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Kaiser Infiltrated by One Sly Spy: Environmentalist Goes Undercover; Union Housed Secret Worker

By Hannelore Sudermann - Spokane and Coeur d'Alene Spokesman-Review, December 19, 1998

An environmentalist has been working undercover at Kaiser Aluminum plants until this week. Mikal Jakubul, said hes been a spy for the United Steelworkers during several weeks of the union's lengthy strike at Kaiser.

To the surprise of the security guards, Jakubul, 35, walked out of the Trentwood plant Thursday to great a waiting group of pickets.

This is the second time hes exposed himself as a spy at Kaiser.

Just a few weeks ago, after working at the Tacoma smelter, Jakubul said he walked out in the middle of a shift and told my supervisors and my co-workers what I had been doing there. He briefed the union on activities inside the plant, and gave news media interviews about inefficiencies he said he observed.

Then he came to Spokane. Jakubul, an environmental activist from Humboldt County, California, applied for work at both Mead and Trentwood. He took the job Trentwood offered, which had him working in a lab one week and on the aluminum slitter the next.

His application was identical to the one he filled out in Tacoma, he said. They're so disorganized, he said, I didn't lie about my name or anything. The union was aware of his activity and housed him while he worked at Trentwood.

Kaiser spokeswoman Susan Ashe said she had heard about Jakubul in Tacoma but didn't know that he had been hired at Trentwood.

Clearly he misrepresented himself to us, since he sought employment for ulterior or self-serving motives, Ashe said He never indicated to Trentwood in his resume, application or interviews that he had been previously employed with the company in Tacoma.

Jakubul said he earned $1,000 to $1,100 a week for working there and has not yet received pay from Trentwood. He said he has long fought the activities of Pacific Lumber Company, which is owned by MAXXAM Corporation, Kaisers majority shareholder. Pacific Lumber harvests old-growth redwoods in Humboldt County.

I may be the first admitted environmental activist from Humboldt County to actually get a paycheck from Charles Hurwitz (MAXXAM chairman) for working to subvert him. Jakubul said while at the Trentwood rolling mill he saw quality problems in the metal and he noticed that equipment was breaking down every day.

A week in the mill an expert does not make, Ashe said. While Jakubul was working at Trentwood, auditors from Boeing, one of Kaisers major customers, toured the plant to check product quality. The Boeing Commercial Airplane Group auditors found the metal produced to be of good quality said Boeing spokeswoman Jill Langer.

Jakubul said he likely will return to California and continue his fight against Pacific Lumber and Hurwitz. The activist is self-employed and runs a portable sawmill.

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