Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry

Written: William Z. Foster
First Published: Workers Library Publishers, Inc. October, 1936
Transcription/Markup: 2019 by Philip Mooney
Public Domain: Marxist Internet Archive 2019. This work is completely free.

This document was used by New York Amazon workers in 2022 to successfully establish their right to unionise.

"Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry” is written with the object of aiding the most active workers in the steel industry and steel workers generally in organizing the industry in the present campaign. There can be no doubt that a mastery of the principles developed in this pamphlet, principles based on practical experiences, would result in a greater efficiency on the part of all those now engaged in organising the industry. It is really a manual of organization methods in the organization of the unorganized in the mass production industries.

The organizational principles and methods here developed can be easily adapted to problems of organizing other mass production and large-scale industries such as auto, rubber, chemical, textile, etc. There is a great poverty in the labor movement of such literature. This poverty is felt also in labor schools. This manual should prove very popular for trade union courses in the various workers' labor schools. Let us hope that this is a beginning of the development of such literature to fill the need in the present growth of the trade union movement.

Jack Stachel

Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry

By William Z. Foster

National Chairman of the Communist Party and Leader of the 1919 Steel Strike


I. General
II. Organization Forms and Functions
    1. Structure of Organizing Forces
    2. Structure of the Union
    3. Functions and Tasks
III. Mass Agitation
    1. Slogans
    2. Publicity and Printed Matter
    3. Radio
    4. Mass Meetings, Demonstrations, etc
IV. Mass Organization
    1. Individual Recruitment
    2. Open Recruiting
    3. Recruitment in Struggle
V. Special Group Work
    1. American Whites
    2. Negroes
    3. Foreign-Born
    4. Youth
    5. Women
VI. Company Unions
VII. Special Organizational Work
    1. Unemployed—W.P.A.
    2. Fraternal Organizations
    3. Churches
    4. Other Organizations


The methods outlined below of doing organization work in the steel industry are based upon the general principles of organization strategy and tactics developed in my pamphlet entitled: Unionizing Steel. They embody the lessons of the 1919 strike and of other steel struggles and they are suggested to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee for its consideration. The general principles in my pamphlet may be very briefly summarized as follows:

1. The organization work must be done by a working combination of the progressive and Left-wing forces in the labor movement. It is only these elements that have the necessary vision, flexibility and courage to go forward with such an important project as the organization of the 500,000 steel workers in the face of the powerful opposition of the Steel Trust and its capitalist allies. As far as the Right-wing reactionaries (crystallized in the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor) are concerned, they will not and cannot organize the steel workers. In 1936, even as in 1919, their attitude is one of sabotage and obstruction.

2. The organization campaign must be based upon the principles of trade union democracy. That is, every effort must be made to draw the widest possible ranks of the workers into the activities of the leading, decisive committees, and also into the work of the organizers and the union generally. Only with such democracy, or systematic mass participation, can the great task of building the union be successfully accomplished.

3. The organization movement must be industrial and national in character. That is, (a) it must include every category of workers in the steel industry, not merely a thin stratum of skilled workers at the top; and (b) the drive must be carried on energetically and simultaneously in every steel center, not simply here and there spasmodically in individual mills or steel centers.

4. The campaign must develop a strong discipline among the organizers and workers in order to prevent the movement from being wrecked by company-inspired local strikes and other disruptive tendencies. The necessary discipline cannot be attained by issuing drastic orders, but must be based upon wide education work among the rank and file and the development of confidence among them in the cause and ultimate victory of the movement.

5. The organization campaign must be a fighting movement. It must realize that if the steel workers are to be organized they can only rely upon themselves and the support they get from other workers. While every advantage should be taken of all political institutions and individuals to defend the steel workers’ civil rights and to advance their interests generally, it would be the worst folly to rely upon Roosevelt, Earle or other capitalist politicians to adopt measures to organize the steel workers. There is every probability that only through a great strike can the steel workers establish their union and secure their demands, and this perspective must be constantly borne in mind.

6. Although the steel workers must not place their faith in capitalist politicians, they should utilize every means to develop working class political activity and organization in the steel areas. Especially there should be organized local Labor parties in the steel towns and thus foundations laid for an eventual Farmer-Labor Party.

