Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist Party

Local Steelworkers Make Gains in Sadlowski Campaign

First Published: The Worker for the Milwaukee Area and Wisconsin, Vol. 2, No. 3, December 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Steelworkers fight is growing in Milwaukee. This past month, steelworkers built fights to nominate Sadlowski at most of the large Steelworker shops. They went up against the forces of the Abel-McBride machine and won some big victories. Steelworkers nominated Sadlowski at Nordberg, Evinrude, American Can, Motor Castings, Milwaukee Forge, Wehr Steel and Schlitz Can. From the mills of Gary, Pittsburgh, upstate New York to the fab shops of the Midwest and the mines of Canada and the West, steelworkers are building up momentum to dump the Abel machine in the February elections.

A local chapter of Steelworkers Fight Back, a national organization working to elect Sadlowski, has been active in fighting for these nominations. Taking leaflets and banners to the plant gates, they are drawing the lines in the fight to get the company out of the union.” Steelworkers from shops all over the city are joining together in this fight. This kind of unity hasn’t been seen for a long time in Milwaukee.

Many local officials and most of the International staff men are supporting McBride. The strategy of the International here has been to firm up the support of local officers and keep things quiet among the rank and file.

District Director, McNamara has been calling local officials downtown for pep talks about McBride. At Rexnord, Local 1527 President Medley boasted at the September union meeting that this District was going for McBride.

But the International is trying to hide the election among the guys in the shop. McBride was supposed to speak in Milwaukee on Dec. 2. The only people who knew about it were local officials who got a letter 2 days in advance from McNamara. When a couple guys at Harnischfeger asked their steward if they could come to the meeting, they were told it was a closed meeting. A group from the Milwaukee Steelworker Fight Back picketed at the rally. They chanted, “Abel-McBride, there’s no place to hide, we know you’re on the company’s side.”

At some shops where momentum is growing for Sadlowski, the International has counter attacked. They have labeled Sadlowski as a tool for “outsiders” and radicals trying to gain control of the union. SMART (Steelworker Members Against Radical Takeover), headquartered coincidentally in Pittsburgh along with the International Union, has been distributing smear literature against Sadlowski. This group made up mostly of local officials, fears any break in the privileged status they have riding herd on the rank and file. So, when the “smash the Abel machine” stickers started appearing in several departments at Bucyrus Erie, some local “SMART” officials counter attacked with postings labeling Sadlowski backers as incompetent and malcontents.

As steelworkers get organized, they know they’re the ones who are going to smash the Abel machine and elect Sadlowski. They’re taking up the fight to break the chains of the Abel-McBride company union and build the steelworkers struggle.