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Newspaper Page Text
FRIDAY, SEPT. 24, 1920
Reorganizing the New York Central Labor Union
By Emil Lyon
The Gompers machine which controls the A.
iF. of L. is determined to keep the workers under
the heels of the bosses. It is ready for almost any
kind of tactics to prevent the development of more
radical methods of struggle by the workers.
This was illustrated in the course pursued by
this machine in reorganizing the New York City
central labor organization.
Heretofore there have been two central labor
bodies in the Greater New York, the Central
Federated Union of New York and the Central
Labor Union of Brooklyn. The Central Federated
Union of New York won the enmity of the Gom
pers machine by repudiating Gompers' policy of
"rewarding the friends and punishing the enemi
es" of organized labor, which in practice meant
putting the power in the hands of the enemies
of organized labor. The opposition of the Gompers
machine developed as the result of the endorse
ment of the labor party by the Central Federated
Combine Two Central Bodies
By some sharp maneuvering the Gompers
machine was able to get the two central bodies
to adopt resolutions to ask the Executive Commit
tee of the A. F. of L. to reorganize the central
organizations so as to have one central body for
all of Greater New York.
On Wednesday, Septemter 11, a convention
was held in the Central Opera House for this
purpose, under the auspices of the Gompers' mach
ine. Seven hundred and eighty delegates, whose
credentials wqre carefully scrutinized by Gom
pers lieutenants were admited to the convention.
It quickly developed, thnt everything had been
fixed up in advance by the Gompors' crowd and
that no one who opposed the program of the re
actionaries had the slightest chance.
Machine Had Sluggers on Land
Gompers presided, with Mathew Wolf, of the
A. F. of L. national machine, in reserve. Frank
Morrison, secretary of A. F. of L. was also readv
at hand to help keep things strait. More important,
was a Iwdy of delegates f rem the teamsters, long
shoreman and building trades unions. These
unions have leen the backbone of the Gompers"
machine. The delegation in question was made up
of the huskiest members of these organizations
that could be found. They were not there to dis
cuss the problems of organized labor jn Greater
New York, but to beat Up anyone who dared raise
his voice against the Gompers' program.
After several hours of examination of the
credentials of the delegates, Gompers read a list
of names of persons to be appointed a committee
to draft a constitution for the new central body,
named the Central Trades and Labor Council of
Greater New York and Vicinity. This consisted of
the most reactionary leaders in the labor move
ment of New York City, among them being sever
al well known Tammany politicians.
The reading of this list brought a howl of
protest from the delegates, which was the signal
for the Gompers plug uglies to swing into action
to beat up those who opposed his appointees. A
riot resulted which was not quieted until the police
arrived and the meeting was adjourned.
A. F. of L. Sabotages The Workers
This incident is only another indication of
the hopelessly of the A. F. of L. as a weapon of
the workers in the bitter struggle developing on
the industrial field. The A. F. of L. officialdom,
from Gompers down to the local labor leaders, is
bound more closely to the bosses than to the work
ers in the shops. They more often sabotage the
strikes of the workers than help them win.
Th$ cure for this situation is for the workers
to get together in the shops, irrespective of trade
union lines and develop their own organizations
for fighting the bosses. By organizing shop com
mittees in every factory, mine, mill or store, they
can create the machinery for fighting the bosses
effectively and for beating the reactionary trade
The shop committee, the industrial council
and community council to unite all the workers
for the struggle against the bosses and against
the trade union betrayers of the workers that
should be the slogan of the workers in the shop.
The New York City workers, who are being
sold out to the reactionaries, should answer Gom
pors and his 'machine by organizing their own or
gans of struggle.