December 19, 1998
Kaiser infiltrated by one sly 'spy'
Environmentalist goes undercover
by Hannelore Sudermann -- The Spokesman-Review
Spokane _ An environmentalist has been working undercover at Kaiser
Aluminum plants until this week.
Mikal Jakubal, said he's 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, Jakubal, 35, walked out of the
Trentwood plant Thursday to greet a waiting group of pickets.
This is the second time he's exposed himself as a spy at Kaiser.
Just a few weeks ago, after working at the Tacoma smelter, Jakubal 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.
Jakubal, an environmental activist from Humboldt County, Calif., 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
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 Jakubal 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."
Jakubal said he earned $1,000 to $1,100 a week for working there and has
not yet received his pay from Trentwood.
He said he has long fought the activities of Pacific Lumber Co., which is
owned by Maxxam Corp., Kaiser's 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."
Jakubal 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 Jakubal was working at Trentwood, auditors from Boeing, one of
Kaiser's 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.
Jakubal 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.
Return to Home