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Mendocino County

Who Bombed Judi Bari? - Interview with Beth Bosk

Interview by Beth Bosk - New Settler Interview, January 1995

NEW SETTLER: The last my readers know of you with regard to the bombing, you are in an Oakland hospital, near comatose. Outside, the FBI and the Oakland police are accusing you of the act of transporting the bomb that blew up your car as you were careening down a street in Oakland. I'd like you to begin with your recollection of the day you were bombed: why you were in Oakland?

JUDI: I'm going to start the day before in Willits, because I think it is more logical that way... It was the eve of Redwood Summer and we were calling for people to come in from all over the country to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to stop the over-cutting; and the timber industry was mounting a campaign to portray us as violent, and to whip up hatred against us. This included my receipt of increasingly frightening death threats, and fake press releases that were being distributed not only to the press, but were being passed out in the lumber mills and on the logging jobs. The fake press releases had the Earth First! logo on them -- but they weren't written by us, and in contrast to what we were really saying, they were calling for violence and tree spiking. One of the fake press releases actually spelled Darryl's name wrong, so it was easy to prove it was fake -- as we were asserting -- yet these were still being distributed as if they were real, and treated by the press as if they were real.

And perceived real by the increasingly-angered men who work in the industry.

JUDI: We've documented all this stuff since. Louisiana-Pacific, for example, in at least one plant (I suspect in more) held a meeting -- on the clock, that workers were forced to attend -- where they passed out the fake press releases -- presented them as real -- and encouraged the workers (in the words of the plant manager) "to go to public meetings wearing your hard hat and work boots and role up your sleeves and sit down right next to one of them so they won't talk too freely." I know this because the union filed a grievance against L-P for making them listen to anti-Earth First! propaganda on company time.

The companies were very actively trying to discredit us. G-P canceled their mill tours because of the alleged "terrorist threat." That's how they were doing their part. MAXXAM (and I have actual proof from their internal company memos) MAXXAM distributed these fake press releases calling for violence to the press after they acknowledged privately that they were fake. L-P put a barbed wire fence around their Ukiah plant. There was a whole bunch of things going on to portray us as terrorists and make people afraid of us. The bombing didn't happen in a vacuum.

Our reaction, though, was to try to head off the violence. We knew a lot of contract loggers -- the gyppos -- and we wanted to meet with them face-to-face and explain to them who we really were and to allay their fears and to work things out so that we wouldn't have to face violence that summer.

We had asked Art Harwood to help us set up these meetings of local gyppo operators, in that he was one of the largest ones, and he did that and we had two mediated meetings with a paid mediator in Willits. There were some rank-and-file loggers, but mostly it was contract loggers, company owners -- Bill Bailey was there, he owns a big logger supply outfit in Laytonville. Jerry Philbrick was there. Tom Loop was there.

And we had actually been making progress: first in humanizing each other -- in learning that each other were human beings, that we really had more in common than we thought; -- and then in allaying each other's fears. At the second meeting, we had reached an agreement that we called "The No First Strike Agreement": we had assured them that we had no intention of monkeywrenching their equipment, and they had said that they would not assault us if we don't. [laughs]

So we really felt that we were making progress and that things were going well. So, that's where I was on Tuesday of the week I was bombed. That meeting was held in the evening.

Earth First! in Northern California – Interview with Judi Bari

By Douglas Bevington, Summer 1993 – reprinted in The Struggle for Ecological Democracy

Douglas Bevington: Please describe the region in which you are organizing and that region’s key players. How far do your activities and influence extend?

Judi Bari: The area is the northern California red-wood region, which at this point is mostly Mendocino and Humboldt counties. It’s a big, sprawling area, rugged and sparsely populated. There are only 80,000 people in Mendocino County, where I live, and there are no large towns, no urban centers. Humboldt is a little different be-cause they have a university, Humboldt State, and a large town, Eureka. Both counties are rural impoverished areas. Our county governments are broke. They are closing down libraries and cutting back on police. Because of this, and because of the lack of urban influence, there is kind of a “wild West” mentality. There are some towns—Whitethorn and Covelo come to mind—that are virtually lawless areas, over two hours’ drive from the nearest sheriff’s deputy.

