[MKE - Indymedia] forgotten hero
pryz1 at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 5 23:23:14 PDT 2005
June 5, 2005
Frank Wills, Watergates forgotten hero
By Stephen Millies
Ex-CIA agent James McCord didnt think he would be stopped from installing wiretaps at Democratic National Committee headquarters by an $80 per week security guard. Neither did fellow Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, a former member of CIA-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batistas secret police.
It was Frank Wills, an African American worker, who brought Richard Nixons so-called plumbers unit of thugs to a screeching halt. On June 17, 1972 Wills was making his rounds on the graveyard shift at the Watergate buildings when he gave the alarm about this break-in.
I put my life on the line. I went out of my way, Wills told a Boston Globe reporter on Watergates 25th anniversary. If it wasnt for me, Woodward and Bernstein would not have known anything about Watergate.
Journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein got $5 million from the University of Texas in 2003 for their Watergate notebooks and files. Frank Wills didnt even get a pension.
He died penniless in an Augusta, GA hospital of a brain tumor on Sept. 27, 2000. Wills couldnt afford to bury his mother. He lived in a house without lights because he wasnt able to pay the electric bill.
Wills found it hard to get a job following Watergate. One Washington area university told Wills they were afraid to hire him for fear their federal funds might be cut. Thirty years later, 48 percent of Black men in New York City can't find jobs.
Frank Wills moved back to his home state of Georgia after his mom suffered a stroke. They lived together on her $450 monthly Social Security check.
Richard Nixons ugly mug is on a postage stamp. He and his fellow war criminal Henry Kissinger made millions off their memoirs.
Nixons pit bull, Vice-President Spiro Agnew, got three years probation for evading taxes on bribes filched from highway contractors. Frank Wills was sentenced to a year in jail in 1983 for allegedly trying to shoplift a $12 pair of sneakers.
A victim of racial profiling, Wills wasnt arrested while leaving the store. He was nabbed just for putting the shoes in his bag. He wanted to surprise a friend with his gift at the check-out counter.
Frank Wills represented hundreds of thousands of low paid security guards, many of whom are African American. Increased employment in this field has gone hand-in-hand with the growing army of janitors. Both are a result of the office building construction boom.
SEIU Local 1877 is trying to organize 10,000 guards in Los Angeles. Union supporters staged a sit-in at the Wells Fargo Tower there in Sept. 2004. Several months later, with the support of Dr. Kings Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the union marched through downtown L.A.
This important struggle came out of the Justice for Janitors campaign. Los Angeles cops viciously attacked SEIU members demanding a union contract at the Century City office complex on June 15, 1990. At least 148 workers were injured, including a pregnant woman who miscarried.
Despite this police riot, janitors at Century City have a union today. These overwhelming Latin@ janitors, 98% of whom are immigrants, are now helping to get largely Black security guards a union too.
At his funeral, friends of Frank Wills recalled what a sweet, loving human being he was. He made shopping errands for elderly neighbors on a bicycle because he couldnt afford a car.
Frank Wills knocked out Nixon. Millions of Frank Willsunemployed or working at low paid jobswill be Bushs grave diggers.
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