Art Preis Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Joseph Keller

Trade Union Notes

(1 June 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 22, 1 June 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Murray’s Complaints About Congress

In his concluding speech at the recent CIO Steelworkers convention, Philip Murray, the union’s president, complained that Congress “has hot adopted a single piece of constructive legislation since the year 1937.” For the last nine years, he said, “labor has been fighting with its back to the wall.”

Without realizing it perhaps, Murray in these words voiced a terrible indictment against the traditional policies on political action pursued by himself and the rest of the present trade union leadership.

Since 1933, the Congress majority has been Democratic. In general, this majority was sustained through the influence of the late President Roosevelt. Every national election, the union leaders told the workers to go out and vote for “friends of labor” from the Democratic Party.

Now we have the admission from Murray that the results of this policy of supporting capitalist “friends of labor” through five national elections has been to maintain a Congress that has done not one thing for labor In nine years – and done everything possible for Big Business.

Murray again proposes campaigning for “substantial, progressive, liberal-minded officers in the elections coming up this year” – so long as they are Democrats or Republicans. Against this bankrupt policy, the trade union militants must counterpose effective labor political action – the formation of a genuine independent labor party which will fight to put real labor candidates in Congress.

* * *

Big Ford Local 600 Backs Miners’ Fight

CIO United Auto Workers Local 600, representing 65,000 workers in the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge plant, on May 19 issued a resolution through its executive board calling for support of the coal miners and their wage and welfare demands.

The resolution states that “the real issues of the coal strike are being obscured by the press of the country – namely, that coal miners need a wage increase, health security and that all labor must support them.” It calls on the government “to make the coal operators grant a health and welfare fund to the miners.”

This pledge of solidarity, which undoubtedly reflects the sentiments of all the auto workers, should be emulated by every Section of the CIO. The unprecedentedly savage drive of Big Business and the government against the miners and rail workers is aimed in reality against the entire labor movement.

* * *

CIO Organizing Atom-Bomb Plant

The great atom bomb plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, “is now the first major concentration point in the CIO’s southern organizing campaign,” reports the May CIO News.

“A corps of CIO organisers, veterans of both World War II and other CIO organizing drives are already in the city,” the CIO News reveals. There are 40,000 workers in the massive plants. These workers, who produced the most destructive weapon of all time, work under abominable conditions. They are fired without cause and without regard to seniority. Wage rates vary, from worker to worker, from 12 cents to $1.02 an hour for those in the same building doing the same work.

When World War II ended, says CIO News, “it also became apparent to the workers that their rights within the giant plants were being reduced almost as swiftly as the atomic bomb had reduced the two Japanese cities.”

Preis Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 24 December 2018