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William Gorman

News and Views from the Labor Front

Notes Oakland Strike Gains

(14 December 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 51, 23 December 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

OAKLAND, Dec. 14 – The general strike ended more than a week ago, but some reverberations of this great labor demonstration are still being heard. Only a few days ago, all AFL unions in this area were “alerted” for action, although the previous tension and talk of another immediate general walkout subsided.

The general strike has apparently achieved two immediate objectives. First, the use of 250 policemen to convoy strikebreakers will not soon be repeated. Secondly, Kahn and Hastings Stores have found themselves compelled to bargain with the AFL clerks’ union. The general walkout exposed their refusal to bargain with the union.

Bogged Down

Negotiations have hogged down on the question of a “union shop,” and the issue is now in the hands of government mediation. Meanwhile, the stores have taken a new provocative action to break the strike. A court injunction has been issued to weaken the effectiveness of the picket lines, by cutting down the number of pickets and keeping them away from the store entrances.

Meanwhile another AFL leader has sounded off his hostility to the effective mass demonstration which shut down the city. Charles Real, head of the Bay Area AFL, declared that if he had been on the scene he would have never allowed the general strike to happen. The newspapers originally charged Real with telephoning from Washington to “pull everything out” thus starting the strike. Since then he has been trying to get out from the responsibility.

The Stalinists have distributed a leaflet Where Do We Go From Here? The Stalinists ask the workers to throw out the reactionary Republican clique which runs Oakland. But they give not the slightest indication who should replace it. Judging from their behavior in the recent election, they would prefer a Democratic city administration.

The Workers Party leaflet distributed after the strike says that the general strike was a demonstration of workers’ power, a power which must finally replace the scabby City government. A Labor Action Forum on the lessons of the strike is being held December 15. Many interested workers are expected to attend.

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