7. The movement must be highly self-critical. That is, there should be a constant re-examination of the organization methods used. Only in such a way can the necessary adjustments be made in tactics to fit the different situations. And only thus can the workers and organizers avoid defeat and pessimism and be given a feeling of confidence and sure success. It is a fatal mistake to try to apply blue-print methods of organization to an industry that presents so many and varied situations as steel. Flexibility in the work is a first essential, and to achieve this requires drastic self-criticism.

The situation in the steel industry is now highly favorable and if the organization work is prosecuted energetically, with due regard for the mistakes and weaknesses of past strikes and struggles, it will succeed. The present campaign of the Committee for Industrial Organization, of which John L. Lewis is the head, has many advantages over 1919. The industry is increasing production, the political situation is more favorable for maintaining the civil rights of the workers to meet and organize, the workers are in a more militant mood, the right of the workers to organize is more generally recognized, the campaign is being carried on upon the basis of one industrial union instead of 24 crafts, the illusions about company unionism are less now than ever, the campaign has the solid support of a dozen powerful trade unions, there arc ample funds for the organizing work, the language problem is not as severe as in earlier years, the radio now enables the message of unionism to evade the employers’ censorship and to be carried directly into the steel workers’ home. And, lastly, there is now in the field a strong Communist Party (which was not so in 1919) that is lending all its support to the success of the campaign.

The steel workers have every reason to enter into the present campaign with full confidence of victory. Now is the time to break down the open-shop slavery that has cursed the steel industry ever since the defeat of the heroic Homestead strikers in 1892. Now is the opportunity to build the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers into a great union, powerful enough to bring a happier life to the steel workers and their families.

I. General

1. The steel workers cannot be organized by agitation alone ; it requires thorough organization work to unionize them.

2. The work must be coordinated and planned—per organizer, per locality, per day, per week, etc.

3. Not mechanical blue-print tactics, but flexibility. The degree to which the proposals below can be applied depends on local conditions; the workers’ mood and strength of organization, the attitude of the bosses and government towards the campaign, etc.

4. The organization work must be carried out upon the basis of an energetic drive, not spontaneously and spasmodically, or merely a slow, gradual growth; sags in activity and loss of momentum are very dangerous in the drive by weakening the confidence of workers.

5. A strong discipline should prevail all through the campaign, but each unit must develop a healthy initiative, based on a vigorous trade union democracy.

6. A central aim must always be to draw the largest possible masses into direct participation in all the vital activities of the union ; membership recruitment, formulation of demands, union elections, petitions, pledge votes, strike votes, strike organization, etc. This gives them a feeling that the union is actually their movement.

7. Self-criticism at all times is absolutely indispensable to the working out of proper tactics.

8. High morale among the organizers and enthusiasm and confidence among the workers are indispensable conditions to the success of the work.

9. Organizers do not know how to organize by instinct, but must be carefully taught.

10. Every organizer and unit in the campaign must be activated at all times. The whole organizing force should move forward as one machine to the accomplishment of its goal of building the union.

11. Hard work and sobriety are basic essentials for success. Chair-warmers and irresponsibles should be made to feel unwelcome in the organizing crew.

12. Every step taken in the campaign must have as its central purpose the direct recruitment of new members. The main slogan is: “Join the Union”.

II. Organizational Forms and Functions

1. Structure of Organizing Forces.

The organizing force of the steel campaign should be formed on the following general basis:

(a) The full-time and part-time organizers in the localities and districts should be formed into definitie committees, each with a secretary and with sub-committees for publicity, Negro, youth, women and defense. They should hold regular weekly meetings at definite times and places.

(b) A corps of volunteer organizers should be created, carefully selected to avoid unreliable elements. Each paid organizer should be commissioned as a captain of a crew of volunteer organizers and made immediately responsible for their work

(c) Each local of the Amalgamated Association should appoint an organizing committee of several members.

(d) In the company unions informal organizing committees should be set up to bring the company union membership systematically into the Amalgamated Association.

(e) Organizing committees should be set up in the various steel mills and in their departments, functioning either openly or privately, as conditions dictate. These should become the basis for future local unions.

