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Cleveland W.P.A. Strike Growing

(July 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 52, 21 July 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

CLEVELAND, O., July 17 – Ranks of the W.P.A. strikers are slowly swelling here as resentment against the Roosevelt pay-cut and dismissal drive mounts. At least 2,000 skilled workers are out, and several thousand unskilled workers.

As yet, however, only a small fraction of the 47,000 W.P.A. workers here are involved, due largely to the failure of the A.F.L. to raise demands for the unskilled laborers, and to the failure of the C.I.O. and Workers Alliance to support the strike.

Over 35,000 W.P.A. workers have been fired here in the past 6 months, only a few hundred of these dismissed W.P.A. workers have received private employment, while the relief load remains about 18,000.

W.P.A. officials announced Saturday that 1,000 pink dismissal slips have been sent to strikers. Eight thousand additional lay-offs are starting to-day under the 18 months clause.

The C.I.O. and Workers Alliance held a mass meeting on the W.P.A. crisis last Friday afternoon in the Public Square. About 1,000 workers participated, who heard from the lips of the Stalinist speakers not a fighting call to support their working class brothers on strike, but open sanction to scab the strike under the guise of simply doing their duty through a one-day “protest.”

Arnold Johnson, chairman of the Ohio Workers Alliance, reached the low-point of his plenty low career, when he branded as a “lie” the story printed in every paper in the U.S. that Roosevelt had condemned the strike.

The Cleveland branch of the S.W.P. is putting out a series of bulletins to the W.P.A. workers on how to win the strike and restore the hourly rates and jobs. The branch is putting forth the demand for joint action between the A.F.L., C.I.O. and independent unemployed organizations and the issuance of a general strike call, organization of picket lines to shut the projects down and spread the strike, and the incorporation of demands for the unskilled workers.

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