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B.J. Widick

Ohio Unions to Demand Better Relief Scales

Example of Minneapolis Unions’ Fight for
Adequate Unemployed Relief Inspires Akron Workers

(July 1938)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 30, 23 July 1938, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

AKRON, Ohio. – A campaign to provide for supplementary relief for W.P.A. and industrial employee along the lines of the “Minneapolis plan” was begun here this week by the Akron C.I.O. council and Goodyear Local, United Rubber Workers of America.

By mobilizing the labor movement behind this fight, union leaders seek to revitalize the unions and to alleviate the suffering of thousands of families living on sub-existence levels.

Praise Local 544

The campaign was announced in the Summit County Labor News, which gave much credit to the Minneapolis Teamsters Unions for initiating the system of supplementary relief on a sound basis.

Over 110,000 of the 225,000 inhabitants of Akron are on one kind of relief or another, and thousands of rubber workers are working less than two days a week, thereby making a system of supplementary relief indispensible for the sheer existence of the people.

The plan of the Akron unionists was indicated in a resolution passed by Goodyear Local and the C.I.O. council. It reads:

Text of Resolution

Whereas, The present amount of wages received by W.P.A. workers and by part-time industrial employees is not sufficient to meet the minimum standard of living needs, especially of large families, and

Whereas, This grave situation has been solved mainly in one city, Minneapolis, as indicated in a recent issue of the Northwest Organizer, official Teamsters Joint Council publication, and

Whereas, The solution was achieved through the introduction of a system of supplementary relief for any company or W.P.A. employee whose wages were insufficient to permit a family to have a minimum standard of living whose cost was determined by a union survey, and

Whereas, Under the system of supplementary relief, the employee of either a private concern or of the W.P.A. obtains in cash the difference between his wages and the amount needed for the minimum standard, as shown by the attached clipping from the Northwest Organizer, therefore, Ask Supplementary Relief

Be it resolved, That we go on record in favor of such a system of supplementary relief, and that we seek to institute a similar system in Akron, in conjunction with the proper authorities, and that we urge the entire labor movement and the Workers Alliance to join with this union in the campaign.

* * *

The campaign is not being made as a substitute for jobs, or adequate wages. Union leaders see it as a good supplementary move to fight against the effects of the social crisis and to place the burden on the rich.

Already, relief officials have announced giving of more liberal allowances, and of permitting part time industrial employees to obtain W.P.A. jobs or relief while holding down their regular jobs.

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