From Fourth International, Vol.11 No.6, November-December 1950, pp.183-188.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
When the next progressive move of the workers in the AFL on the West Coast begins, it will find one of its main rallying cries ready-made: Down with Dave Beck and Dave Beckism! For Dave Beck is the pillar of reaction in the West Coast labor movement and the employers’ man up and down the coast.
Dave Beck has held the title of labor czar since the early Thirties. He arose in the Seattle labor movement in the late 1920s as a perfect representative of business unionism. His outlook was formed early. He came from a working class background but dreamed of becoming a business man. Unlike a Reuther or even a Lundeberg, whatever idealism motivated him in youth was spent by the time he joined the labor movement. He was a “finished personality” from the start of his career in the union movement – an apostle for craft unionism and business unionism.
In the Northwest labor movement to this day, many hide-bound AFL bureaucrats continue to give lip-service to the memory of the IWW. It is a mark of Beck’s mentality that he repudiates them completely.
“These Wobblies are nuts. You can’t beat the bosses by trying to destroy them. I have no use for class warfare,” he says. What Beck did have use for from the very start was the hook-up of union and employers typical of the craft unions of the 1920s.
Beck brought to Seattle the labor-employer monopoly, in which a limited group of workers – in this case the “salesmen drivers” in the bakery, coal, ice, milk, laundry, and other trades – win improvements at the expense of the body of consumers and at the cost of maintaining the rest of the working class in a disorganized condition.
Beck organized the employers in these trades into price-fixing associations over which he emerged as the “czar,” utilizing the union machinery – including his professional goon squad – to police price agreements. Beck’s ‘brand of unionism was an important feature of the American labor movement from 1890 through the early Thirties and became notorious in the Building Trades and Teamster crafts in many cities. It was the breeding ground for racketeers and gangsters (it was partially a source of Capone’s power in Chicago) and of the notorious swindling union racketeers whose misdeeds form the subject of Joel Seidman’s book, Labor Czars.
This type of unionism – even without the racketeering – represents the ultimate in class collaboration. It ties the union into a trust with the employers. It beats down upon the mass production workers and gains a few crumbs for a narrow group of workers at the expense of the rest. It disrupts labor solidarity. It elevates a dictatorship of officials over the union membership who are at the mercy of the business agents.
Through this type of unionism Beck grew and became labor overlord of Seattle. By 1934 he had established what was widely known as “Dave Beck’s voluntary NRA.”
He first established the labor-business monopoly in the laundry and dye and dry-cleaning industries as a means of advancing the laundry drivers whose secretary he became in 1924. In successive drives which jointly organized employer and driver alike, he included a variety of industries in which drivers play an essential role such as produce, bakeries, gasoline, coal, ice, milk, soft drinks.
The newspapers for 1936, 1937 and 1938 are filled with accounts of court suits detailing Beck’s operations from which the pattern of Beck’s business unionism may be reconstructed. Thus in May 1938, Beck, his lieutenants and 29 Seattle coal and wood wholesalers were named defendants in a suit brought by a group of owner-drivers who retailed coal and belonged to a CIO union. They charged the defendants with a conspiracy to refuse to sell fuel of any kind to any merchant who did not agree to retail coal or wood “at the price fixed by the defendants.” They charged that two or more of the Beck goon squad had been placed at various coal mines around Seattle to prevent drivers from obtaining coal there. The coal drivers were not sustained in the courts.
The head of the cleaners and dyers association was William Short, a Beck associate and a former president of the Washington State Federation of Labor. $81,000 was paid annually by the industry to the association whose sole function was to police prices. Regular dues ranged from 1% to 3% of gross volume of business and fines ran as high as $100. The prices in the industry in Seattle were the highest in the country, but workers in 1937 took a 30% cut in pay. The association fixed the prices that the large wholesalers charged to the 500 or so small retail shops and the prices that the latter charged the public. If the small shops did not remain in good standing, drivers of trucks tor wholesale plants would not pick up or deliver garments to be cleaned. Retailers were told by the association where to buy their wholesale work and were required to apply to the association whenever they wished to change wholesalers. Any attempt to operate outside of the association brought retribution in the form of bombings, use of caustic soda, stink bombs, etc.
