Harry Frankel

LaGuardia Denounced by TWU Convention

(28 September 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 40, 4 October 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

NEW YORK, Sept. 28: – The reactionary open-shop policies of Mayor LaGuardia and the New York Board of Transportation were roundly condemned by the third biennial convention of the Transport Workers Union here in New York this week. The 250 delegates present heard Allan S. Haywood, national director of the CIO, speaking on the opening day of the convention, Sept. 24, accuse the LaGuardia administration of “the most brazen and outrageous attempts to break a labor union that I have ever witnessed in my long career as a labor leader.”

Michael J. Quill, international president of the union, repeated the charge, while Joseph Curran, president of the Greater New York Industrial Union Council; hinted a reprisal against the La Guardia administration in the municipal elections this November.

A report submitted by the international executive committee arid accepted by the convention stated that the city had failed to deal with the union in good faith. This was a reference to the long struggle of the 32,000 transport workers of New York to force the city to recognize the union and bargain with it on wages, hours and working conditions of the employees of the recently unified lines.

The action of the convention of the Transport Workers Union will undoubtedly help to put a crimp into LaGuardia’s pose as the “labor candidate” in the coming mayoralty election.

LaGuardia has been endorsed for re-election by both wings of the American Labor Party in New York. But the endorsement of a thousand labor parties could never serve to cover up his brutal attack on the rights and interests of the workers on the city-owned transit lines. These workers will contrast the treatment given them with the gentle and considerate handling of the interests of the former owners of the city subways. That will be enough to teach them what La Guardia really stands for.

While Quill and the other leaders of the Union stated clearly and explicitly the attitude of the transport workers of New York toward the LaGuardia administration, they were not nearly so clear and explicit when it came to recommending a political solution to the convention.

It is to be remembered that these union heads have given the weight of their backing and support to the so-called left-wing of the American Labor Party in New York City. This group has officially endorsed the Mayor for re-election. Are we to expect then that Quill and the others will withdraw their support of the left wing of the A.L.P.? That would be the only path consistent with their condemnation of LaGuardia’s labor policies, but their record leads us to expect that they will not take it. To throw a scare into a capitalist politician around election time for the purpose of a few concessions is one thing, to leave all boss candidates behind and organize truly independent working class political action is another.

The only party which exposes the machinations of the LaGuardia administration with its open-shop transportation board and runs a working class candidate of its own for mayor in the fall elections is the Socialist Worker Party. The candidate of that party is James P. Cannon, the Trotskyist Anti-War candidate.

Last updated on 23 March 2019