A Southern textile worker told a House subcommittee today that a J.P. Stevens and Co. plant security guard pulled a gun on him when he tried to hand out union leaflets at the company's Aberdeen, N.C., mill.
Tommy Boroughs, 29, a production worker at Stevens for seven years, testified that the guard, Paul Leviner, ordered him to stop handling out the leaflets in a company parking lot after Boroughs finishes work at midnight, Aug. 2.
Boroughs said a union organizer standing outside the plant gates told him he had a legal right to distribute leaflets in "nonworking areas" on company property.
Boroughs said that when he returned to the parking lot, Leviner got a gun out of his truck and said, "Tommy, I'm not not going to tell you again, Get back outside the gate."
Boroughs said he then left the parking lot.
The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, which is organizing at the Aberdeen plant, filed unfair labor practice charges with National Labor Relations Board concerning the incident.
J.P. Stenens officials would not comment about the incident. Leviner could not be reached.
Boroughs' testimony came before the House Labor-Management Relations Subcommittee, which is conducting hearings into labor legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize and bargain collectively. The bill, in the form of amendments to the National Labor Relations Act; is backed by the Carter administration and the AFL-CIO.
Stevens employees testified that they have been illegally fired, harassed, interrogated and spied upon when they tried t organize a union.
Jerry Davis, who works at Stevens plant in Montgomery, Ala., read the names of 11 persons he said had been illegally fired for their union activities at his plant. "We all feel like we might be next," he said.
"How can you buy anything on time or make any plans for the future with that kind of fear? But that kind of fear is J.P. Stevens' way of fighting the union's," he charged.
Labor leaders, elected officials, clergy, academics and lawyers also testified in favor of the bill.
At one point during the hearings, Rep. John M. Ashbrook (R-Ohio) characterized the proceedings as "a hanging party" and "very one-sided."
"If they're one-sided, it's because J.P. Stevens' record of labor law violations is soo unparalleled," Rep. Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.) said later in the hearings here.
Stevens officails declined an invitation to testify at the heatings. However, the company issued a statement Monday criticizing the proposed legislation as an attempt "to promote and to achieve the unionization of all American employees, rather than to accomplish free choice for them."
Members of the J.P. Stevens Employees Educational Committee, an organization of anti-union employees in Roanoke Rapids, trestified against the bill.
"I do believe it's against God's will for the unions to ask for more and more money," said Leonard Wilson of Gaston, N.C."Money is the root of all evil. I do believe it's time to honor the counsel to Jesus Christ when he said we can serve but one master. Each individual should have the right to accept or reject a labor union."
"I wonder," asked subcommittee Chairman Frank Thompson (D-N.J.), "if God meant that the one master had to be J.P. Stevens?"
Beginning with the knights of Labor has failed in several coastly attempts to organzie the Southern textile industry. It is the region's largest employer, with 663,000 workers, and has traditionally set the labor relations pattern for the South.
In 1963, the AFL-CIO selected J.P. Stevens, the nation's second largest textile corporation, as the primary target for a major organizing drive in Southern textiles.
Labor failed to win a single union representation election at Stevens during the first 11 years of its campaign. It charged that its defects were the result of unfair labor practices designed to frighten and punish pro-union employees.
The NLRB has found Stevens guilty of unfair labor practices in 15 separate cases since 1965. The company has been ordered by the NLRB to reinstate at least 282 workers illegally fired for union activity, with backpay awards totalling more than $1.3 million. Federal appeals courts have twice held the textile firm in contempt of court orders.
In 1974 the union won a representation election at Steven's seven-plant complex here.
The victory led one Southern labor leader to proclaim "a new day in Dixie - first J.P. Stevens, then the textile industry and then the whole South."
But the company and the union have been unable to arrive at a first contract after nearly three years of negotiations. The NLRB's regional director issued a complaint against the company for bad-faith bargaining in July, 1976.
In an attempt to break the bargaining stalemate, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, which represents the workers in Roanoke Rapids, and the AFL-CIO have launched a nationwide consumer boycott of Stevens products.