Beck’s biggest victory of that time in the field of business unionism was the cementing of his alliance with the brewery bosses of the Northwest. Here, however, Beck did not become czar of the industry, but on a more modest scale served as the means whereby the big brewers – particularly Emil Sick – policed beer prices. For almost a year – 1937-38 – the brewers used Beck to keep Eastern and California beer out of the Northwest. The ostensible pretext for the Teamster-imposed boycott of these brands was the jurisdictional war between the Teamsters and the United Brewery Workers. But the employers profited from the boycott, using it to jack up beer prices in the Northwest and eliminating price competition among themselves. They rewarded Beck with a recognition of his jurisdictional claims over all brewery workers in their plants.
Beck brought to the art of business unionism all the necessary attributes – above all, a consciousness of what he was doing. He believes fervently in the partnership of business and labor. He believes in; “free enterprise,” tempered only by the necessary protection which collusion brings. Higher wages must come out of higher profits, and business must organize itself to remove price competition. He rejects militant unionism. He has an overweening ambition to be known as a great businessman, to be admired by the business community, to rub shoulders with eminent businessmen. He fawns upon the employers.
Beck is no demagogue. What he sincerely believes is readily ascertainable from interviews and speeches. In 1938 Richard Neuberger, a journalist, presented a portrait of Beck in his book, The Promised Land. We learn that Beck neither drinks nor smokes and exercises daily to keep down his girth. He rides to work in a flashy Cadillac, dresses like a conservative businessman, and his office looks like the office of a corporation executive.
“I run this place just like a business,” Beck told Neuberger, “just like Standard Oil Company or Northern Pacific Railway. Our business is selling labor. We use business-like methods. Business people have confidence in us.” (Our emphasis.)
Beck believes, says Neuberger, that a primary function cf labor is to show capital how to make a return on its investment. Beck:
“Some of the finest people I know are employers. I realize that labor cannot prosper unless businessmen and invested capital are given reasonable and adequate protection.”
“There are too many filling stations in Seattle. More are threatened. We’re going to close some of them. First, I advise promoters against starting new stations. If that doesn’t work, the Teamsters will simply refuse to serve them. They won’t last long.”
Beck’s solicitude for the employers and for the concept of the labor-business monopoly is explicitly embodied in a clause in the contract of the bakery truck drivers.
”Free enterprise” with stabilized conditions achieved through “regulation” by the powerful union official cooperating with business – that is Beck’s conscious program. His ambition is to win the recognition of the business community for that program and for himself cast in the “czar’s” role.
Beck is no “Welfare-Stater.” He wants no part of the “mixed economy” schemes advocated by the Reuthers and others. “We want government to get out of business as quickly as possible – and stay out!” Beck declared in his speech at the 1946 Western Conference of Teamsters.
“Several times in the past few years we have had to take our stand beside business, politically and otherwise, when we felt that government was encroaching dangerously upon free enterprise. And we oppose the socialisation of medicine.” (Our emphasis.)
In the same speech Beck also said:
“I read a statement the other day by a very outstanding spokesman for industry, who declared that the law of supply and demand would solve all our problems. I would like to ask him if he believes in the certificate of necessity ... The certificate of necessity is a wall preventing the operation of the law of supply and demand and prohibiting free and open competition; its purpose is to protect investment structures, insure service to the public, permit operators to earn enough so they can pay adequate wages and receive a fair return on their investments.”
These two excerpts present the basis for Beck’s program and motivate his dealings with the employers.
Beck has won his standing by being the employers’ man. “Dave Beck never asks for more than the traffic will bear,” “Dave Beck keeps his word” – this is what the business community says about him. And Beck has won high standing in the Northwest business community. He is an honored member of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Over the years he has been Civil Service Commissioner and Boxing Commissioner. He is a close friend of Emil Sick, the brewery magnate who made him a director of his Seattle Pacific Coast League Baseball Team. Beck is president of a corporation currently erecting a $3,000,000 apartment house in Seattle. In 1946, Beck’s friend, Governor Wallgren, appointed him a regent of the University of Washington. Beck was a prime mover in the purge of professors accused of Communist Party membership and activities, and was rewarded this year with elevation to the post of President of the Board of Regents of the University of Washington.
(No scholastic attainments won for Beck the appointment to the Board of Regents. Nor is his union noted for promoting education among the Teamster membership. The only educational activity that the Seattle Teamsters ever promoted was a class in jiu-jitsu to provide extra beef for Beck’s jurisdictional raids.)
Who are the real beneficiaries – outside of the employers – of the labor-employer monopoly? A certain group of privileged crafts – the “salesmen-drivers” – has undoubtedly benefited. But even they have at times had to take pay cuts when business conditions were unfavorable. Beck boasted of this to Neuberger.