There are three main corporations in the redwood region. Louisiana Pacific (L-P) is the biggest redwood landowner, with 500,000 acres spread over the entire area. Tied for second are Georgia-Pacific (G-P), which owns 200,000 acres in Mendocino County, and MAXXAM, which owns 200,000 acres in Humboldt.
L-P has been around since 1975, and they’ve been liquidating ever since they’ve been here. Last year, they even admitted that 90 percent of their marketable trees in this county have already been cut. They are a cut-and-run company and they are almost done. G-P has been here a little longer. G-P has just one big sawmill and it’s still running. But most of their timberlands have been clearcut. They are about 70 percent done, so it’s just a matter of time.

MAXXAM is probably the best known of the three companies, mostly because of its outrageous financial practices. The 200,000 acres now owned by MAXXAM used to be owned by Pacific Lumber Co. (PALCO), a 120-year-old locally owned company, one of the oldest in the area. PALCO didn’t clearcut, and they had the closest thing to sustainable logging practices around. Because of this, they have the most old growth left. They have the best of what is left in the world. But in 1986, MAXXAM Chairman Charles Hurwitz, a corporate raider from Texas, took over PALCO in a forced junk bond buy-out scheme and then tripled the cut of old-growth redwood to pay off their junk bonds. This area has had pretty much a singular economy based on timber. Many of the logging families here go back five generations. Everybody knows each other, everybody grew up together and often are related to each other. It’s hard to understand the phenomenon of the company town until you live in one. King Timber controls all aspects of the society—the jobs, the schools, the hospital, the newspaper, and the police.

This singular economy and isolated rural culture got interrupted around 1970, when the back-to-the-land hippies moved in with their politically sophisticated, radical urban culture. What the hippies do for a living is grow the best marijuana in the world. In the mid-1980s, they actually included marijuana in the agricultural report of Mendocino County and found that it was the biggest cash crop, bigger than timber. This gives people a way to live in this area without being economically dependent on timber. Because timber is such a fluctuating market of booms and busts, during the low periods it is the marijuana money that keeps the towns going. Garberville, in southern Humboldt County, is probably the best-known local town built up with marijuana money. Many early growers used their money to open “legitimate” businesses. As the hippies gained economic influence, they also gained political influence, including passing voter referendums on local issues and electing candidates to the Board of Supervisors.

So, we basically have a bipolar social situation, with the hippies and the loggers. Of course, there are other social/cultural groups in our community, including Mexicans, Indians, fishermen, etc. But the main players in the Timber Wars are the hippies, the loggers, and, of course, the big timber corporations.

The Foundations of Future Forestry - Interview with Judi Bari

There are two, slightly different versions of this interview, neither of which are complete, so we are treating them as separate documents. The other version, The Shit Raiser Speaks is also featured in this library.

Interview by Chris Carlsson and Med-O - Industrial Worker, December 1992.

Judi Bari was bombed by persons unknown just prior to the beginning of Redwood Summer 1990 and is currently. plaintiff to a case against the FBl for their lack of effort regarding her attempted assassination. This interview was conducted by Chris Carlson in April '92 at Judi's home in Mendocino County, California.

Chris Carlson: one of the things we like to talk about a lot is the question of identity. How many people, when you ask them "who are you?" will tell you about their jobs, or how many will tell you about something they really care about?

Judi Bari: Most people tell you their job, I think.

Chris Carlson: Yeah I guess most people assume you are expected to answer with what you do for a living. But I find that almost everybody that I talk to for a little longer actually has something else that they do. Whether they're an organizer, a musician, a wind surfer, they define their life with an outside activity. And that's really a healthy response to the work-all-day life. Why should you put your identity and your soul into this godawful miserable experience? It's already bad enough getting this measly shit money out of it.

Judi Bari: Well I guess I did when I was working because I proudly identified with the struggle. I had a bumper sticker that said "POW: Post office Worker." I proudly identified both with the job and the fact that we were resisting on that job. I think that's one of the ways for people to identify with the jobs even in a shitty society.

Chris Carlson: As a resistor?

Judi Bari: Yeah I never had a bumper sticker that said "Kiss me I'm a carpenter" but I did have one that said Post Office Worker...

Chris Carlson: Isn't there a spontaneous critique of capitalist "efficiency" in various forms of sabotage? Can you see thatleading to a broader vision of a world worth working for?

Judi Bari: I think that the machinery to a factory worker is just so alienating, that it's just a natural instinct to destroy it. It would take a lot more than destroying machinery here and there, it would take political organization, that's the problem. People are always gonna trash machinery though, no matter what. If you work on machinery like that, it's really a natural experience, this isn't a question of "are you an evil radical in your factory, and do you sabotage--" Any industrial job I've ever worked at, I imagine it's the same in the technocratic-industrial jobs, people spontaneously fuck things up. It's like the only rebellion you have. It's not organized resistance, it's just gut level rejection. Sometimes it's a way to get a break, like if you throw pieces of pallet into the conveyer belt, the thing will break and they'll have to come fix it end you can wait.

