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Joseph Keller

Trade Union Notes

(16 March 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 11, 16 March 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Have You Contributed to Aid the GM Strike?

The bitterest and most significant strike struggle in American labor history – the heroic General Motors strike – is being prolonged by the corporation in hopes of starving out the strikers and forcing them to accede to the company’s terms.

Last week, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., the billionaire munitions and chemical trust known as the. “Merchants of Death,” issued its annual report showing an admitted 1945 net profit of $77,600,000. Of this, the report discloses, $28,030,086 represents income on General Motors stock “after taxes and applicable expenses.” The du Ponts control almost a fourth of GM common stock and have the controlling interest.

The valuation of du Pont holdings in GM is $254,000,000 – which means that the du Ponts last year got a return on their investment of 11 per cent. This is a phenomenal rate of profit even if we discount the inflation of stock values.

All this wealth was squeezed out of the GM workers by parasite stockholders who actually didn’t invest one tenth of the value of their present claimed GM holdings in the corporation.

Will these billionaire parasites now force the GM workers to accept onerous terms of settlement through the weapon of starvation? The answer is up to the entire labor movement.

A National Committee to Aid Families of GM Strikers has been formed, with headquarters at 212 E. 49th Street, New York 17, N.Y. Speed funds to aid the GM strikers NOW!


A Stab-in-the-Back to the GM Strike

Anyone really concerned with the welfare of the General Motors strikers could only praise such a demonstration of labor solidarity as the contribution of $500,000 to the GM strike fund by the AFL International Ladies Garment Workers Union. This column last week hailed this magnificent contribution by the ILGWU.

The Daily Worker, organ of the Communist (Stalinist) Party, instead of warmly greeting the ILG aid to the GM strike, used it as an occasion to launch a slanderous attack on ILGWU President David Dubinsky and Walter Reuther, leader of the GM strike. This attack, published March 1, attempted to belittle and discredit the contribution of the AFL garment workers to the GM strikers. It was written by George Morris, Daily Worker hatchet-man.

The chief intent of the article is to smear Reuther, who has opposed the Stalinists in the UAW, by linking him through the ILG contribution to Dubinsky, who in turn is linked by a fantastic slander to none other than the “anti-Semitic radio priest Fascist Father Charles Coughlin.”

Morris’ article shows how blinded the Stalinists are by factional frenzy. Every assistance to the GM strike is viewed by them only as aiding the position and prestige of Reuther, against whom they are conducting an hysterical campaign of vilification. The Stalinist leaders would rather see the GM strike weakened and undermined than have an opponent of theirs in the labor movement get credit for any contribution to labor’s interests.

We hold no brief for Dubinsky’s or Reuther’s politics and union policies. But the Stalinists descend to the lowest depths of unprincipled factionalism when they throw mud at the splendid contribution of the ILGWU members to the GM strike. This could only operate to discourage similar contributions from other organizations and is a stab-in-the-back to the GM strike.

And this comes on top of the sneaky, back-room settlement made by Stalinist leaders of the CIO United Electrical Union in the recent strike of 30,000 UE workers in GM’s Electrical Division. The exceptional maliciousness of the attack on the ILGWU’s aid to the GM strike is no doubt inspired in part by the Stalinists’ desire to divert attention from their own treachery.


Labor Solidarity

An example of the labor solidarity being inspired by the GM strike is the action of the New York Branch of the AFL Seafarers International Union in voting $1,000 to aid the GM strikers and pledging an additional $100 weekly for the duration of the strike. The latter pledge was made “retroactive” to February 1.

Not only labor organizations, but other progressive-minded groups are rallying behind the GM strike. Last week the National Farmers Union pledged a contribution of $25,000.

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