(f) The Central Labor Unions and other unions (especially the railroad organizations) should set up local committees to support the steel drive and to organize their own trades. The steel drive should aim at 100 per cent organization of all workers in the steel towns.

(g) Similar supporting committees should also be formed among fraternal organizations, churches and elsewhere, where active sympathizers be found for the steel campaign.

(h) These local union, mill and other organizing committees should meet together weekly (so far as is practical) jointly with the paid and volunteer organizers.

(i) One or more national conferences of all the local unions and organizing forces should be held to coordinate the whole campaign of organization.

(j) Periodic meetings of organizers should be held to study concrete methods of mass agitation and organization.

2. Structure of the Union.

(a) Local unions should be formed on the principle of one mill, one union. In large mills the local union should be sub-divided into branches according to main departments, but the local union branches should be kept linked together by a broad representative committee.

(b) In the localities and districts the local steel unions in the several mills should be joined together into Steel Councils based upon a broad rank-and-file representation.

(c) The obsolete constitution of the Amalgamated Association should be adapted in practice to permit of this form of departmentalized industrial union.

3. Functions and Tasks.

(a) Organizers should not work haphazardly. They should each be given very specific tasks and held responsible for their fulfillment, specified individuals being charged with the work in certain mills, language groups, company unions, etc.

(b) The principles of socialist competition should be introduced to stimulate the work of the organizers, to create friendly organizing rivalry between worker and worker, department and department, mill and mill, town and town

(c) The greatest care should be taken to guard against spies and provocateurs entrenching themselves in the organizing crew and official leadership of the union but the organizers should avoid starting a “spy scare”. Spies that are uncovered should be exposed to the workers.

(d) Care should be taken to protect all lists of members. Loss of such lists and other important documents to company sources is highly demoralizing to the workers, and careless organizers should be disciplined.

(e) An absolutely strict control should be maintained over the finances, as loose financial methods always constitute a grave danger in large campaigns.

(f) The headquarters of the organizing committee and the union should be located conveniently to the mills, but not directly under the eyes of the mill officials.

(g) Organized protection of organizers, officers, local headquarters, etc., should be provided for in local situations of acute struggle.

(h) All organizers should submit detailed weekly reports on their activities.

(i) Organizers and other union officials handling funds should be regularly bonded with a bonding company.

III. Mass Agitation

The main objectives of the educational work should be to liquidate fear and pessimistic moods among the workers ; to convince them of the necessity for trade unionism to win their demands and the possibility for success in the present campaign ; to rouse the enthusiasm, confidence and fighting spirit of the workers ; to win public sentiment behind the campaign.

1. Slogans.

The mass of workers support the drive and join the union in order to improve their conditions by securing the satisfaction of their most urgent economic demands. This elementary fact should never be lost sight of. The whole campaign of agitation must be based upon the popularization of the sloganized major demands of the workers, together with their local demands. The whole steel industry should be saturated with these slogans.

The economic demands of the union should be put forth immediately, but finally formulated and adopted at a broad national rank-and-file conference and then ratified by huge local mass meetings, pledge voted, etc., everywhere in the steel areas.

2. Publicity and Printed Matter.

The publicity material should be short and concrete, with concise facts about conditions in the industry and arguments for organization. Occasionally it should be printed in the most important foreign languages, the foreign-born workers liking to read their native languages even when they speak and understand english.

(a) Handbills should be issued regularly by the local organizing committees and upon occasion by the various local steel unions.

(b) Bulletins should be issued regularly by the local organizing committees giving local news of the movement, and especially stressing the progress of the campaign in other localities.

(c) House-to-house distribution on a mass scale should be organized for handbills, bulletins and other literature.

(d) A circulation as extensive as possible should be secured for the weekly paper, Steel Labor.

(e) Shop papers should be issued wherever practicable by A.A. local unions.

(f) Advertisements in the local papers are valuable and should be used regularly for important announcements to the steel workers.

(g) Every means should be exercised to secure systematically favorable write-ups in the local press on the campaign.

(h) Stickers are effective, but care must be exercised that they do not become a nuisance and antagonize public opinion, by being stuck up indiscriminately.

