Martin Harvey

Chrysler Strike Leaders
in Big Sweep of
Local Union Elections

(7 August 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 32, 7 August 1944, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

DETROITThe support given by the executive board of Chrysler Local 490, UAW-CIO, to the workers in the Highland Park and other plants of the Chrysler Corporation in their recent strike was vindicated in the election just held by the union for local officers.

The old executive board, led by President William Jenkins, was swept into office by better than two to one majorities despite the high-powered campaign of the international officers of the UAW to get support for their high-handed removal of this same board sixty days ago.

Two months ago, when workers at Chrysler Highland Park had voted to strike in support of sixteen men who were fired by the company, the local union officers had backed the men to the hilt. Top UAW officials, led by R.J. Thomas and George Addes, opened a terrific barrage against the striking workers and their local officers and demanded that the men cross their own picket line. Faced with the unanimous opposition of the local, Thomas removed the entire executive board and placed an administrator over the local – the infamous Leo Lamotte, Chrysler director of the union.

Drub “No-Strike” Supporters

During the two months that the administrator controlled the local, every attempt was made to discredit the old local officers. In the election, three slates were in the field against the Jenkins slate – but the local members demonstrated their good sense by snowing them all under. With the exception of two trustees who did not run, the former officers were returned to office without the need of a single run-off election.

The Chrysler election clearly indicates that the no-strike policy of the UAW leaders and their dictatorial actions in forcing this policy upon the membership does not have the support of the rank and file. It is time other locals followed suit and elected officials who represent the real wishes of the workers in the shops.

Last updated on 29 June 2020