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Sam Adams

Labor: Follow Textile Workers, Quit WLB!

(March 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 10, 5 March 1945, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

President Emil Rieve, head of the Textile Workers of America, in resigning from the War Labor Board, took a step which should have been taken long ago. Following the action of the Textile Workers’ executive committee, which scrapped the no-strike pledge for thousands of its workers, Rieve vacated his post as an alternate member of the WLB. His reason for resigning was that the WLB, since its powers have been curbed by Director of Stabilization Vinson, was no longer able to function and that he, as a labor member, had no recourse but to resign.

In resigning, Rieve called for the reconstitution of a WLB on its former basis "when it had the power to act," This is the position of most of the leaders of the CIO. and it is a mistaken position.

Vinson’s decision to hold Up increases granted by the WLB until examination of the price situation and the effect of such raises upon it was made by the OP A is not fundamentally different from the previous position of the WLB.

Was the WLB Different?

As a matter of fact, the WLB has held up hundreds and hundreds of cases on this very ground and has persistently refused to grant justifiable wage increases because it adhered to the President’s wage stabilization program.

What the CIO leaders are doing is offering a lot of excuses for the WLB. The WLB was no better during the years of its existence when it had no Vinson to approve its wage decisions. Vinson, for example, had nothing to do with the refusal of WLB to raise wages for the auto workers, rubber workers, textile workers, mine workers, packinghouse workers, etc. And the cases of these workers have been before the WLB for as long as two years or more.

The labor leaders refuse to recognize the fact, although it stares them in the face, that the WLB was organized for the specific purpose of holding back wage increases and to see to it that; the principle of the Little Steel formula is strictly adhered to. It was and is the graveyard for labor’s wage demands.

The labor leaders refuse to recognize the fact, although it stares them in the face, that the WLB is a body appointed by President Roosevelt to carry out his policies.

The labor leaders refuse to recognize the fact, although it stares them in the face, that Stabilization Director Vinson is an appointee of President Roosevelt, selected for the purpose of adhering to the wage freeze which FDR inaugurated. The President did not select Vinson to approve of wage increases for the majority of workers, who need them, but to prevent such wage increases!

FDR Misled the Labor Leaders

What the labor leaders like to forget, is that the President promised, when he: made the Little Steel formula the law governing wages, that it would be hitched to the cost of living and would be revised correspondingly – every rise in the cost of living would be accompanied by pegging up the formula. But the President did not really mean it. He misrepresented the whole situation to the labor leaders, who swallowed it. He meant to mislead them!

Some True Figures (Not WLB):
How Labor Enriches Capital

True Figures

Do the labor leaders continue to swallow it today? How can they, when the facts are so clear? The trouble with the labor leaders is that they replace militant unionism and the interests of the millions of rank and file workers with bad politics. Not with independent labor politics, based on a Labor Party and a militant labor program, but with capitalist politics based on no program except support to President Roosevelt. This unquestioned support to Roosevelt has resulted in defeating the most important demands of labor made since the war began!

What conclusions do the labor leaders draw from all this? They haven’t yet decided to quit the WLB in a body when this is the indicated course. Instead, they denounce Vinson, Roosevelt’s appointee. They still continue to speak strongly in favor of the no-strike pledge; when it has long ago become a dangerous farce.

The WLB report on, wages sent to the President is an insult to every person in the country who works for a living. Thee CIO and the AFL reacted quite sharply to the report of the WLB. They properly denounced it. But, what conclusions do these labor leaders draw? None.

The conclusions, however, are indicated: GET OFF THE WLB! RESCIND THE NO-STRIKE PLEDGE!

These are the things which bind labor’s hands, make it the easy prey of the bosses and the government, who are allied for the purposes of destroying the standard of living of the workers, while they guarantee the greatest profits in history to the bosses!



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Last updated on 23 April 2016