Outside of the employers, the consistent beneficiaries of the monopoly is the large army of union officials and their henchmen composing the Beck machine in the West Coast Teamsters Union. There are approximately 1,000 Beck-appointed officials in the Western Conference of Teamsters. Beck openly acknowledges that he prefers to appoint secretaries and business agents, although he has stated that he will allow a local to elect its officials if it really wishes to do so.
The union officials are well paid – on principle.
“We want the best secretaries and business, representatives we can find,” Beck declared at the 1946 Western Conference of Teamsters. “We must borrow from the book of industry; we must be ready to pay for ability ... Inefficient leadership of labor would inevitably result in more strikes, more turmoil, and more disruption of our economic picture.”
Evidently to prevent turmoil, one official of the union – Frank Brewster, one of Beck’s chief lieutenants – receives enough income to maintain a stable of race horses. Here one can see the difference between the bureaucracy of a powerful union such as the Teamsters and the bureaucracy of a small outfit such as the Sailors Union of the Pacific. Beck’s machinemen own the horses; Lundeberg’s appointees must be satisfied with playing them. Acting on the premise that its vices are virtues, the Beck officialdom freely advertises Brewster’s ownership of the race horses, and every year the Washington Teamsters use Brewster’s connections to sponsor a special event – Teamsters Day at the Longacres racetrack.
The machine benefits, and rules the union with an iron hand. Beck told Joe Miller, another journalist who interviewed him,
“I’m paid $25,000 a year to run this outfit. Unions are big business. Why should truck drivers and bottle washers be allowed to make big decisions affecting union policy? Would any corporation allow it?”
Beck’s goon squad is notorious in the Northwest as an instrument for terrorizing small employers in the “organizing drives” of the Thirties; as a shock force in jurisdictional raids; and especially as a police force in the union. The most infamous exploit of the Beck goon squad was the attack upon the Newsboys in Seattle in 1937. This attack, in which Beck undertook to police the AFL Newsboys Union at the request of its officials, was a veritable reign of terror which ceased only when the rank and file revolt had been crushed physically and the courts intervened to halt the operations of the goon squads.
Business unionism had its heyday in the Twenties, in the era of prosperity and the rule of the open shop in the basic industries throughout the country. Beck’s brand of business unionism has arisen in new circumstances: the period of the upsurge of the mass production workers during the Thirties. Between business unionism and this new industrial union movement there is deep-going conflict.
The truck-driving industry is itself an arena of this conflict. On the one hand are the service trades – milk, bread, laundry, and other “salesmen,” on whom the power of Teamster bosses rests in many cities. On the other hand are the over-the-road drivers and the “inside men,” the warehousemen.
Beck’s collusive agreements rested on the privileged crafts and were first made at the cost of the more exploited sections of the industry who were left unorganized. Beck was bound to come into conflict with the powerful new current. For a brief time, however, Beck managed to live side by side in peace with this upsurge and even to draw strength from it.
The 1934 maritime strike which solidly organized the West Coast waterfronts brought an influx of members into Beck’s unions as well. Seattle longshoremen still relate how their refusal to handle goods brought to the pier by non-union trucks signed up a considerable number of drivers in General Drivers Local 174 of the Seattle Teamsters. The victory of the 1934 strike gave the signal for intensive organization in Seattle and Beck rounded out his own organizing drives by relying on the new momentum.
The 1934 maritime strike was followed by two and a half years of uneasy collaboration in the Northwest labor movement between Beck and the Stalinists, who headed the longshore union and were influential in the new lumber workers union. In the spring of 1936 the entire Seattle labor movement collaborated to elect John F. Dore – a friend of Beck – mayor of the city.
The high point of this alliance between Beck and the new union movement represented by the maritime workers and the lumber workers was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer strike in the fall of 1936. For over three months the labor movement of Seattle kept Hearst’s paper shut down tight. Mass pickets were thrown around the P.-I. building, a “wall of flesh” composed of teamsters, longshoremen and lumber workers. Accused of having instigated the strike and being a troublemaker in general, Beck defended himself by saying: “This is the first time that we have ever been in a joint venture like that.”
It was the first – and the last time as well. For it was only a matter of weeks before jurisdictional battle lines were drawn on the West Coast. The West Coast became the primary battleground of the struggle between the new militant industrial unionism represented by the CIO against the craft unionists of the AFL. Beck was named commander-in-chief for the AFL forces by William Green.