(i) The wearing of union buttons in the plants is a very important organizing force, but care must be taken that it be not introduced until there is sufficient mass support and that the proper time is seized upon for its introduction, in order to prevent discharges of workers.

(j) Advertisements in movies in small towns are often practical and effective.

(k) Posters and window-cards should also be utilized on special occasions.

3. Radio.

The radio is an extremely important means for organizing workers in an industry such as steel where the company maintains terrorism to prevent workers from attending open meetings. The radio takes the union message directly into the workers’ homes, thus avoiding the censorship of the bosses’ spies.

(a) Local broadcasts should be organized weekly or semi-weekly in all important steel towns as one of the basic means of mass agitation.

(b) Where radio time cannot be secured in the given steel localities, often the objective can be gained by using the radio in nearby towns.

(c) Radio listeners’ clubs should be systematically organized on a wide scale, as many steel workers have no radios.

(d) Radio speeches should be carefully prepared and should always give a direct stimulus to joining the union.

4. Mass Meetings, Demonstrations, etc.

The actual gathering together of workers in mass meetings and demonstrations is fundamental to the carrying on of a successful organization campaign. It gives the workers a confidence bred of their own numbers, and it enables the organizers to reach them personally with their educational appeal and organization methods. But such meetings, to achieve the best success, must be of the broadest mass character. This means that they have to be thoroughly prepared, and all the batteries of publicity, organizers, etc., should be coordinated and stimulated for their organization. The entire agitation among the workers should aim directly to culminate in the holding of such mass meetings. One good mass meeting is better than two dozen indifferent ones.

(a) The general mass meetings should be called not only under the auspices of the local organizing committees but also on a mill or department scale by the local steel unions and in special cases also by the Central Labor Unions and other sympathetic organizations.

(b) Meetings should be held especially in popular neighborhood halls, where the workers’ fraternal lodges meet, where the workers dance, where their weddings take place, and where they are generally accustomed to going.

(c) Every effort should be made to bring the maximum number of women and children to the steel mass meetings.

(d) The question of mass meetings in company towns and in localities where the right of assembly is curtailed presents special problems. The danger of discharge of the workers makes it necessary that if mass meetings are held in such localities they must first have a broad basis of organization among the workers, and a wide preliminary publicity.

(e) At mass meetings it is important to get prominent out-of-town speakers to address the workers.

(f) Mill gate meetings should be held regularly at noon-time and at change-shifts where local conditions permit.

(g) Very effective are small delegations of steel workers form one town or district to another and large mass delegations of workers from organized mills to unorganized mills.

(h) Parades in steel towns are very effective in stimulating the workers, provided the parades are well organized and have real mass support. Auto demonstrations are easily organized and are effective agitational means.

(i) Music is important in a mass organizing campaign. Sound trucks should be freely employed in the mill gate and meetings. An extensive use should be made of bands in mass meetings and street demonstrations. Platform singing should also be employed and mass singing wherever possible.

(j) Social affairs such as smokers, boxing matches, card parties, dances, picnics, various sports, etc., should be organized to establish contacts with the workers, especially in localities where more open mass work is difficult.

IV. Mass Organization

1. Individual Recruitment.

Individual recruiting is the base of all immediate organizational work in the steel industry. It is fundamentally important in every steel center and may be the only form for the time being in company union towns and elsewhere where terroristic conditions prevail. An elementary aim in the campaign should be to activate the greatest numbers of workers to do this individual button-hole work. The campaign can succeed only if thousands of workers can be organized to help directly in the enrollment of members. This work cannot be done by organizers alone. Their main task is to organize the most active workers among the masses in great numbers to do the recruiting. The tendency common in organization campaigns to leave the signing of new members solely to the organizers and to recruitment in open meetings should be avoided.

(a) The chain system of organization is one of the best means of individual recruitment. By this method workers undertake personally to organize their friends or to furnish their names so that they can be approached by other organizers. There should be a close check-up kept on all this work.

(b) The list system can also be effective in difficult situations. By this method trusted workers, volunteer organizers, women, etc., get lists upon which to collect the signatures and fees of workers in various organizations, etc.

