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GM Strike Leaders Appeal for Aid

UAW Board Calls on All Locals to Rally
to Aid of GM Workers

(23 February 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 9, 2 March 1946, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, Feb. 23 – A call to all CIO United Auto Workers locals to support the General Motors strikers “to the utmost limit of your resources” marked the 95th day of the bitterly fought GM strike. The appeal for special aid to the GM workers was made in a telegram sent to all UAW-CIO locals by the UAW International Executive Board, which is meeting here this week-end.

Despite a series of false press reports during the past week that a GM strike settlement is “imminent”, negotiations between the UAW and the General Motors Corporation have almost blown up. The Corporation’s stubborn insistence on striking from the contract some of its most important provisions for union security and its further attempts to chisel on the Fact- Finding Board’s recommendation of 19½c an hour have stalled the GM-UAW negotiations.

The General Motors Corporation heads seem determined to punish the GM workers for raising: the demand that the company’s books be opened. With UAW Vice-President Walter Reuther as their spokesman, the GM strikers introduced the unprecedented demand that they be allowed to examine the company’s book in order to determine whether General Motors was able to pay wage increases without raising prices.

“Socialistic Demands”

At the present stage of the GM-UAW bargaining talks, the demand to “open the books” has dropped into the background.

But the GM officials have neither forgotten nor forgiven this assault upon the citadel of private enterprise! GM President Charles E. Wilson and other company negotiators have repeatedly charged Reuther with introducing “socialistic demands” into the GM strike.

Rumors that GM may actually carry its fight against the union to the extent of starting a “back to work” movement are circulating in Detroit. The false reports in the capitalist press about the imminence of a strike settlement are interpreted by union observers as a company attempt to demoralize the GM strikers. The concrete effect of these false reports has been a serious reduction in the amount of financial aid being sent in to the GM strikers.

In order to offset these false reports, to keep the morale of the GM strikers at a high level, and to secure a maximum of support for them from other UAW locals, the UAW. Executive Board sent out today’s urgent appeal for aid. The text of their telegram to the UAW Locals follows:

UAW Board’s Appeal

“The International Executive Board in special session in Detroit heard a full and detailed report on General Motors negotiations from the three top officers who have been participating in such negotiations. On the basis of that report the Board unanimously concludes that the General Motors Corporation in refusing acceptance of the President’s recommendation is delaying a settlement of the strike for reasons and motives which the Corporation representatives are not discussing in negotiations.

“In view of the Corporation’s attitude, we call upon every local union and every member of our great organization to redouble efforts in raising funds to support the GM workers so that they may carry their fight to a successful conclusion.

“The Board wishes to correct the erroneous impression which may have been created by false press reports that a settlement is immediately imminent. Several basic issues plus local demands and the wage question are still not settled.

“The picket lines of the GM workers have already won substantial wage increases for Ford, Chrysler and Briggs workers and for workers in other large sections of industry. Every auto worker is indebted to the General Motors strikers for the fight they have made. We know you will give them financial support to the utmost limit of your resources. Our International Union is determined to mobilize its full strength to carry this fight to victory.”

All Aid to GM Strike!

James F. Dewey, special Labor Department Conciliator refused comment on the UAW International Executive Board’s charge that the Corporation is suppressing its “reasons and motives” for “delaying a settlement”. But it is an absolute certainty that both General Motors and Government officials are discussing the UAW Board’s statement in private.

Corporation hopes, to undermine the morale of the GM strikers and to starve out the strike, are being threatened by the UAW Board’s demonstration of solidarity.

Even after 95 days of strike struggle, the GM picket lines are still solid, but the GM workers cannot win this fight alone. If all locals of the UAW and other sections of the CIO rally to the aid of the embattled GM strikers, the mighty General Motors Corporation will yet be brought to its knees!

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