Preaching, But Not Practicing

A moralistic letter Tom Baker wrote four years ago to Larry McKean, Boeing human resources vice president, chiding McKean for banning workers from speaking to the media, has come back to haunt the embattled machinist union president.

Championing principles of free speech, Baker advised McKean to emulate the press policy of District 751 of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers.

Wrote Baker: "Every Member of this Union is free to say anything whatsoever concerning what he or she feels about the Union or about any of its elected officials - without fear of reprisal, real or intimated."

Now copies of the letter are circulating in Boeing factories following Baker's ouster of 22 popular shop stewards who advocated union reform. Moreover, Baker has made it clear that he will cut union ties to any machinist who talks to the press without his

approval.