Ben Hall Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Ben Hall

It Didn’t Reach Auto Plants,
but There Was Plenty of Steel

(4 November 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 44, 4 November 1946, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Where is all the steel?

The big auto manufacturers are laying off thousands of workers for an “indefinite” period. Why? Because they cannot get enough steel ... they say.

Why can’t they get enough steel? Because there are too many strikes ... they say. One such strike ... they say ... is the power strike in Pittsburgh, the steel center of America, where ... they say ... production has been hit by the strike, thus cutting off steel production and causing the acute shortage which has led to the layoffs in auto. THEY SAY!

This is all a ladle full of lies. The facts were explained in detail by Meyer Bernstein, representative of the Steel Workers Union and head of the CIO Veterans Department, in his report to the Detroit conference of UAW veterans on October 12.

The steel industry in Pittsburgh is operating AT 107 PER CENT OF CAPACITY, said Bernstein. True, he continued, there is and has been a power strike, but while the strike has affected the transportation system, the hotels and the amusement centers, it has not touched steel production in the slightest. All the workers manage to get to work and are working full shifts. Steel production in Pittsburgh and in all the other steel producing centers of the nation are producing more steel now than in any previous peacetime year and in fact current production has been exceeded only in two of the war years. Steel is producing at a national average of 90 per cent of capacity.

“We know that the steel is coming out of the steel plants,” said Bernstein, “but why it doesn’t get to the auto plants, IF IT DOESN’T, we do not know.”

This raises two questions: (1) Is the steel getting to the auto plants? (2) If it is not, where is it going?

It is not difficult to find out! The steel companies cannot conceal their production because the workers themselves produce the steel and can easily find out how much is produced and where.

But other workers ship the steel. Truck drivers and railroad workers transport it. Other workers receive it at the point of delivery. Where is the steel? Let the workers find out where it goes and AT WHAT PRICE?

How is that possible? Carry out the program of action proposed by the Workers Party! Form committees of consumers and workers in each industry to control production, to investigate the origin and destination of all shipments, and to probe into the prices of production and the prices of sales.

Ben Hall Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 22 July 2020