An Open Letter to Loggers

By Ernie Pardini - Anderson Valley Advertiser, August 12, 1992.

Since I've "come out of the closet" so to speak, on my views concerning the timber industry, I've encountered an influx of misconceptions about the premise of my beliefs and about where my loyalties lie. I think it time to clear up some of the disinformation and clarify my stand on the issues involved.

First of all, a commonly asked question is "have you joined up with the environmentalists?" The answer is Yes. I have been meeting, along with several other timber industry people, with members of the environmental movement, to work as a group in a joint effort to secure the future of the timber industry in this area. Some of the issues being discussed are:

  • Corporate over harvesting--Ways to curb harvests so that we can minimize the coming lull in the logging industry due to long term recovery of vast areas of clearcut timberland.
  • Keeping timberland as timberland--Exercising our influence to insure that large corporate landholdings are not developed or subdivided into parcels that would convert it's main use to something other than timber production.
  • Alternative related industry--working to come up with alternative wood markets which are compatible with resource management and that would provide employment for laid off timber workers in similar and related fields.
  • Grant Research--exploring the possibilities of government funding to aid in the startup of timber-related industries which would help finance small businesses.
  • Uniting timber workers in an association of some sort that would strengthen their voice on issues of employment, pay scales, political action, local legislation, etc.

I have found the members of the environmental movement to be very willing to compromise for the benefit of the timber workers and very sympathetic to their plight. Even to the extent of expending their own energies to improve working conditions and provide alternate means of employment. They are not against the use of forest resources, simply against the abuse of same. They certainly offer more compassion than do the corporate heads who are really responsible for the industry recession.

Judi Bari interviews Louisiana Pacific Mill Workers

Transcript of a KZYX FM radio interview; Reprinted in August 1992 issue of the Industrial Worker.

Mill workers Don Beavers and Randy Veach have worked in the non-union Louisiana Pacific mill in Ukiah for 15 and 14 years, respectively. This KZYX FM radio interview with Judi Bari took place a few days after they publicly criticized the company for safety violations in the local media.

Judi Bari: I think a lot of people listening have never worked in a plant anything like L-P. Could you start by describing what it's like to work there?

Don Beavers: First of all, we're Graders, so it's our job to grade the lumber. We stand up all day, we breathe sawdust and dirt all day--it comes off the lumber. About every 2 seconds we have to turn over a board and grade it...

Randy Veach: ...as it's coming down the chain, it's constantly moving.

Don Beavers: It continually moves. It doesn't stop. They put in some new machinery a few years back and so now we not only have to turn over one board and grade it, but we have to split that board sometimes and put two grades on one board with trim marks and all kinds of stuff. So we don't have a whole lot of time to do this...

Randy Veach: ...but we're expected to do it...

Don Beavers: ...and on top of that they change our marks and make new grades for us all the time, and they don't give us time to get used to this, they don't do anything but speed it up.

Randy Veach: You're expected to do exactly what they tell you to do without any argument.

Don Beavers: All the time, for eight hours a day, five days a week, day in and day out, every minute standing up working...turning lumber over, grading it.

Judi Bari: And they have bells for when you start, when you take your break and stuff...

Don Beavers: Whistles.

Randy Veach: ....or whistles, I mean really, a lot of people haven't experienced this kind of thing since elementary school, and I guess L-P is a little like elementary school in a lot of ways, but just presume you're talking to somebody that has no experience with this.

Don Beavers: No, I would say more like boot camp.

Randy Veach: Yeah, that's probably a better description.

Judi Bari: A bunch of elementary school kids in boot camp.

Don Beavers: We're expected to be at our work stations exactly when that whistle blows.

Randy Veach: We were late one time by 3 seconds to be at our work stations. This is a true story too. And we were told not to be late any more. And I was 15 feet from where I was supposed to be and I was on my way walking there... and the machine wasn't even running.... We get yelled at for things that are totally made up. The foreman looks for ridiculous things to yell at us for.

Don Beavers: And he apparently seems to enjoy it, that's why he does it.

Randy Veach: Exactly, it's his head trip, he enjoys yelling at people that's why he's a foreman.

Don Beavers: That's what they want, really. I guess.

