Art Preis Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Joseph Keller

Trade Union Notes

(28 April 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 17, 28 April 1945, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Union Conventions

The Office of Defense Transportation’s War Committee on Conventions has denied the application of the CIO Textile Workers Union for permission to hold its fourth biennial convention, originally scheduled for May 7–11. The union is reapplying for permission to hold a convention in the fall.

The TWU’s original application pointed out that such conventions are required by the union’s constitution. “Regular conventions by labor unions constitute the assurance and preservation of the American internal democratic process.”

But the War Committee on Conventions isn’t bothered about preserving the “internal democratic process” – especially in the unions. Its action is a tip-off to the auto workers and other unions which also have filed applications for permission to hold their regular conventions this year.

The ban on union conventions comes as the rank and file workers everywhere are pressing for more aggressive policies against the wage-freeze, price inflation, cutbacks and unemployment, and the general union-busting offensive of the employers.

A lot of top union bureaucrats who are playing the bosses’ game and trying to curb the militancy of labor would secretly be very pleased if the government stepped in and denied the applications they have signed for conventions this year.

* * *

Not Closed – Yet!

We learn from the April 13 Dive Bomber, organ of Akron Local 856, CIO United Automobile Workers, that a WLB arbitrator has directed the General Tire and Rubber Company to rehire the last nine of 74 workers fired early last year after Sherman H. Dalrymple, president of the CIO United Rubber Workers, had arbitrarily expelled them from the union, Local 9, for participation in a strike.

Included in the arbitrator’s order are Raymond Sullivan and Howard Haas who were expelled by Dalrymple for helping to organize a rank and file protest movement against the original bureaucratic expulsions. The fired workers are to be rehired with full seniority – but no back pay.

The Dive Bomber states that “this famous case is now drawing to an official close.” It will not be drawn to a real close so long as Dalrymple, who continues to exercise arbitrary powers against the militant rubber workers, is heading the URW-CIO and acting as a cop for the rubber corporations against the union ranks.

* * *

Suspend Best Unionists

Resistance to the no-strike policy and anti-union company provocations is growing throughout the unions. In many instances, union officials who are more anxious to please the employers than to defend the union membership are retaliating against union militants with expulsions and suspensions.

Last week in New York City, the executive advisory board of Bakery Drivers Local 550, affiliated with Daniel J. Tobin’s AFL Teamsters, suspended six members and removed from office the shop committee at the Atlantic Avenue unit of Purity Bakeries, Inc. The “crime” of these workers was that they had refused to take out their trucks when the company fired a union shop steward in a move to undermine the union. The shop committee had then ordered a general stoppage.

The penalized workers have been denied their right to speak on the union floor and their eligibility in union elections. They are also threatened with “immediate suspension from the union” for “further violations.”

* * *

Railway Express Strike

A strike of 10,000 Railway Express Agency employees in the New York metropolitan area was authorized on April 18 at a huge mass meeting of the local Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, AFL.

The meeting was part of a one-day strike demonstration involving 5,000 workers at express terminals in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey. The union adopted a resolution demanding prompt settlement of their mounting grievances, including elimination of company practices’ causing the loss of jobs, equalization of pay, discontinuance of the company’s compulsory group insurance plan, etc.

At the meeting, Alfred J. Mazanec, general chairman of the brotherhood, announced the union would begin immediate, full preparation of strike machinery to show the company the union means business if its demands are not settled within 30 days.

Mazanec also stated the union is raising general demands on vacation schedules, seniority rights, and severance pay for men inducted into the armed forces.

“We do not intend to stand a pushing around forever,” he said. “While we are taking action to clean up the principal grievances, we’ll clean up the whole mess at one shot.”

Preis Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 6 November 2018