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Joseph Keller

United Labor Conference
Urged by UAW Officers

Seek Joint Action Program to Fight Anti-Union Drive

(8 June 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 23, 8 June 1946, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A proposal for a national united labor conference of all unions, AFL, CIO and Railroad Brotherhoods, to initiate joint action against enactment of anti-labor legislation by Congress and President Truman, was announced on May 27 in Detroit by CIO United Automobile Workers President Walter P. Reuther. This proposal, Reuther stated, is backed by the top officers of the UAW-CIO.

This is the most positive answer that has yet come from any American union leaders in response to the urgent demand from labor’s ranks for effective united action to beat back the increasingly violent anti-labor offensive of Big Business and its government. This offensive has been climaxed by Truman’s call for a draft-strikers law and Congressional passage of the infamous Case Union-Busting Bill.

Foreseeing the tremendous struggle impending at the very start of the Big Business-government drive against labor after V-J Day, The Militant last September 15, 1945, first urged:

“Right now one of the most reactionary Congresses in American history is debating problems affecting the destinies of scores of millions. These millions have no genuine voice in the legislative halls and no means of bringing direct immediate and concentrated pressure to bear. The obvious and crying need is for the mobilization of organized labor’s power in Washington through a National Labor Congress representing every union local and labor body in the United States.”

On September 15, 1945, the UAW General Motors delegates conference in Detroit adopted a resolution urging the International Union to initiate a Congress of Labor. This proposal was not seriously pressed at the time. Events of the past few weeks in connection with the breaking of the railroad strike and action on the Truman and Case bills have brought the question forward with greater force than ever.

In his statement last week, Reuther said:

“The top officers of the UAW-CIO today decided to ask President Philip Murray of the CIO to take immediate steps to bring about joint action by all organized labor to prevent passage in the Senate of restrictive labor legislation proposed Saturday to Congress by President Harry S. Truman.

“Vice President Richard T. Leonard and R.J. Thomas agreed with me to ask President Murray to confer immediately with officers of the American Federation of Labor and the railroad brotherhoods to plan the calling at the earliest possible date of a national united labor conference for the specific purpose of combating President Truman’s proposals and all other restrictive legislation aimed at labor now pending in the Congress.”

Prior to Reuther’s announcement, a resolution had been adopted on May 23 by Detroit Briggs Local 212, which embodied proposals made by Emil Mazey, former Local 212 president and newly-elected member of the UAW International Executive Board. Mazey, a leading UAW militant who spoke against the no-strike pledge and for a labor party at the 1943 UAW convention, was attending his first general membership meeting since his return from Army duty in the Philippines and Okinawa.

The Militant hails the UAW’s proposal for united labor action and urges all unionists to call upon their leaders to take immediate steps for the convening of a National United Conference of Labor. United labor action is the most imperative need today in the face of the concerted attacks of Big Business and its government upon the fundamental rights of the working people.

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