B.J. Widick Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Wilson

Consolidated Aircraft Uses AFL Union
to Block CIO Organization March

(February 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 7, 17 February 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LOS ANGELES – The aircraft companies have only one real weapon left with which lto stave off the victorious drive of the CIO in this area: the AFL machinists’ union. And the companies are using it.

This last week some of the shocking collusion between the companies and the AFL against militant industrial unionism came out when the CIO filed charges against the Consolidated Aircraft Co. before the NLRB.

One foreman, under company orders, offered a worker wearing a CIO button a ten cent per hour raise if he would take off the button. When he refused to sell himself, he was laid off because of “lack of work,” although that very department was hiring 45 men a week.

Other foremen have gone around offering a five cent an hour raise to men who join the AFL and take off their CIO buttons.

The AFL machinists’ union has a contract at Consolidated. It was arranged from the top without the knowledge of many workers. It was “won” in something of the manner by which William Green hopes to get a contract from Henry Ford. In fact, Consolidated is closely tied up with the Ford Motor Co. now.

The AFL sells itself to the aircraft manufacturer by confining its “demands” to a few score high skilled workers who are given raises, while the other workers get nothing. That’s the way it worked out in Consolidated.

Now the company and the AFL union see that, unless a few more workers are given individual benefits, the CIO will take over, for the CIO has a base there. So a few more bread crumbs will be tossed around.

Only the competition of the CIO has aroused the AFL leaders from their lethargy and indifference to the plight of the industrial workers.

Unless all present signs fail, however, the workers in Consolidated are wise to what is really going on. And the CIO drive which is to be followed by a demand for an election will bring real results in the shape of a bona fide union for the entire plant workers.

Unionists, blinded by too long association in the craft-dominated AFL, will view the CIO drive in Consolidated as a raid against an established union. That’s the bunk.

The CIO is the progressive section of the American labor movement precisely because it bases itself on and tries to organize mainly the industrial workers. The aircraft workers belong in that category.

B.J. Widick Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 28.11.2012