Randy Veach: That's right. They intimidate the workers by fear and that's why they have him there. Everybody around here is so afraid that if something gets crossed up ...lumber gets crossed up... they will try to fix it without stopping the machine for fear of being yelled at by the foreman if they do not stop the machine. It's a constant environment of fear, totally.

Taking Back the Woods: Judi Bari Interviews Ernie Pardini

Judi Bari Interviews Ernie Pardini on KZYX FM in Philo, reprinted in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, July 29, 1992 and Timber Wars, © 1994 Common Courage Press.

Judi Bari: I want to start by you talking a little about who you are. What's your background, how long have you been in this county, how long you've been logging?

Ernie Pardini: Let's see--how old am I? I was born and raised here. My great-grandparents came here from Italy. They actually moved to Navarro during a logging boom, and built a hotel there in the days of the boom. But my family's been in the logging business in some capacity or another ever since, and I've been logging since I was 17. I'm 37 now, so that puts 20 years behind me. I am currently a licensed timber operator.

Judi Bari: And just so the listeners will know who they're listening to, everybody knows that the timber operator at the Albion cut is Pardini, so what relationship to you is the Pardini in Albion?

 Ernie Pardini: Well, that's my uncle. He just happened to be the unlucky guy who got the bid.

Judi Bari: And are you currently employed?

Ernie Pardini: I'm self employed right now. I'm starting a fledgling, struggling business. It's logging in a sense--I do some commercial logging. Probably by now it's clear that I won't do a job that's not in line with having timber in the future to log on that some piece of property. But I'm not against logging. Logging has to be done and should be done, I feel, but in a conscionable manner. And that's my complaint with the corporations, that they're not doing that.

Judi Bari: In your article in the Anderson Valley Advertiser a couple of weeks ago, you said you left the area for a while, and when you came back you saw things that opened your eyes. Could you describe that?

Ernie Pardini: Yes, I could. The business that I'm in now requires that I'm out and about a lot. I see a lot of country, a lot of the woods. And when I got back from New York--I was there for four and a half years--I found myself in areas that I had logged 10 years previously, when I worked for Masonite, on Masonite lands at the time, which are now L-P lands for the most part. And I saw areas that were logged when I was actively involved with Masonite that had been re-logged--and when I say re-logged I mean re-logged, there was nothing left but stumps and tan oak scrub--with entire new road systems cut in on steep ground, across the roads that we used when we were in there, which wasn't necessary as far as I could see. There's no logical reason for that, but it was done. This one job that sticks out in my mind looked like a checkerboard effect--it was skid roads this way and skid roads that way. And no trees. I thought, well maybe that's an isolated case, and then as I saw more and more of the corporate lands I saw more and more that it wasn't an isolated case--that there is very, very little timber out there on corporation lands.

What the L-P Memos Really Mean

By Judi Bari - Anderson Valley Advertiser, June 10, 1992 - Reprinted in Timber Wars, © 1994 Common Courage Press.

During last week's courtroom drama over the Albion logging protests, I attempted to testify about the L-P Memos. These memos, sent by L-P top-level executive Bob Morris to L-P president Harry Merlo, show the seedy underside of this depraved corporation's local practices. I say that I attempted to testify because L-P lawyer Cindee Mayfield objected to every word out of my mouth, and Judge Luther upheld most of her objections. No way did they want this information out on the streets. But that's why we have the AVA. So, Judge Luther, this is what I would have said if you had let me testify.

The L-P Memos were leaked to the press last January. They are a series of memos written over a three-year period from 1988 to 1991 in which L-P Western Division Resource Manager Bob Morris becomes increasingly critical of Harry Merlo's business practices, until Harry finally fires him. At the time the memos became public, there was much oohing and aching over the fact that L-P insiders were shown admitting privately what they were denying publicly: that L-P has vastly overcut the forest in the redwood region. But that's about as deep as the analysis of these memos ever went, and that's only half the story. The L-P memos are not environmental documents. They are economic documents, and they show that Harry was in it up to his ears.

The very first memo, titled "Long-Term Timber Purchase Agreement," describes a plan for Harry Merlo to pull off a private takeover of L-P similar to the MAXXAM takeover of Pacific Lumber. The plan was devised by Morris at Merlo's request. It called for Merlo to buy out part of L-P's Western Division, so that ownership would go to Harry Merlo as an individual, instead of the L-P stockholders as a public group. Apparently Harry was not satisfied with being president, CEO and chairman of the board of L-P. He wanted it all.

