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The Daily Worker and Phelps Dodge

(March 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 13, 29 March 1943, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

The March 13 issue of the Daily Worker, Communist Party sheet, reports with handsprings of joy that a meeting of Local 451, Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers Union, condemned Labor Action as “dishonest, treasonous and dangerous.” If the hand that wrote the Daily Worker article did not write the resolution, it is only because the Stalinists have enough forces to assign the same filthy job to two people. (Let us always remember that these same people supported a pact with Hitler up to June 22, 1941.)

The resolution adopted by Local 451 does NOT represent the sentiment of the rank and file – specifically the Phelps Dodge workers. It represents the opinion of a Stalinist clique in the leadership – which, we might add, is in difficulty. It is reported that the election of Reid Robinson, Stalinist president of the international, has been challenged as fraudulent.

Labor Action recently reported a spontaneous walk-out at the Phelps Dodge Refining Corp. (It was, unfortunately, our only report of the situation.) Unable to get any support in their demands from the leadership of Local 451, and embittered against the company, the workers in Phelps Dodge took matters into their own hands. The union leaders stabbed the workers in the back, and forced the men to return to work without a victory.

What was and is the issue? The workers at Phelps Dodge want union security and a $1.00-a-day raise from a company that is coining plenty in war profits. Now that the men are back at work, the WLB has postponed its decision, and the leaders of the union are seeking to squelch resentment by postponing and cancelling meetings.

The Daily Worker charges that we erred in out report that the WLB had granted a $1.00 raise nine months ago and that the company had refused to pay it. We may have erred. Our information came from workers in the plant who assured us that it was common knowledge although the union leaders have made no announcement of the Fact. But suppose we did err? If we did – and in the absence of an honest, and democratic leadership it is difficult to ascertain if we did – but if we did, what of it? We are willing to correct the error, and hereby do. The WLB didn’t grant an increase? All right, it didn’t. The fact remains that that increase is what the workers need and want. The fact remains that conditions in the plant are evidently so bad that workers took to the picket line against the will of union officers and in the face of general intimidation.

As a labor paper with a responsibility to report the truth and support labor’s struggle for better conditions, we reported (along with other papers) the walkout. And, we admit it, we reported it in such a Way as to make it clear that we are in sympathy with the demands of the Phelps Dodge workers – just as we are in sympathy with the mine workers in their demands, and with workers all over the country who seek a better wage.

What sticks in the craw of the Daily Worker and the Stalinist stooges in the union, who call upon the government to suppress us, is that many Phelps Dodge worker are Labor Action readers. And that these workers know that Labor Action is LOYAL to the interests of the working class – and that if “treason” exists, it is the treason of those who, like the Daily Worker, betray the interests of the working class. It is the treason of those who, faced with a situation that loudly calls for the support of the Phelps Dodge workers in their demands on the company, denounce – not the company! – but a paper that tells the working class truth, and will continue to tell it regardless of any spurious resolutions spawned in the Daily Worker office.

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Last updated: 11 July 2015