What recourse did Beck have against the mass upsurge of industrial unionism which threatened his whole way of life? To smash the upsurge and drive the industrial workers back to atomized conditions was no longer possible. He had to seek to capture it and to imprison these workers within the structure of the craft unions in order to guarantee the employers minimum disturbance from their demands and thereby preserve the advantages of the privileged crafts.
When Bridges launched the “march inland” in 1937, beginning with an organizing drive among all warehousemen in the coast cities, Beck announced his jurisdictional claims over the same workers. Beck had hitherto ignored the warehousemen as had all other Teamster bosses. But now organizing the warehousemen under his jurisdiction became absolutely necessary to Beck for the preservation of his labor-employer monopolies. The fight against the CIO was on in earnest.
As the struggle against the CIO unfolded, Beck won over to his side a considerable section of the business community that had fought him and his collusive agreements and had favored open shop and “free competition.” With the help of these employers, Beck captured the warehousemen in Seattle, although he lost out in San Francisco. Signing “sweetheart” contracts, Beck began to organize the over-the-road drivers, the most exploited section of the trucking industry. Here again it was necessary to move lest a more radical and genuinely industrial union drive should organize these workers, to whom the craft and business union outlook of the “salesmen-drivers” is completely alien.
In the Midwest the over-the-road organizing drive was under way under the leadership of Farrell Dobbs and other organizers trained in the Trotskyist-led Minneapolis truck-drivers union. This organizing drive, while conducted under the banner of the Teamsters, pursued militant methods and the program of industrial unionism. In his organization of the over-the-road drivers on the West Coast, Beck copied many of the methods of the Midwest over-the-road organizing drive. But the aim of his drive was completely different.
The Midwest organizing drive had as its goal the achievement of an eleven-state area master contract with central negotiations between the association of the trucking operators and the drivers organized in a militant, industrial union. Although he operated through his Western Conference of Teamsters which covered the eleven Far Western states, Beck dealt with the employers individually, with all kinds of variations in contract conditions, settling with them on the basis of “ability to pay” (that is, any terms that might be obtained) precisely in order to keep from mobilizing the drivers for industry-wide battle.
Beck used the strategic position of the Teamsters – which is enormously strengthened by the huge distances between centers in the West – to corral an increasing number of the more exploited workers in a variety of industries, constantly pursuing the aim of freezing out genuine industrial unionism. Although head of the AFL side in the jurisdictional battle, he was far more concerned with herding these workers into his own unions. The Western Conference of Teamsters had been organized by Beck as a means of consolidating and departmentalizing his holdings and in order to systematically enlarge his domain. At present this branch of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has a membership of 250,000 workers.
Beck’s motives were made quite clear at the 1946 Western Conference of Teamsters where he explained why he took the cannery workers into the Teamsters Union after a long struggle with the Stalinist-dominated CIO union.
“I have been asked: Why did the Teamsters organize the cannery workers?” said Beck. “They might as readily ask why we organized the warehousemen. If a cannery is shut down, not only does the employment of the cannery worker stop, but the truck which hauls the cannery freight is halted and the driver is out of work. The truck operator’s investment is jeopardized; industrial turmoil is caused. Our organization is determined to take to these cannery workers and warehousemen, who are so vitally important to the free flow of transportation, the kind of organization that will guarantee the maximum living standards with a minimum of industrial disturbance.”
In this explanation by Beck, in which the reference to the “maximum of living standards” is wholly gratuitous, the whole pattern of business unionism under the conditions of mass industrial unionization is revealed.
And what about the “salesmen-drivers” – the privileged group of workers in the industry, how did they fare? In a speech delivered in 1943 before a Seattle mass meeting, Beck sought to justify war-time speed-up and the violation of Washington’s eight-hour law for women laundry workers in exchange for meager wage concessions to the laundry drivers. “Let me ask you this: Are the drivers for the cleaning plants working for the same wages they received in 1942, plus the Little Steel farce? Of course they are not, because the volume of output of the plants has increased.”
This incident – right out of the pages of the Washington Teamsters – reveals the whole pattern of Beck’s present-day business unionism. The inside workers are the captives: here they didn’t even belong formally to the Teamsters union. As women production workers, they can be kicked around. The employers coin huge profits from the speed-up and pass a small portion of these extra profits on to the drivers, while the women get almost nothing at all.
