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Jerry Kirk

Flint CIO Council Calls on UAW Board to
‘Wash Its Hands’ of Company Security

(5 January 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 2, 12 January 1946, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FLINT, Mich., Jan. 5.—The Greater Flint CIO Council, representing 50,000 organized workers, tonight at Its meeting unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the “company security” plan proposed to the Ford Motor Company by the CIO United Auto Workers negotiators.

The council, which includes UAW locals representing some 40,000 striking General Motors workers, called on the UAW International Executive Board to "wash its hands” of any proposition to permit the firing or fining of union militants for so- called "unauthorized” strikes.

In addition, the resolution instructed the Flint Weekly Review, official organ of the Greater Flint Industrial Union Council, "to prominently and conspicuously in its columns and editorials begin an educational campaign about the dangers and harmful effects to the labor movement that can ensue from adoption of company security clauses in union contracts and agreements.” Copies of the resolution are to be released to the press and radio and to be sent to all locals of the Greater Flint CIO to be read to the memberships.

GM Strike Front

On the General Motors strike front, with the office and supervisory employes being permitted to enter the Flint GM plants, the four UAW locals involved have started a campaign to organize the office workers. This is a continuation of the work started by some of the locals months ago.

Chevrolet local, which has been in the forefront of this organizing campaign, has appointed a committee to direct the activity of the local in organizing the clerical help in Chevrolet. This past week several handbills were distributed explaining the benefits of union organization.

The other locals, Fisher Body, Buick and AC Spark Plug, have taken up this issue and are instituting similar campaigns to remove threat of office workers being used by the corporation management against the striking workers.

“Fact Finding”

As the GM strike enters the seventh week the UAW members here are watching carefully for the forthcoming announcement by Truman’s fact-finding committee. After a round of the picket lines, it is clear that these men do not intend to permit anyone to sell them short in their demand for a 30 per cent increase in wages.

Their thoughts are best summed up by the comments of the men at Chevrolet Plant four who are the veterans of the ’37 sitdowns and the battle of “Bulls Run.” The morning after Truman’s address to the nation, they stated:

“It was a fine speech but we can’t see where he said anything that you could sink your teeth into, when all he needed to say was that we rate a 30 per cent wage increase. We didn’t hear him say anything like that.”

At the Buick Plant Forty gate the pickets commented on the speech in this way:

“When you boil it all down he is trying to give us a Full Employment bill which isn’t worth the paper it is written on and in return we are supposed to accept a fact-finding committee. We still can’t see where the fact-finding committees will do us any good.”

“Company Security”

That the pickets are anxiously awaiting the report of the Fact-Finding Committee is apparent by the way the discussion continually drifts back to what they may possibly suggest for a settlement. At all gates and almost without exception, the men are agreed that they will not accept any wage increase that has tied to it, corporation security clauses or production speedup clauses. The Plant Ten men of Chevrolet stated emphatically, “We have been on strike for over six weeks and we may as well stay out until we get what we want.”

General Motors will have a difficult time trying to convince these union men to accept corporation security or speedup clauses. Almost all of them remember the speedup and they would much rather reject any wage increase than to return to slave-driving supervisors and speedups in the departments. None of the local union officials have indicated any support for this proposal. They are consciously aware that a terrific explosion would take place against this proposition and against them if they dared to accept it.

The striking militants in their constant discussions on the picket lines are beginning to realize that the speedup clause is tied up in every way with corporation security. When the pickets learned from the columns of The Militant that the Press Steel Unit of Ford Local 600 had rejected the Leonard proposal to fine and fire union men, they exclaimed: “Well, it’s about time they woke up at Ford’s!”

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