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Jack Ranger

Tobin Urges Locals to Hire
Some Statisticians

His Answer to Offensive of Employers Is
Counterattack – With Convincing Figures

(4 April 1942)

From The Militant, Vol. 6 No. 14, 4 April 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – President Daniel J. Tobin, dictator of the AFL Teamsters International, has proposed a brilliant substitute for such union weapons as strikes and picket lines.

“To prepare for a new era in labor relations when all strikes may be virtually outlawed,” according to the March issue of the AFL Teamsters’ monthly magazine, Tobin “advises every district organization of Teamsters in the country to employ a first-class statistician in order properly to present its demands before arbitration boards.” Tobin, like his fellow, bureaucrats in the top leadership of the AFL and the CIO, long ago “outlawed” the strike weapon within his own organization, acting as policeman for the government and the bosses to prevent drivers from striking in defense of their wages and conditions.

A Rotten Substitute

In recent months the employers have taken advantage of the rubber shortage to lay off thousands of drivers and to violate their union agreements. The ranks of the Teamsters Union are becoming restless and are demanding action against the chiseling bosses. But Tobin has handcuffed the unions by his no-strike policy.

Forced to give some answer to the membership, Tobin hands them a stone – the proposal that they hire “statisticians” to argue their demands, before “arbitration ‘boards.”

To justify this proposal Tobin claims that “victory” in the recent arbitration of the over-the-road contract covering Midwest drivers “was obtained principally through the efforts of the statistical department recently created by the International.”

However, the fact is that the over the road contract, which expired last Nov. 15, has not been settled yet, and is still before the War Labor Board.

There is nothing wrong with union negotiators having at their finger-tips statistical information to support their demands for wage increases, etc. But classy statistics, no matter how good, are not sufficient to defend workers’ rights. If statistics are enough, then workers would not require picket lines or strikes, or even unions, to enforce their demands.

Unfortunately, employers and government labor boards are not impressed with statistics. The main thing that impresses them about Tobin’s unions is that Tobin has assured the government that he will lie down and roll over for them, and that he won’t permit his membership to strike. The bosses and the boss-dominated war labor boards only laugh at unions who can’t fight for their rights, no matter how brilliant a case a union statistician can make out for the workers’ demands.

“Anti-Aircraft Guns”

Tobin’s lieutenants throughout the country are trying to sell the membership on the Tobin substitute for the strike weapon. “Employers who enter into negotiations with Iowa Teamster organizations in the not-too-distant future,” threatens. Ray Mills, president of the Des Moines Teamsters Joint Council (in the March 19 issue of the Des Moines Federationist), “may find themselves matching wits with union representatives who know as much, if not more, about their business affairs than they do themselves ... The statisticians are our ‘anti-aircraft guns’ set up to shoot down all the usual high-flying claims of the employers.”

That expert statisticians do NOT provide the answer to the needs of the drivers is revealed by Tobin himself, who complains bitterly in the same issue of his magazine of “unpatriotic employers (who are) attempting to increase their personal profits through the rubber emergency,” and of “certain employers (who) are conspiring to take advantage of the no-strike policy of the Teamsters’ Union In order to breach contracts.”

What the hell, Tobin! Call out your statisticians! Prove to the employers that they can’t do that!

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Last updated: 11 April 2022