Beck’s appetite grows with eating. Jurisdictional raiding and the organization of mass production workers not only became a necessity for Beck; it also opened up new opportunities. Forced by circumstances to expand their domain, Beck and his underlings have become power-mad, seeking to incorporate more and more workers within their empire and constantly to increase their take.
The old-time slothful Teamster bosses were and are satisfied with carving out baronies in one city. The ambitious Beck and his underlings are out for a labor empire. The old slogan of the Teamsters was “everything on wheels belongs to the Teamsters.” The new slogan put forward by Beck is “everything that can be moved on wheels belongs to the Teamsters.” Beck is now executive vice president of the Teamsters International and in charge of its nationwide organizing drives. He has elaborated a streamlined top structure for the Teamsters modeled on his own Western Conference of Teamsters in order to carry through his nationwide jurisdictional struggles.
The turn to jurisdictional war as the predominant concern of Beck was made at the end of World War II and after the postwar upsurge of the American labor movement had subsided. The keynote for jurisdictional war was struck at the Tenth Western Conference of Teamsters in 1946 and has been his policy since.
“We will defend our jurisdiction come what may,” Beck thundered. “We will never let any part of the labor movement inside or outside of the American Federation of Labor ... interfere with our welfare and growth.” “Jurisdiction is the lifeline of our union,” etc., that is the war cry repeated at every conference. And every time that “our jurisdiction” is to be “defended come what may,” Beck has enlarged it to swallow up another industry and another section of workers.
“Cannibal unionism” became a predominant feature of the labor movement after the upsurge of 1945 and 1946 had subsided. Beck became king of the cannibals. In alliance with Lundeberg and Ryan and lesser lights he started raiding AFL, CIO and independents alike, taking special advantage of strike situations in order to move in, in collusion with the employers, behind the strikers’ picket lines.
As his raiding operations grow, so does his immediate dependence upon the employers. “For every enemy I have made in the labor movement,” he recently declared, “I have made a hundred friends in the Chamber of Commerce.”
His dependence upon the employers has grown so intimate that Beck has cut himself off from the crew of “Welfare State” union politicians, whose class-collaborationist schemes need the mediation of the state to a far greater degree than Beck’s. “I think what work I can do in the organizing field,” Beck told Joe Miller, “is tremendously more important than what I might be able to do in the legislative field.” And by “organizing” Beck means primarily his “sweetheart” contracts and his jurisdictional raiding operations.
Double, treble the membership of the Teamsters Union! – that is his goal. That is the means whereby he seeks to elevate himself to recognition as top labor “czar” of the country. He has already bent the top command of the AFL to his will. For the announced program of the 1949 AFL convention to recruit a million new members is essentially Beck’s program. The tip-off on this program was given in an Associated Press dispatch from the AFL’s Saint Paul convention. The AP quotes one high official as saying, “We’ve got to raid CIO unions or our organizing drive will flop.” That is right down Beck’s alley. Only Beck and his maritime ally, Lundeberg, are taking this program seriously and are seeking to put it into effect.
But there is not only Beck; there is also the fight against Dave Beck. That man is hated and feared throughout the labor movement of the Northwest and of the entire Pacific Coast. All the evils of labor bureaucratism are associated with his name.
He is an object of derision and curses. Derision for his corpulence, his pompous oratory, Frank Brewster’s horse-racing shenanigans, and the abject bootlicking of Beck and the entire Teamster bureaucracy before the employers. Curses for his goon squads, his terrorization of the Teamster ranks, his deals, and above all his endless finking, strikebreaking and jurisdictional raids.
Beck’s threat to the striking Boeing aircraft workers in Seattle in 1948 that he would cross their picket lines “again and again and again” aroused bitter anger in all circles of organized labor. For that is a standing threat to all workers on strike. It is this widespread hatred for the man and his methods that imparted to last year’s NLRB election at Boeing aircraft the proportions of a major election campaign, with propaganda for and against Beck widely spread throughout the city. The victory of the Aeronautical Machinists over Beck met with wide acclaim.
In the struggles against Beck’s raids and strikebreaking activities, his opponents in the labor movement, including conservative officials, have had to raise slogans of union democracy and labor solidarity, and rally unionists around that banner. In last year’s NLRB election at Boeing’s, the officials of Lodge 751 of the Machinists, passable bureaucrats in their own right, conducted their campaign around the issue: “The ABC of Democratic Unionism – Avoid Beck Control ... For a Democratic Member-Controlled Union, Vote Aero-Mechanics Union, Lodge 751.”
