Martin Harvey

Chevvy Local Elects
Militant Leadership

(9 October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 41, 9 October 1944, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

DETROIT – The dictator-minded top officialdom of the United Auto Workers, CIO, received another setback last week with the re-election of all officers of Chevrolet Local 235 by acclamation.

The election took place on September 24, almost sixty days after the officers of Local 235 were removed by the International Executive Board and the local suspended because they refused to violate the mandate of the rank and file members of the local and act as strikebreakers.

As was previously reported in Labor Action, the suspension arose out of the strike of Chevrolet workers protesting a company speed-up and the firing of a number of officers and members of the local. At the time, the International Executive Board, carrying out its anti-union no-strike policy, demanded that the men return, to work without a settlement of their grievances. The membership of Local 235 voted overwhelmingly to stay out until their demands were met and the officers of the local agreed to abide by the decision of the membership.

The top officers of the union, R.J. Thomas, Walter Reuther and George Addes, finding that “persuasion” did not work, deliberately ignored the wishes of the rank and file, removed the local leaders from office and suspended the local for sixty days. Knowing that their no-strike policy does not have the support of the UAW membership, the leadership can only resort to dictatorial methods to enforce this policy.

The first rebuff for Thomas, Reuther and Addes came at the recent UAW convention in Grand Rapids when the Chevrolet delegation voted with the Rank and File Caucus to rescind the no-strike pledge and helped pass the proposal for a membership referendum on the question. With the re-election of the removed officers, it is no longer possible to claim that the rank and file supports the official no-strike policy.

As a result of the effective fight put up by the rank and file at the UAW convention it is now possible to throw the no-strike pledge out the window by a democratic vote of the membership.

There can be no doubt, in the light of their past actions, that the workers in Local 235 will vote overwhelmingly against the no-strike pledge. The events at the Chevrolet plants in Detroit and the similar situation a short while ago at the Chrysler Highland Park Local should be of interest to UAW members everywhere. They are a further demonstration of the fact that the no-strike pledge is merely an instrument for keeping the unions submissive and for tying them to the apron strings of the corporations and the War Labor Board.

The no-strike pledge must be rescinded by the UAW membership in their referendum!

Last updated on 29 June 2020