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Jerry Kirk

Auto Militants Rally to Fight No-Strike Pledge

(20 January 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 4, 27 January 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, Jan. 20. – The UAW Rank and File Committee here is steadily stepping up its campaign to win a majority for scrapping the no-strike pledge in the CIO United Automobile Workers’ national referendum.

Discussion over the referendum on the no-strike policy is reaching new heights in this heart of the militant auto workers union. Voting is under way as ballots have been mailed starting January 4, to all UAW members, including some 400,000 in the armed forces.

The climax of the referendum campaign to rescind the pledge will be reached this week-end when the powerful Briggs Local 212 presents a half-hour radio program to urge the auto workers to vote down the no-strike policy. A number of union locals are implementing the campaign of the Rank and File committee with leaflets and other literature issued by the locals themselves.

In addition to its scheduled radio broadcast, officers and members of Local 212 have issued an excellent leaflet entitled, Revoke the No-Strike Pledge, which draws the balance sheet of the blows against labor since the pledge was first made by the top union leaders on the false promises of Roosevelt to institute “equality of sacrifice.” This leaflet has been widely circulated throughout the Detroit east side and has met a heartening response from the auto workers.

The Rank and File Committee has mailed out thousands of copies of its program, described previously in The Militant, to local officers, committeemen and active militants throughout Detroit and Michigan. All reports indicate that this program is making strong headway. The Rank and File Committee is becoming recognized as the only group willing and able to lead the struggle for progressive policies in the UAW.

Confronting the auto militants is a united front of reaction, with the three boss-controlled dailies here shrieking editorially against the rank and file. The corporation daily press published large ads furnished by the Stalinist-led Committee to Retain the No- Strike Pledge, which appears lush with funds that the auto workers themselves certainly have not provided.

The stronghold of this anti-strike committee is the officialdom of the Stalinist-dominated Ford Local 600. However, Rank and File leaders predict that the Local 600 ranks will turn out a huge vote against the no-strike pledge.

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