The lower bodies of the AFL on the West Coast have also been thrown into opposition to his raids. Thus the Washington State AFL convention of 1948 condemned Beck’s raids against the Aero-Mechanics at Boeing which he launched during the middle of their strike. The Puget Sound Council of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union, an affiliate of the Brotherhood of Carpenters, did likewise in even stronger language. A whole group of unions, including prominent AFL locals in Seattle stood ready to give aid to the Aero-Mechanics, had the leadership of that union elected to make a fight on the picket lines against the Beck-recruited scabs, a fight which, if conducted, would have brought victory to the strikers.
In 1949 a similar array of opposition within the AFL greeted Beck’s raiding against the AFL Retail Clerks in Oakland, California. There the East Bay Central Labor Council lined up solidly in an attempt to stop his organizing behind the clerk’s picket lines.
Hatred for Beck is digging deep into the ranks of the Teamsters Union – especially among the over-the-road drivers and captive workers. They are the decisive forces in the fight to put an end to his power and ambitious schemes. The immediate impulsion to this opposition is the rotten conditions in the truckdriving industry.
An executive for a trucking concern recently told Joe Miller: “If we have to deal with unions at all, I’ll take Beck any time. Last year he cost me $55,000 in wage increases. Any other labor leader would have cost me $100,000.” The Teamster ranks are just as aware as the company executives of what Beck’s alliances with the employers cost them in wages and conditions.
In many places Teamster contracts are breaking down altogether. Beck has always boasted that “his” Teamsters rarely strike and when they do it is a five-day job with victory assured on the fifth day. But the boast is not matched by reality in recent years. The Teamsters in Oregon last year were out on strike for 136 days before they obtained a new contract with the Pacific Fruit Corporation. There have been a number of other similarly lengthy strikes. Contracts have gone up to a year and a half beyond the expiration date and new ones have been signed with no appreciable gains.
In the spring of this year Beck told the Teamsters that the union would have to call a retreat – not in the “organizing drives,” however! – as far as asking for new wage increases was concerned. Business conditions, he explained, don’t permit it. The truth is that many employers, having used Beck for their purposes, now consider him superfluous.
The opposition to Beck within the Teamsters Union in Seattle was recorded when J.K. Patterson, “a member of General Drivers Local 174, which includes the over-the-road drivers in Washington, was fired from his job because he refused to cross the IAM picket lines during the Boeing strike. Over one thousand members of the local signed a petition to reinstate him.
Even more powerful anti-Beck coalitions than have been formed in the past are sure to arise in the next upsurges in the labor movement. Especially in the Northwest will such coalitions count. For Seattle remains home base for Beck, despite his graduation to the status of a national labor leader. Here is his new expensive home. Here are his business investments. Here is where the employers love him best. Beck still retains Seattle as one of his headquarters, and it is his Northwest apparatus – his early cronies – who boss the new nationwide organizing drives, just as they have bossed the various “departments” in the West Coast Conference of Teamsters. At the same time they retain all their offices in the Washington Teamster movement.
The Teamsters Union does not possess a genuinely centralized structure. Teamster bosses owe their power to local agreements. Beck is no exception. Beaten afield, he can still retreat. But there is no retreat for him from Seattle, as matters stand now.
To the genuine left-wing elements in the labor movement falls the task of preparing the struggle against Beck. They must review the experiences of past anti-Beck battles and draw the lessons. Above all, the programmatic lines of the struggle must be kept clear: For Democratic Unionism! For Unity of the Labor Movement in Action!
But a fight in the name of these principles cannot be successfully concluded under leadership of officials who are bureaucrats within their own organizations and who participate in raiding ventures on their own. Today in Oakland, for instance, the same East Bay Central Labor Council which condemned Beck in his raid upon the Retail Clerks during the Safeway strike and organized resistance to his strikebreaking there, turned around and supported Beck in his attempted jurisdictional raid upon the CIO warehousemen. Similarly, at the conclusion of the Boeing strike, which saw most of the AFL arrayed against Beck in the State of Washington, these same AFL bodies supported Lundeberg’s attempted raid upon the Longshoremen during the 1948 waterfront strike.
Only an opposition based on consistent adherence to the principles of class struggle and union solidarity can successfully cope with Dave Beck, the upholder of business unionism and jurisdictional raiding.
Last updated on: 18 March 2009