(c) Individual recruitment in all its forms should be organized, as far as possible, according to department and mill.

(d) Thorough organizational arrangements should be made for signing up new members at social affairs radio listening groups, small home meetings, in fraternal lodges, etc.

(e) Key men in shops, fraternal organizations, etc., should be given close attention and all efforts made to sign them up, but this work should not be done at the expense of broad organization work among the masses.

(f) In closed company towns and elsewhere where terroristic conditions prevail, secret methods of organization work are often imperative to prevent demoralizing discharge cases. Irresponsible exposure of the workers to discharge must be strictly avoided. In such cases, union organizers can often work temporarily as insurance agents, peddlers, etc.

2. Open Recruiting.

(a) Open recruitment should be carried on at all mass meetings, except where special conditions prevail that may expose the workers to discharge. Well-organized crews of clerks should be on hand to sign up the new members, issuing receipts on the spot. Often large numbers of potential members are lost through neglecting these elementary preparations for their enrollment.

(b) Local unions should hold mass meetings of the workers in their respective mills and sign up new members. There should also be special meetings held for the various numerically important crafts where necessary. Often workers will join at such meetings when they will not sign up at large, open mass meetings. It is very important from an organizational standpoint that the local unions and their branches be set up as soon as practical and a regular dues system established. This impresses the workers with seriousness and stability of the movement. Merely signing up a worker does not organize him. He must be brought into a local union, given a union card, got to paying dues, attending union meetings, etc.

3. Recruitment in Struggle.

(a) The presentation of local demands to the company must be utilized to facilitate organization work. If the demands are granted, the workers feel they have won the victory and can easily be brought into the unions by active organization work ; if on the other hand the demands are rejected, the resultant anger among the workers can also be utilized readily for organization building.

(b) Departmental and local strikes in this early stage in the organization campaign may be very dangerous. They should be avoided, especially in mills of the biggest steel corporations and now when the union is still weak. Where strikes occur, no time should be lost in formally enlisting all the workers into the union and every effort should be put forth to win the struggle.

(c) Discharge cases for union activity should be taken care of immediately. Delay is very injurious to the workers’ morale. While a vigorous fight for the reinstatement of the discharged workers goes on, these workers should be given relief in some form. Care should be exercised in the development of the organization work in the shops not to provoke discharges.

(d) Defense cases should also receive immediate attention, as it is demoralizing to the mass of workers to see their militant elements go to jail and nothing done for them. Especially vigorous campaigns must be made against all attempts at deportation of foreign-born workers. All this emphasizes the need to build the I.L.D. in the steel centers.

(e) In case of a stubborn suppression of the right of assembly in steel toms, the union forces, in addition to using every legal channel for the restoration of their rights, should not hesitate at opening a free speech fight on the streets to force the city authorities to grant the workers halls. Such activity greatly awakens the workers and prepares them for organization and it should be supported by a very active recruitment drive. Sometimes it is necessary to buy either buildings or lots in order to secure meeting places.

(f) The boycott can often be effectively used against hostile businessmen and professionals in steel towns and thereby to stimulate the organization campaign. In districts where the A.A. is strong (and there are well-established unions of miners, railroad men, etc.), the boycott can also be successfully applied against anti-union newspapers, Chambers of Commerce and city administrations.

(g) In the election campaign all candidates should be called upon to state their position regarding the steel campaign in their public meetings.

(h) The organization forces should take up concretely the question of placing demands upon the city and state authorities in connection with civic rights, etc.

V. Special Group Work

1. American Whites.

This group is highly strategical in the steel industry, comprising most of the skilled workers, and also occupying a key position in the social life of the steel communities. Every effort must be made to win them. Special efforts should be made to fight against employer-cultivated craft union, company union, anti-foreigner, anti-Negro and anti-Red tendencies among these workers. Active work should be carried on in their many organizations such as the American Legion, various fraternal orders, etc. Among the organizing crew there should be many American-born skilled steel workers.

