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David Coolidge

With the Labor Unions – On the Picket Line

(26 August 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 20, 26 August 1940, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Recipe of the Month: Scalloped Scab


Mix well the above ingredients for 16 months and 27 seconds. Take one Simpering Sal or Scissorbill Sam. Roll well in the mixture. Broil, boil, stew, bake, roast and fry for three days. The result will be a Scalloped Scab, utterly delectable to the fastidious palate of any anti-union employer.

The above was taken from Loose Ends, shop paper of Local 15 TWU (CIO).

Bill Green Should Learn An Old Principle

President Green of the AFL has decided that the proposed amendments to the National Labor Relations Act may not be good for the labor movement, the AFL included. Green has been before the Senate Labor Committee and is reported to have said that the amendments in their present form “strike at the fundamentals” of the act. He prefers that the act “remain as it is” rather than accept the Smith amendments.

Green says he is now against replacing the present board with a new three man board and separating the board’s administrative and judicial functions. Also, he is opposed to the amendment which would remove 300,000 agricultural workers from the provisions of the act. He is also against those amendments which limit back pay allowances to strikers and which give the right to employers to discharge any striker who engaged in violence!

This is all well and good. Better to wake up late than never, but what did Bill Green think he was doing when he was playing around with the bosses’ stooges in the House who were hell bent for changing the Wagner Act? He thought in his simple way that he was hitting at the CIO. He was; but he was also stabbing his own AFL in the back. Big business is out to destroy the Wagner Act completely. They are afraid to approach the question directly so they attempt to do the job through an amendment here and there. They depended on the AFL to help them. Green fell into the trap.

There is an old principle of the labor movement that you don’t help the bosses against another labor organization or against any worker. The conflict between the AFL and CIO must be settled by the workers without the “aid” of the bosses and their deputies in Congress.

There Are Too Many Mike Tighes Still About

“Mike” Tighe, old time leader of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers, is dead. Mike started to work in the steel mills at 10, was a member of the first steel union ever organized, and was active in the labor movement for 57 years. Mike was a conservative. He was not very friendly to strikes. When asked once how he would describe the “Amalgamated” he said that it was “progressive conservative.” He was a type of leader that should not have a very prominent place in the labor movement today and in the future. That is, if the workers are to take their proper place as the leaders in the struggle for the emancipation of mankind. Tighe didn’t do much toward bringing this about. Under his leadership the “Amalgamated” wasn’t even active in the organization of the steel workers. When the CIO took over, Mike’s union had about 4,000 members.

A union leadership has several important functions to perform:

  1. Hold the union together; increase its membership to the end that it becomes a mass organization.
  2. Provide for the education of the membership in the principles, history and tactics of the trade union movement.
  3. Insist on full internal democracy and the democratic rights of every last member.
  4. Fight against every reactionary force in the union and for a militant program and militant action against the boss whenever the situation demands such action.

The majority of trade union leaders today are not living up to these standards. There are far too many Mike Tighes among them.

Workers Can Handle Vigilante Outfits

A group of 70 industrial and business leaders in Buffalo have formed an organization to “assist the police department in the event of a national emergency.” They will consider such subjects as “scientific crime detection, procedure in questioning suspects and witnesses and – POLICING STRIKES AND INDUSTRIAL DISTURBANCES.”

The last point of course is the significant one. The “scientific crime detection” of course is plain hooey. This is a budding vigilante outfit whose main activity will be strike-breaking and acting as stool-pigeons. All this, of course, in league with the Buffalo police.

There is nothing new about this, except that now this anti-union activity will take place under the cover of rampant “patriotism” and alleged upholding of the “defense” program. Many more of these outfits will be formed around the country in industrial centers. The workers need not he alarmed however, because 8,000,000 of them are organized in trade unions. They have had experience before with vigilantes, union-busters and strikebreakers. The workers know what to do.

Hopson Didn’t Clip the Coupon Clippers

Some weeks back we had something to say about one Howard Hopson, big shot, in the Associated Gas and Electric Company, who is charged by his government with stealing $20,000,000 from Associated Gas and Electric. Now it turns out that not only is Hopson a big time crook, but also a cheap petty thief. Hopson stole money from the company to buy himself a cigar. He stole from the company to pay for a license for his brother-in-law’s dog. He stole from the company to pay dues in his clubs and to buy topsoil for his lawns.

How did Hopson get away with all this? What about all the brains at the head of business that we hear so much about; these big shots up from, the ranks and. the Harvard School of Business Administration? These are the guys who tell us that the workers can’t operate industrial establishments and run the government. These things must be done by the Hopsons. We know at least one answer to the above questions. The big stockholders in Associated Gas and Electric don’t give a damn so long as they get theirs; so long as their interest and dividends are paid. They know that the twenty millions came out of the hides of the workers employed by the company, and the workers who use the company’s gas and electricity.

Full Steam Ahead in Organizing Ford!

Henry Ford, Commander-in-Chief of several private armies of bull necks and gorillas has been ordered by the Labor Board to disband these sluggers and gunmen. He must also dismantle his arsenal where he manufactures blackjacks for his armed forces. Furthermore, he must post a notice for sixty days notifying the workers in his plants that he has disbanded his goon squads, ceased labor spying and interference with the union activities of his employees. This pious old scoundrel, with all his colonial antiques and McGuffy Readers, is responsible for the maiming, clubbing and murder of numerous employees in his plants. The hymn-singing old hypocrite maintained a constant reign of terror. His plants are virtual concentration camps with the speed-up, the snooping and the violence.

The UAW’s campaign to organize Ford should go full steam ahead. Every plant should be raked by a rapid organizing campaign. That is the only way to enforce the decisions of the Labor Board.

These Men Need a Strong Union

Despite the fact that the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (CIO) got a majority in the Pittsburgh plant of Westinghouse Airbrake Co. over three years ago the company refused to bargain collectively with the union. The NLRB has ordered the company to negotiate a written contract if the union requests it. The chief engineer of the company had no complaint to make concerning the union but he preferred to deal in a fatherly way with each employee by private consultation. We’ll wager that this chief engineer has been very busy the past three years operating a little company union. We’ll also wager that he has made many speeches about the rights of the individual worker to bargain directly with the boss, and about unions taking away his rights and charging him high dues. The 4,800 production and maintenance workers now should get together solidly in a strong industrial onion for higher wages and shorter hours.

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