• U.S.

National Affairs: Again, Sit Downs

3 minute read

President Homer Martin of the United Automobile Workers of America last week told the Dies Committee about Communism in C.I.O., saying little that he has not said before. While Mr. Martin repeated himself in Washington, his big and boisterous union showed signs of 1) falling apart, and 2) waxing stronger every day.

> One Ralph Knox, an ousted union official whom his former associates would like to put in a psychopathic ward, launched the American Automobile, Aircraft, Automotive and Allied Employes, claimed 20,000 members would desert U. A. W. to start.

> U. A. W. signed its newest and best contract—with Hudson Motor Car Co. It permits strikes after (but not before) a grievance procedure has been followed.

It also tightens seniority rules, giving less advantage to foremen, more to U. A. W. members. It allows dues collections on company property but not on company time.

> The sit down, naughty French trick, was again produced on some of Detroit’s best industrial stages. As follows:

U. A. W. requested Chrysler Corp. to penalize four of 60 Plymouth body handlers who sat down for higher wages. Temporarily out were 21,900 others who could not work when the flow of auto bodies halted. In Washington John Lewis grabbed a long-distance telephone and bawled out Executive Boardman Leo Lamotte, whom Mr. Lewis blamed for the trouble. Boss Lewis was concerned because he had just had C. I. O. avow that it would religiously observe its contracts.

Nash-Kelvinator Corp. fired 300 sit downers who struck for $1 instead of 91 ½¢ an hour, paralyzed interlocking Nash auto plants which employ 3,500 at Kenosha and Milwaukee.

> Strike-of-the-week was at Flint, Mich. Union employes of General Motors’ Fisher Body plant No. 1 voted 3,434 to 433 to strike, surprisingly walked out instead of sitting down. Out of work with them were 2,500 Fishermen. In other related plants 5,000 walked out. G. M. officials complained that U. A. W. had violated its contract by short-circuiting the usual grievance procedure. U. A. W. spokesmen said they had grieved per contract without avail. The strikers wanted to be paid at flat day rates instead of by piece work. Before making the change the company insisted upon a real guarantee against slowdowns.

> Service for visiting cattle, hogs and sheep was restored at the Chicago Stockyards last week. A 14-day strike of stock handlers (TIME, Dec. 5) won recognition of their C. I. O. union and a promise by the management to negotiate a written contract within ten days.

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