2. Negroes.

It is absolutely essential that the large number of Negroes in the industry be organized. For this, special Negro organizers are imperative. Special demands for Negroes must be formulated and widely popularized. Prominent Negro speakers, including those of the National Negro Congress, should be brought into the steel districts to address the meetings. When necessary, special meetings of Negro steel workers should be called. The Negroes should become members of the regular local A.A. unions with full rights. Close attention should be paid to bringing them into responsible official posts in the unions and in the organizing crew. There should also be immediately developed an active campaign against the prevalent jim-crow practices in the steel towns and steel industry. Local organizations of Negroes should be enlisted in support of the campaign.

3. Foreign-Born.

The foreign-born workers still form a very large mass of the steel workers and require special methods by the organizers. There should be organizers speaking the principal foreign languages of the mills. Literature must be issued in these main languages. Special methods should be put forth to enroll the militants among the foreign-born workers and systematic recruitment work in the many fraternal and other organizations that exist among this group of workers.

4. Youth.

In order to organize this highly important section of the working masses in the steel industry it is necessary to use certain special methods in addition to the system of the general campaign. Youth demands should be formulated and widely popularized. A corps of youth organizers should be developed. Youth committees should be set up in the organizing crew and in the local unions. Special meetings and mass delegate conferences of the youth should be held and attention given to cultivating sports activities of various kinds among the youth. Systematic organizational campaigns should be directed to the youth members of the Y.M.C.A. and such organizations. The connections of the American Youth Congress should be utilized to organize the youth throughout the steel industry.

5. Women.

The women relatives of the steel workers are a vital factor in the steel industry. They should be organized into Ladies’ Auxiliaries of the A.A. The most militant among them should be drawn into all the activities of the general organizing force. Special meetings and mass delegate conferences of women should be held with prominent speakers, special literature dealing with women’s problems, etc. There should be a corps of women organizers in the field, and the women’s clubs and other organizations in the steel industry should be stirred into constructive activity in the campaign.

The steel corporations will make every effort to destroy the solidarity between the various groups of workers in the steel industry and thus to defeat them all by attempting to divide them upon political, racial, religious and national lines. In order to combat this campaign the essential thing is to keep the question of the economic demands and the need for a solid trade union aggressively in the forefront. Under no circumstances should the campaign leadership allow itself to be dragged from this main line and into abstract racial, religious, national and other questions.

VI. Company Unions

The company unions can with proper methods be developed into a strong force for building the A.A. In this respect the work should be based upon the following general principles:

(a) The organizing crew and A.A. must develop a strong initiative in the industry by an intense advocacy of its slogans and by very active organization work. In this manner the union must be made the center of all movements of the workers against the employers. To develop such an initiative by the union forces is fundamental. Only in this way can the union crystallize the discontent of the workers into union organization and reap the full advantage and credit for such concessions as may be given by the company either directly to the workers or through the company unions. Otherwise such concessions can have the effect of checking the campaign, as the employers plan them to do.

(b) All activities within the company unions should be undertaken with flexible tactics in the sense of utilizing the company unions as an auxiliary force to the building of the trade union with the aim of eventually incorporating the company union membership into the A.A. In many cases the structure of the company unions can be readily transformed into trade union organizations. Many of the best company union leaders can be developed into leaders of the new steel union.

(c) The general policy in the company unions should be directed towards bringing the masses into conflict with the bosses in order to awaken the workers’ fighting spirit, to demonstrate to even the most backward workers the insufficiency of company unionism, and thus to give a stimulus to the campaign to organize the A.A. and thus to lay the basis for the maximum permanent advantages for the workers. This should be the policy, rather than to make important settlements through the company unions with the bosses and thus to create illusions that the company unions are effective and that the trade union is not necessary.

(d) In submitting major demands to the companies, therefore, the company union should put forward the main union demands and stand by them firmly, thus identifying themselves with the union organizing campaign and making clear to all the need of the trade union to back up these elementary demands. So far as possible all important concessions from the company should be won directly by the trade union or under its immediate leadership, in order to avoid the strengthening of company union illusions.

(e) Minor shop demands should be freely submitted by the company unions, efforts being made at the same time to develop the local company union forces into shop grievance committees of a trade union character working in close cooperation with the A.A. Local strikes over these demands should be avoided, especially in the early stages of the campaign and in the major steel plants.

