office had gone ahead with a prosecution in the face of fraudulent and fabricated evidence and government witnesses’ false statements.

A media alert issued Nov. 24 by Team Solidarity states: “The defense motion to dismiss argues that, in the face of evidence in the DA’s possession that would exonerate Kirschbaum, the Suffolk County DA’s office ‘can have no good faith basis required to continue its prosecution with respect to the remaining trumped-up charges’ — and those should therefore be dropped. Failure to do so would amount to acquiescence and complicity in the abuse of court process for union-busting aims. …

“The campaign against the school bus drivers’ leader is transparent given his role in the union. He is a 40-year veteran union leader and founder; the grievance committee chair responsible for processing virtually all disputes at all four bus yards; a chief negotiator for the union in the current collective bargaining; and one of the four illegally fired union leaders.”

The state tried but failed to exclude 38 defense witnesses. Wilson and Pavlos pounded away at the frame up in their compelling arguments on their motion, which included photos, video, a conspiratorial text stream (exculpatory evidence obtained from the state) and potential witnesses.

As part of Wilson’s presentation, he denounced Veolia’s global reputation as an oppressor and union buster from Boston to San Francisco to the Arab world, a political defense of a motion not usually heard in this court.

The judge stated that he will rule on the motion to dismiss within two weeks and set the next trial date for Feb. 2, 2015, at 9 a.m. Chants of “Drop the frame-up charges! Rehire the Union 4!” “Veolia, we say no! Union busting has got to go!” and “No contract, no work!” reverberated from the courthouse step to the halls and court rooms inside. It was clear that the rainy weather did not dampen the spirit of the determined rank and file.

The day closed with a militant rally featuring updates from people’s lawyers Wilson and Pavlos and wonderful solidarity messages, including those from Sister Pam Africa, MOVE Minister of Confrontation and leader of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal; Brother Charles Clemons of TOUCH 106.1; Monica Moorehead and Teresa Gutierrez from Workers World Party; Boston Teacher Union Building Rep. Herculano Fecteau; Garry Murchison; Samir Stanley; Andre Francois; Steven Gillis; Max Chris Perkins; and Brad Holhut of the International Workers of the World. Later in the afternoon Clemons aired an exclusive interview with Sister Pam Africa.

All out for the Feb. 2 trial! Drop the frame-up charges!