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Burke Cochran

Green Dodges Convention of Auto Workers

Rank and File Determined to Form International

(August 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 32, 3 August 1935, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, Mich. – The unofficial date for the convocation of a constitutional convention of delegates from the present federal unions to set up an International in the automobile and auto parts industry, is supposed to have been set for August 26. This unofficial notice has already engendered a tremendous enthusiasm among automobile workers throughout the country. The response has proved again that the time is doubly ripe for the establishment of an International and will undoubtedly become a major factor in the organization of the workers of this key industry.

President Wm. Green, the executive council of the American Federation of Labor, and Francis Dillon, lead of the National Council of the United Automobile Workers Union, however, have not yet broken their silence with regard to the proposed convention. Nobody in the Dillon office at Detroit, knows what arrangements have been made for this convention, where it will be held or anything else about it. None of the locals have yet received instructions with regards to the convention, on what basis delegates will be elected, what the powers of the convention will be, or for that matter, even received an announcement of the fact that on August 26 a constitutional convention will be held.

Officials Dodge Question

In view of the fact that only about four weeks intervene between now and Aug. 26th, and that some of the federal automobile locals meet only once every two weeks, the conduct of the A.F. of L. officials can only be characterized as light-minded and that they are not seriously concerned about the setting up of an International in the automobile and auto-parts industry.

If the activities of the leadership of the A.F. of L. is characterized by delay and sabotage, the growing rank and file movement in many of the federal automobile locals, especially in Toledo, characterized itself by its militancy, class conscious leadership, and a growing confidence in its ability to organize the automobile industry and conduct the affairs of the union. The voice of this progressive movement is making itself heard in many of the federal locals more and more clearly, demanding that a constitutional convention be convoked in

Detroit on Aug. 26th, as announced; that only bonafide delegates elected by the men of the locals be permitted to vote; that an International be set up including all workers, skilled and unskilled, engaged in he manufacture of automobiles and auto parts.

An Industrial Union Aim

In other words the demand is unmistakably for an industrial union to be completely democratic in form, electing out of the convention all of its officers and that the membership have the right to recall any officer who does not carry out his duties in the organization; that the new International include tool and die makers, maintenance men, etc. etc., and that all workers of this industry be eligible for membership in the union with no discrimination because of race, color, creed or political affiliation.

The automobile workers have become steeled in two years of battle with government mediators, boards, automobile corporations and treacherous officials in their own midst They are now in no mood for “playing around” with the idea of an International union. Regardless of what the intentions of the officials in Washington may be, the progressive workers in the automobile unions are determined that a constitutional convention be called on Aug. 26, for the purpose of setting up an International on the above mentioned basis, and are-determined that nothing shall stand in their path for the realization of their goal.

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