B.J. Widick Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Wilson

11,000 North American Workers Rally
Around “75–10 or Strike!”

(June 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 22, 2 June 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LOS ANGELES – “75–10 or strike!” this battle cry rallied 11,000 workers of the North American Aviation C0. this week as they prepared to struggle for a 75 cent hourly minimum and a general 10 cent blanket raise which the company refused to concede in negotiations.

Hot on the heels of winning a National Labor Relations Board election over the AFL, the CIO Autoworkers Union presented a contract for North American to sign. Besides recognition of the union, the wage demands constituted the major points of the contract around which the fight is centering.

Sentiment among the workers for the CIO increased rapidly when they saw a struggle coming and hundreds upon hundreds of them immediately joined the CIO so that a strike vote polled 5,829 for a strike and only 210 against!

Many of the employees were not eligible to vole yet, since they were just hired, but the overwhelming sentiment for strike was clearly expressed in the balloting. When the NLRB election took place 7,000 men were eligible to vote. The company has hired almost 4,000 more men since then.

Cause of the insistence on a wage increase is obvious. Not only is the cost of living shooting skyward here, fabulous profits that the wage increases won’t even squeeze the company hard.

Richard T. Frankensteen, UAW director of the aviation organization, pointed out that in 1939 North American made $7,600,000 profit, which is 96 per cent of the total capital investment of the company.

In 1940 it made $7,800,000. In other words, in two years it got back all the money put into building the company, and it has the plants free and it is making huge profits from more government orders. It’s better than a gold mine!

So the CIO chose this company as a “must” on its list in the fight to establish a minimum of 75 cents an hour in aircraft.

Victory at North American means further impetus to the CIO aircraft drive at Douglas and other plants and should establish the CIO over the AFL in the industry.

These thoughts were in the minds of the union negotiation committee which was called to Washington on Monday by the Roosevelt Mediation Board. The board will try to sell them a phony compromise.

Back here the ranks are watching closely. “75–10 or strike” is their slogan. They are ready to fight for their rights.

B.J. Widick Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 30.12.2012