The takeover plan called for Harry to buy off the sawmills while leaving the timberlands to the stockholders. This would be easy to pull off, speculates Morris, because the stockholders will think they're getting the good end of the deal by keeping the timberlands, and will therefore sell the sawmills off for cheap. of course, as in all sleazy business deals, they would have to move quickly once they got their ducks in a row. otherwise an outsider (known as a "white knight" in corporate takeover parlance) could come in and snatch up Harry's deal by offering the stockholders more money. As Morris puts it: "The timing of a management-led buyout must be of short duration. It will focus attention on the company and this, coupled with our liquidity and low debt position, may attract outside participants."

"Objection!" piped up Cindee Mayfield when I got this far in my court testimony. "The witness cannot prove that this takeover plan was ever implemented." Naturally Judge Luther upheld the objection and I never got a chance to finish. But this is the whole point of the L-P Memos. Morris' disillusionment with L-P came as he watched Merlo set the stage for such a takeover, even though the final step of the buyout was never taken.

Breaking Ranks

By Ernie Pardini - Anderson Valley Advertiser, July 1992; Reprinted in the Industrial Worker, November 1992.

Hello, my name is Ernie Pardini. Before I get started with what I came here to say to all of you, I think it only fair that I tell you a little bit about myself. First of all, Logging is a tradition that goes back through 5 generations of my family. I am a licensed Timber Operator - that makes me a logger. I also have a passionate love for natural beauty that God has surrounded me with, and an unfaltering desire to see it perpetuated, able to sustain itself throughout eternity. That makes me an environmentalist. I'm not here to represent either group individually, but both together, as a whole, as children of one family, those of the Planet Earth.

I.ve spent the last couple of years in what may have seemed to a lot of people a state of indifferent neutrality where the environmentalists vs. timber industry issue is concerned. I've observed factions of both sides do everything humanly possible to swing public opinion in their direction. From employing conventional legal actions, to slinging slanderous accusations with no hard evidence to back them. With all their efforts, very little has been accomplished by either side except to divide the co-inhabitants of an otherwise compatible and caring and peaceful community. I didn't come here with the intentions of making enemies, though some of what I have to say may offend some people. As a lot of you know my uncle's logging company is directly involved in the Enchanted Meadow operation. I will defend to the end his ability and conscience where logging is concerned, though I disagree with the overharvesting done by L-P, I know that my uncle's company will see that it's done in a manner that is environmentally sound as possible under the circumstances.

Even so, my standing with him will be strained at best when this day is finished. But I accept this, because I feel that what I have to say is important.

Why I Hate The Government

By Judi Bari - Industrial Worker, October 1991.

I hate the government, and I've never had any faith in working through the system. My 20 years of political activism have all been out on the front linesfrom anti-war riots to wildcat strikes to Earth First! logging blockades. I know the history of violent repression of the Wobblies the Communists, the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement. But nothing in my knowledge or experience could have prepared me for the sheer horror of being bombed and maimed while organizing against big timber last year. And I never thought I would be doing something as grandiose and apparently ingenious as suing the FBI. But neither did I expect to find our movement under attack by a COINTELPRO-type operation led by Richard Held, the very same FBI/Gestapo agent who framed and jailed Leonard Pettier and Geronimo Pratt.

Richard Held is the head of the San Francisco FBI office. He is the agent in charge of my and Darryl's case, and he went on TV after the bombing to say that Darryl and I were the only suspects in the assassination attempt that nearly took my life. Held became notorious during the 1970s for his active role in COINTELPRO, an outrageous and illegal FBI program to disrupt and destroy any group that challenged the power that be. COINTELPRO's method was to foment internal discord in activist groups, isolate and discredit them, terrorize them, and assassinate their leaders. The best known example of this was Black Panther Fred Hampton, who was murdered by Chicago police in an FBI-planned assault as he slept in his bed in a Chicago apartment in 1969.

Richard Held's personal role in COINTELPRO began in L.A. in the early 1970s, where he ordered the FBI to draw and send insulting cartoons, supposedly from one faction to another in the L.A. Black Panthers. This heated up antagonisms between the factions so much that, with a little help from FBI infiltrators, they erupted into shooting wars that left two Panthers dead. Richard Held also sent fake info to the press to discredit actress and Panther supporter Jean Seberg, who eventually committed suicide as a result. Held's final coup in L.A. was to frame and jail Geronimo Pratt for supposedly murdering two people on a tennis court over a petty robbery.

