Glotzer Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Sam Adams

Against Labor-Capital Unity!

(April 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 18, 30 April 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Only a few weeks ago, the Labor-Management Charter, heralding a new era in capital-labor relations, was blazoned across the pages of the nation’s press. Management, under the leadership of Eric Johnston, President of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, attended by an assortment of big businessmen, and William Green and Philip Murray, signed this Charter.

The Charter recognized the right of labor to organize, but at the same time asserted the inherent right of business to own, operate and profit from the toil of the workers. It talked a great deal about full employment and high wages, but the central theme of the Charter was that labor must do nothing to upset the prerogatives of business, since labor depended upon capital for its jobs and security. Naturally, nothing in the Charter even hinted at the fact that labor produces all the wealth in the world and that this wealth is appropriated by big business for its own private profit at the expense of the well being of the workers and their families.

What the labor “statesmen” actually did was to sign a document which asserted that labor’s existence was secondary to the right of management to profits.

For the privilege of signing this businessman’s creed, the labor leaders promised to do everything in their power to prevent militant unionism in the post-war period, to aid big business in reconverting at a maximum profit. The program which the labor leader’s underwrite was similar to the anti-union, permanent post-war no-strike policy adopted by Harry Bridges and supported by the Communist-dominated unions in the CIO. No wonder the Communist Party is the most active force in the labor movement advocating the endorsement and enactment of the labor-management Charter.

C of C-NAM “Differences”

Shortly after the ceremonies, however, the NAM, which refused to endorse the document and which had representatives at the conference who apparently did sign the Charter, gave the show away. It announced that it was presently launching its anti-union campaign by fostering legislation to outlaw strikes and the closed shop and to legally paralyze unionism in general. The NAM also announced that its legislative program was endorsed by the C. of C. which Johnston heads. The C. of C., the NAM asserted, has its own legislative committee which is working very closely with the NAM!

Johnston, of course, vehemently denied this, but Victor Riesel, labor expert for the New York Post, declared the Charter to be a dodo. He pointed but that members of the NAM and C. of C. belong to both organizations.

“One part of the day Johnston’s men, let’s say those in Big Steel, are pounding Green and Murray with a hail-fellow-labor’s-swell benevolence. And later in the afternoon they are NAM leaders campaigning for the outlawing of strikes and what sounds mighty like a ban on closed shops.”

Riesel also points out that the C. of C. key committees are headed by “labor’s most bitter enemies – men who talk of him (Johnston) as a ‘boy scout,’ and are working closely with the NAM.”

One of Johnston’s committee heads is the inventor of the “Mohawk Valley formula” to break strikes. Another is head of a publishing firm which discriminates against unions and Jews. There are many more like these.

While the labor-management Charter was being signed, the auto industry and aircraft are preparing a powerful anti-union drive to break the power of the UAW. The labor management Charter is really a big business scheme to take labor off guard. It is a form of class collaboration which can only have a negative effect upon the movement.

On guard, ranks of labor! Don’t be sold a false bill of goods! When management wants to do something for your own good, that is time to be doubly careful and prepare to fight against a stab in the back!

Top of page

Labor Action 1945 Index | Writers’ Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 13 June 2016