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Susan Green

Union Ready For Long Leviton Fight

Boss May Be Hard Nut to Crack – But Workers Are Harder

(14 October 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 27, 14 October 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

BROOKLYN, N.Y., October 7 – About a week ago it seemed that the first step had been taken toward settling the strike of the Leviton electrical workers, now in its sixth week. At a conference of National Labor Relations Board, Leviton Mfg. Company and Local 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a settlement of the case was reported arranged.

The union agreed to drop its charges against Leviton; the company agreed to notify all the employees that it would abide by the Wagner Act and would reinstate Joseph Mahler, who was discharged for union activity; and an election was to be conducted by the Labor Board. The question on which no agreement was had was whether working foremen should be included in the union. The union insisted on this point and the company refused to agree.

No Election Held

Today at union headquarters in Greenpoint I was informed that no election has as yet been held. A union official stated that he had no doubt at all that the workers would vote for Local 3, which organized them, led them in the strike, and is paying them strike benefits as well as giving other relief where necessary.

Again it was impressed upon me that the union feels it is not the board hearings nor the election that is important, but the strength of the strike. The Leviton plant is still one hundred percent tied up.

There are indications, I was told, that Leviton is anxious to resume work, but he is a hard nut to crack, and his generosity towards the idea of unionism and of a higher standard of living for the workers is rather microscopic.

The union sees the possibility of a protracted struggle, perhaps extending into the cold weather. Towards that end, all the strength of the workers is being mustered. Also a supply of food for the strikers’ free cafeteria will be procured. Overcoats, blankets and other cold weather necessities for pickets and for needy strikers will be obtained.

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Last updated: 21 July 2014