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Jerry Kirk

Red-Baiters Fail in Election
Bid at Flint Local

(14 March 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 12, 23 March 1946, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FLINT, Mich., Mar. 14 – A group of red-baiters who had launched a divisive red-scare in the midst of the General Motors strike, here were overwhelmingly repudiated by the membership of AC Spark Plug Local 651, CIO United Auto Workers, in the recent local union elections.

The United Rank and File Caucus, which opposed the red-baiters, won 26 of 28 positions for the AC Local’s executive board and delegates to the forthcoming UAW convention.

Readers of The Militant will recall that during the GM strike five members of AC local attempted to whip up a red scare against militant members and leaders of both the local and the Greater Flint CIO Council, with a hue-and-cry against the “Trotskyites.” Their efforts were originally inspired by the Stalinists and led to an attempt by the company and the Flint boss press to divide the strikers with red-baiting.

Leaders of important Flint UAW locals and of the CIO Council denounced the red-baiters.

All Defeated

All five of the red-baiters who ran for office in AC local were decisively defeated by the Rank and File caucus which was led by Robert Carter, Edna McNamara, Harry Graham and Pete Shumacher.

Although the red-baiters were unquestionably defeated, the Rank and File caucus lost the presidency by a narrow margin of eight votes.

The very nature of the campaign and the elections, watched very closely by progressive unionists of Flint, indicate that the workers are increasingly aware that red-baiting is a company device and such tactics are proving of less and less influence in union elections. This was brought out sharply at AC.

Flint unionists, who played a leading role in the GM strike, are watching for publication of the contract. On the basis of present reports, most feel that a real victory has been won. However, none of the local managements of GM plants here has attempted to settle local demands. This morning Buick Local 599 held a parade of 500 workers around the plant protesting the local management’s refusal to negotiate.

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