(f) The organizing crew and the A.A. should give active support to all the major and minor demands submitted by the company unions to the employers. Only in this manner can the workers be made to understand that whatever concessions they may secure through the company union are due primarily to the activity and strength of the trade union organizing campaign.

(g) In case of company union elections tickets should be put up of workers supporting the A.A. and the organizing campaign.

(h) Efforts should be constantly made to have the company unions in practice break with their narrow constitutions by holding mass local and district conferences, by issuing independent papers and bulletins, by meeting off company property, etc.

(i) In cases where such a step is possible and practical, trade union speakers should be invited to company union meetings and vice-versa. Joint trade union-company union conferences should eventually become possible and necessary.

(j) In all this work in the company unions the basic conditions for success are, first, for the organizing forces to maintain in the company union an active campaign of education, exposing the maneuvers of the companies and stressing the need for trade unionism and, secondly, to prosecute in the company unions an aggressive campaign of organization by recruiting key men, setting up of organizing committees in shops, activizing of company union members, drawing in of company union representatives into trade union conferences, meetings, etc.

(k) In working out the company union policy the great danger to avoid is that of the organizing forces of the trade union losing the initiative in the industry and hence the leadership of the masses to the company unions. The main source of this danger would be, first, failure of the union to come forward militantly with the advocacy of its demands and with active organization work, and, second, for the union to take a stand-off attitude towards the company unions and thus fail to give them the necessary leadership.

VII. Special Organization Work

1. Unemployed—W.P.A.

It is important that the strongest bond of solidarity be developed between the employed and unemployed steel workers. This is necessary in order to help the organization work at the present stage of the campaign and also to establish a complete unity in the eventuality of a strike.

(a) The organizing forces and the A.A. should give active support to the demands of the unemployed and W.P.A. workers, and should extend support in building the Workers Alliance and other organizations of the unemployed and relief workers.

(b) Representative unemployed workers should be engaged as steel union organizers and brought into all the trade union organizing committees. Volunteer organizers should also be recruited from among the unemployed and relief workers.

(c) Mass conferences, demonstrations, etc., of the unemployed should be stimulated to popularize and organize the steel campaign.

(d) Representatives of the organizing crew should visit all organizations and meetings of the unemployed in order to make direct connections in behalf of the organizing campaign.

2. Fraternal Organizations.

These organizations play a vital role in the steel towns, especially among the foreign-born workers. It is very important to develop a strong educational and organizational campaign among them. Among the measures necessary are the following:

(a) There should be national and local mass conferences held in which these organizations should recruit members for themselves as well as for the A.A.

(b) There should be committees set up in the local organizations of these fraternal bodies in order systematically to recruit their steel worker members into the A.A.

(c) There should be an exchange of speakers between the meetings of the fraternal organizations and of the union. They should also send fraternal delegates to each other’s conferences and gatherings.

(d) The fraternal organizations should assign organizers to the steel campaign.

(e) The organization campaign should make free use of the halls of the fraternal organizations and, in cases of suppression of civil rights, these may be the only halls available.

(f) Educational material on the steel drive should be systematically furnished to the press of the fraternal organizations.

3. Churches.

In many instances strongly favorable sentiment to the organization campaign will be found among the churches in the steel towns. This should be carefully systematized and utilized.

(a) Organizers should be sent to the churches to speak from the pulpits. If possible, Labor Sundays should be organized, with organizers speaking in many churches simultaneously throughout the whole community.

(b) Sympathetic priests and preachers should be invited to speak at meetings in the organization campaign.

(c) Active work of recruitment should be developed in the local religious organizations, articles should be prepared for publication in the religious press, etc.

(d) In case of suppression of civil rights, meetings may sometimes be held in church premises.

4. Other Organizations.

Steel organizing work along similar lines to the above can and should be carried on effectively in local branches of such organizations as the American Legion, the National Union for Social Justice, the Townsend movement, farmers’ organizations, cooperatives, etc.

In the steel towns the organizing crew should pay special attention to sending speakers into all organizations and meetings of professional and business men, in order to break down so far as possible the opposition of these elements to the organization of the steel workers.