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Farrell Dobbs

Dobbs Brands Beck ‘Traitor’ for Scabbery

(16 August 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 33, 16 August 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

When a union official helps a corporation fight a striking union, he is no less a traitor than the copperheads who sabotaged the Union Army to help the slave owners during the Civil War.

Such a traitor in labor’s ranks is Dave Beck, West Coast AFL Teamsters Czar. Beck has stabbed in the back the striking Machinists Union at the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle. He has sent trucks through the machinists’ picket lines, signed up Boeing scabs in the Teamsters

Union, sent his attorneys into government hearings to parrot the corporation’s arguments – in short, Beck has done everything he could to break the machinists’ strike.

So scandalous is Beck’s conduct that the Washington State. AFL has condemned his tactics. An opposition movement is developing inside the Seattle Teamsters Union in protest against the indignities and injuries inflicted upon the membership by this strikebreaking dictator.

The Mad Dog

Small wonder that Beck has become the heir-apparent to the throne of Teamsters President Daniel J. Tobin, who has been aptly called “The Mad Dog of the Labor Movement.” Beck has learned well in the Tobin school.

Tobin is notorious for his strikebreaking; smashing of democracy in local unions; driving workers who oppose him off their jobs; and organizing gangster attacks in jurisdictional raids on other unions.

The Brewery Workers Union can tell a hair-raising story of men beaten with blackjacks, workers’ homes destroyed by firebombs and dynamite, as Tobin plied his union-raiding activities. Beck was a star performer in that Tobin show.

In St. Louis, the rank and file of a Teamsters Local Union sent a committee to protest to Tobin because the union contract was not being enforced; nor could they get a financial report from the local officers. Tobin ignored their complaints, despite the fact that the union boss was a gangster with a known criminal record.

But when these outraged truck drivers went on strike to force the employers to abide by the union agreement, Tobin moved fast. He sent in reinforcements to help the local union bosses, who united with the employers to smash the strike. The rank and file leaders were expelled from the union, fired from their jobs and left to take care of their families as best they could.

I am thoroughly familiar with the methods of Tobin and his henchmen like Beck. I used to be on Tobin’s field staff, but I got out When I saw what it was like. And when Tobin attacked my home local in, Minneapolis in 1941, I learned plenty more about The Mad Dog of the Labor Movement.

Tobin tried to impose a dictator on the Minneapolis local. His candidate, by the way, was none other than Dave Beck. The union membership rose to a man in opposition to this Hitler-like act.

Tobin shipped scores of his goons into Minneapolis. With the help of blackjacks, the local cops and the then governor of Minnesota, Harold E. Stassen, the goons “persuaded” the truck drivers to sign up for the Tobin dictatorship.

Then Tobin hollered for help from the federal cops. The leaders of the local union, including myself, were railroaded to the federal penitentiary under the Smith Gag Act. That is why I know all about Tobin, Beck and their kind.

When I visit Seattle on my national campaign tour, I shall be glad to put my knowledge at the disposal of the striking machinists and the Seattle truck drivers who are fighting against the Boeing corporation and strikebreaker Beck.

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