Held was also on hand in Pine Ridge South Dakota in 1975 to help direct the FBI's reign of terror against the American Indian Movement. In this case the FBI took advantage of existing divisions in the native community to hook up with a vigilante group called GOONS, or Guardians of the Oglala Nation. These local thugs were armed by the FBI and guaranteed that they would not be prosecuted for crimes against AIM members. They attacked over 300 AIM people and killed 70 of them. The Pine Ridge campaign ended with a military sweep of the reservation by 200 SWAT agents, and with the framing and jailing of Leonard Peltier.

Another of Richard Held's accomplishments was in San Diego, where he was instrumental in organizing an FBI-funded right-wing paramilitary group called the Secret Army organization (SAO). The SAO kept tabs on leftists, burned down a community theater, and tried to assassinate a radical professor at San Diego State University.

In 1978 Richard Held was transferred to Puerto Rico where he oversaw the execution of two Independista leaders who were made to kneel, then shot in the head. Held stayed on until 1985, when he stage managed an island-wide SWAT assault by 300 agents who busted in doors and rounded up activists.

For all his good work, Richard Held was then promoted to be in charge of the San Francisco FBI, where he still works today. And I don't know if the FBI put that bomb in my car, but I know for certain that they tried to frame me for it and made sure the real bomber wasn't found. Looking back on the bizarre events that took place around the bombing, it is now clear that the techniques of COINTELPRO were being used against us. What is not clear, based on the way this story has played in the mainstream press, is what we were doing to merit the wrath of such a notorious assassin as Richard Held. You can be sure that it was more than just trying to save some pretty trees.

Last Ditch Logging

By Judi Bari - Anderson Valley Advertiser, July 10, 1991, Reprinted in Timber Wars, © 1994 Common Courage Press.

One thing about working in the woods in Mendocino County is that there just isn't much wood left. The once mighty old growth is gone, and even decent second growth is getting hard to find. You can see how a logger in Humboldt or Del Norte could be fooled into believing there is enough forest left to sustain this logging assault. But here in Mendo(cino) County, the land of the baby redwood, it's getting harder and harder for the loggers to ignore what they're seeing with their own eyes.

"I can't live here anymore. I've seen too much of the woods destroyed," a twenty-year veteran Mendo(cino)logger told me. "It's a paradox. You love the wood, you're with it all day, and you're killing it." A younger woods worker, born and raised in Mendo(cino) County, says he's "fed up with doing the damage. It's not right. That's why so many loggers are drunk. It's not natural to whack up that much shit in one day."

It's not easy for a logger to admit that his job is destroying the forest, and the fact that a few are beginning to come forward and do so is an indication of how bad things really are out there. Unlike mill workers, and unlike most industrial workers, loggers have a legendary pride in their occupation. "The whole idea of being a logger," says one of my sources, "is that it's not something you do, it's Something you are. While you're out there, your cursing it. It's 100°, there's flies, there's mosquitoes, there's dust and dirt all over the place, and those chokers are heavy. But it's a good job for someone who likes to work."

 A choker setter is the perfect example of that, After the trees are felled, his job is to scramble up and down the hillsides carrying up to 100 pounds of metal cables, which he wraps around the cut trees so they can be hauled in to the landing. He has to dodge moving equipment, trees and cables to do it. For this he gets paid $9 or $10 an hour, and most local gyppo companies work a ten-hour day. Equipment operators get up to $13 an hour, and fallers get paid piece work, usually amounting to $150 or $200 a day, out of which they must buy and maintain their own equipment.

L-P has never had union loggers in this county, but G-P loggers used to be covered by the IWA union contract. "Back then we did pretty good," said an ex-union faller. "We got an hourly wage plus a production bonus." But in 1985 IWA union rep Don Nelson agreed to a contract that cut out the woods workers from union protection, and now all the loggers in Mendo(cino) County work for gyppo firms. L-P and G-P contract out to the gyppos, and the job goes to the low bidder who is willing to cut the most corners. Competition among the gyppos is intense, and the corners they cut include quality of logging, equipment maintenance, wages, and worker safety.

Logging is the most dangerous job in the U.S., according to the U.S. Labor Dept. The death rate among loggers is 129 per 100.000 employees, compared with 37.5 for miners. Charlie Hiatt's father, Kay Hiatt, was killed in a logging accident when a stump rolled down a hill and crushed him. His son-in-law had his back run over by a loader. "I've been hit over the head by trees four or five times, twice without a hard-hat," one choker setter told me. "once I got hit in the face by a cable," says a logger, "I woke up two days later."

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