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Joseph Keller

Trade Union Notes

(23 March 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 12, 23 March 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Capitalist Press and Sour Grapes

One interesting sidelight of the GM strike victory is the attempt of the anti-labor press to “explain” away the gains of the GM workers and to minimize the significance of their well-earned triumph.

Typically, the N.Y. Times, March 14, carefully pointed out that “It was apparent that the wage increase of 18½ cents an hour and other concessions fell short of the original demand for almost twice as much.” It gloated because the “net take-home pay on a 40-hour week will be less than it was at the old rate during the war.”

True enough, the GM workers didn’t get their full and justified demands. But they came a long way from the demands of the corporation which originally proposed a wage cut in the form of a 45-hour week at straight time, elimination of union security and seniority provisions, and demanded union-busting “company security.”

By their magnificent and unyielding fight the GM workers paved the way for the biggest single wage increase for American labor in its history, frustrated Wall Street’s union-busting offensive, placed an obstacle before the all-out price inflation slated by the auto barons, and forced the mighty General Motors, spearhead of the open- shop offensive, to beat a retreat.

Well, one can hardly blame the capitalist press for exhibiting) an aggravated case of “sour grapes.”

* * *

Judases in Search of a Market

George Morris, hatchetman of the Stalinist Daily Worker, wrote an article called A Market for Judases, in which he bemoaned some “disquieting signs” and “a serious danger within the CIO.”

Said danger, explains Morris, is the “type of degeneration one meets these days” among “certain” union leaders who recently have gone over to the bosses’ camp as highly paid “personnel managers,” “labor relations advisors,” etc.

It is illuminating, however, to examine more closely the three examples cited by Morris. Each – as Morris carefully refrains from stating – went to the Stalinist “finishing school.”

Morris is “nauseated to vomiting” at Edward Cheyfitz, formei head of the CIO Die Casten Union. Cheyfitz has lined up a $15,000-a-year job as “advisor” to Eric Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president. Cheyfitz will be recalled as the lad wha started out as a Young Communist (Stalinist) League member is Toledo, was sent expense-free to the Soviet Union for a couple of years, returned to a cushy job with the Doehler Die Company. He took over the lead of the union, worked his way up to local CIO recording secretary and finally became a key Stalinist trade union functionary. His specialty for many years was baiting “Trotskyites” and sending goon squads against union militants.

When in Ohio, Morris “was told” of “a regional head of another union who suddenly quit” to become “personnel director for the company.” Morris “forgets” to mention this individual’s name, but we will jog his memory.

It was Victor DeCavitch, international vice-president of the CIO United Electrical Workers, and long a leading and notorious Stalinist in the CIO.

The case which most turns Morris’ delicate stomach is that of UAW Vice-President Richard T. Frankensteen. After a career in New York and Miami night clubs, Frankensteen recently announced he was contemplating accepting one of the “fine opportunities” being offered him by Big Business firms.

Although Frankensteen was never a Stalinist, he and the Stalinists maintained a reactionary bloc for years in the UAW. Together they sought to put over “incentive pay,” expel militants, and conducted a super-jingo wartime policy. He is a Stalinist “correspondence school” graduate.

These graduates of the Stalinist school of betrayal have merely followed the examples of their teachers, like Earl Browder, 16 years the head of the Communist (Stalinist) Party, and Louis Budenz, former editor of the Daily Worker.

Morris himself acts like an accomplice who tries to cover himself up by appearing as the most “zealous” hunter of his fellow criminals.

Yes, indeed! The labor movement is well-advised to look out for Judases – especially Stalinist Judases – in search of a market.

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