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B.J. Widick

In the Labor Unions

(30 May 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 37, 30 May 1939, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Those unionists who did not get stirred up about the Apex court decision which fined a C.I.O. union over one million dollars certainly got a real jolt this week.

Republic Steel’s suit against the C.I.O. for alleged damage of $7,500,000 awoke labor to the danger existing to its welfare in the present legal and court system.

The impudence of the Republic Steel company is matchless. Its notorious strike-breaking record, especially in the “Little Steel” strike, is well-known. Back in 1936 this company broke another strike. We remember vividly the company thugs rolling out of the plant in a huge armored truck, blasting away at the picket line with shot guns and tear gas, and then the clubbing that ensued.

This scab company finds a legal pretext to sue the C.I.O. Obviously the purpose of this move is to harass and worry the C.I.O.

Goodyear Gall

Even more arrogant is the action this week of Goodyear Tire & Rubber company’s lawyers at the National Labor Relations Board hearings on charges made by Local 2, United Rubber Workers of America.

Goodyear has figured out a clever technique for using the N.L.R.B. hearings against the union.

The company stunt is based on the fact that the Supreme Court ruled sit-downs illegal. Goodyear is therefore claiming that the many sit-downs in its Akron plants not only were illegal but also hurt company business (which would legally call for damages.)

Goodyear’s reply to the N.L.R.B. charges was so bitter and threatening that it created a furor at the opening of the hearings.

Trial Examiner T.E. Dudley postponed the hearings for a week while he thought over the company attorneys’ request to introduce evidence going back to the famous 1935 sit-down strike.

Interlocking Directors

Leading capitalists on the Republic Steel Co. board of directors also are on Goodyear’s Board. Tom Girdler is an influential member of Goodyear’s Board. When the N.L.R.B. called the hearings on Republic steel it caught the company unprepared. In the Goodyear case, ample time was spent in preparing the case and above all, a smart set of lawyers were hired by Goodyear to handle the hearings. Republic Steel saw to this.

Akron’s leading anti-union firm, Thomas, Buckingham, Doolittle and Company, were hired to defeat the union. They know more about Akron labor history than the lawyers of the N.L.R.B.

The interlocking directorates of Republic Steel and Goodyear show another thing. The suit against the C.I.O. for $7,500,000, the fight of Goodyear at the N.L.R.B. hearings, the preparation for a suit against the U.R.W.A., all these anti-union moves come directly from Wall Street interests owning rubber and steel plants.

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Last updated: 15 January 2016