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Jack Wilson

Green in Maneuver at Meet

Expect A.F.L. Head to Repeat Auto Union Scandal

(14 September 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 38, 14 September 1935, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).


Akron, Ohio.A smashing victory against Green and Claherty was won when delegates to the rubber workers’ union convention by 44 to 9 votes rejected a resolution asking Green to appoint officers. Green said he accepted the mandate as final, and left town. He pointed out that the rubber workers had also rejected his financial support and advice – a hint of what is to come. The Claherty camp is now working to get him elected president “legally,” while progressive forces are concentrating against him.

* * *

AKRON, Ohio. – The rubber workers’ convention to form an international union here this Thursday was expected to parallel closely the auto-workers’ recent convention at Detroit with the A.F. of L. bureaucracy headed by William Green again usurping all workers’ rights and forcing a reactionary leadership on the new international.

Exactly as Francis J. Dillon, auto organizer, kept secret all news about delegates, proceedings, etc., of the auto convention, so Coleman C. Claherty, A.F. of L. rubber organizer, has not revealed any facts about the oncoming rubber convention.

Plan Rigid Control

William Green has publicly announced that the new rubber workers international will be set up under A.F. of L. control; in other words he will force into office his lackeys despite any fight the rubber workers make against his dictatorship.

This will be done under the guise of “the rubber workers need the advice and counsel of experienced leaders in the formative period of the international,” so says Green. In practice it means a continuation of the bankrupt leadership of Claherty and his assistants whose policies have reduced the unions from over a 30,000 membership to a scant few thousand.

Another false argument to rationalize the dictatorship of the bureaucracy is the same one used in Detroit. “The A. F of L. executive council will finance the convention and pay the officers,” Green says. After he said that in Detroit the auto-workers found they had to pay the bills.

Seek to Appoint Officials

An international charter carrying a provision that the A.F. of L. executive council through Green can appoint all officers “temporarily” will, no doubt, be presented by Green for adoption with the warning, “take this or nothing.”

Against this provision will be centered all the strength of the progressives. If this fails, and it seems probable, a fight will ensue to prevent Green from automatically appointing the officers.

Another move being watched for is that Green’s henchmen will support George Roberts, an assistant to Claherty, for the presidency since he is a delegate from Goodrich local and his election would remove the unsavory stench caused by Green in Detroit through his flagrant methods. Such an action, however, would not bind any of the rubber workers who expect it.

Industrial Unionism

Industrial unionism is the second major issue before the delegates. There are seven craft unions in the rubber industry. Since some of them are very weak and virtually inconsequential, it would not be above Green to assimilate one or two of them in the international union as a sop to the workers. This depends on how strong the opposition to the bureaucracy becomes.

Plans to carry a protest to the national convention of the American Federation of Labor are being made in the event Green and his cohorts use the outrageous methods which marked their actions at the auto-workers convention.

The rubber workers likewise feel certain that the convention will be packed with delegates from locals miraculously revived by Claherty out of town in order to assure the bureaucrats of automatic control of the sessions.

Rubber Workers Aroused

The indignation aroused by Green’s treacherous methods in Detroit has been reflected among the workers here who have seized eagerly all reports from the auto-workers convention and most of the delegates realize what sort of a convention they are facing.

The ample warning received by the delegates from the experience of autoworkers will probably hare a two-fold effect. Oil in the form of minor concessions to the rubber workers will be used by Green to smooth the “troubled waters.” A crystallization of more anti-bureaucracy forces will strengthen the small progressive bloc elected as delegates.

Feeling for an independent union has not been entirely allayed as rubber workers recall vividly to mind the two-year history of their struggle for an international union which threatens to be climaxed with another betrayal.

Expulsions in the spring of 1934 thwarted a move for an International union. Then the United Rubber-workers Council was formed at a national convention to head the unions but Claherty became president and again kept the reins of control.

Now after months of delay, a convention is to be held which all indications say will be another “Detroit affair.”

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