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The Chicago star. (Chicago, Ill.) 1946-1948, September 14, 1946, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87062321/1946-09-14/ed-1/seq-4/

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Union leader reports:
Railroad unity drive under way
Twin national drives are under way to bring about united action by the 400,000 members of the
five Railroad Transportation Brotherhoods in future wage and rules struggles, and eventual complete
consolidation of these organizations.
This was announced here this;
week by Roy Griffith, local chair ;
man of Lodge 26 of the Order of j
Railway Conductors, Toledo,
Griffith is national organizing
director of the Consolidation
Committee of Train Crew Or
ganizations, composed of repre
sentatives of the Order of Rail
way Conductors, the Brotherhood
of Railroad Trainmen and the
Switchmen’s Union of North
The committee’s headquarters
are 444 Greenwood Ave., Toledo.
* » *
FIRST conference of the train
crew organization was held June
25 where 40 representatives of
the three unions worked out
plans for unity.
“The aim and purpose of
this rank and file committee,”
Grifrith said, “is to gain the
support of all conductors,
trainmen and switchmen and
and by this united movement
compel the consolidation of
these three train crew unions
into one strong organisation."
A similar Consolidation Com
mittee of Enginemen has been
formed by rank and file members
of the Brotherhood of Locomo
tive Engineers and the Brother
hood of Locomotive Firemen and
Enginemen, headed by R. R
Walker, organizing director. 1101
Hippodrome Building, Cleveland.
* -» *
BOTH committees with essen
tially the same aims are progres
sive movement to consolidate the
two groups of engine and tra.n
service organizations into one
unit. They are not new labor or
ganizations and no attempt is be
ing made to enter into the han
dling of grievances or other mat '
ters coming within the jurfsdic
tion of ihe general committees orj
grand lodge officers.”
“The chaotic situation that
confronted all railroad labor in
the recent strike,” Griffith
said, "has very definitely point
ed out the need for consolida
tion. For years many of us
have reasoned that it is neces
sary for our railroad organiza
tions to act with greater unity.
“The truth of this reasoning j
was demonstrated when we :
note that in spite of the split
io our ranks which was brought;
about by the fact that chiefs j
cf our Brotherhoods could not I
or would not agree on a com- j
mon cause that would benefit
our entire memberships, the
rank and file of all five trans
portation brotherhoods stood
together in a consolidated
move and succeeded in bring
ing about a moral victory in
this strike, even though we did
not obtain the essential ends
of which the strike was called. j
This proves conclusively that [
we must consolidate to prevent j
such a chaotic state of affairs
arising in the future.”
* * *
SPEAKING of the conductors,
trainmen and switchmen, Grif
fith went on to say:
“We who are familiar with
railroad unions have learned
through our struggles for better
working conditions that these
three organizations are growing
farther apart each year, because
the heads of these organizations
have failed to support a unified
program in the interests of their
“The rank and file membership
are penalized and become the suf
ferers. because of this disunity
and we inherit the fallacious
results embodied in the old adage
‘United we stand, divided we
"Preservation then demands
Illinois labor body to
discuss political action
Political action and higher wages are expected to take the spot
light next week, as the Illinois Federation of Labor hold.-: its bien
nial convention in Rockford.
. JlyLj. ' Jjfl
PRESIDENT Albert Fitzger
ald of United Electrical, Radio
and Machine Workers (CIO)
presided at the opening session
of the union’s convention in
' Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sep
tember 9.
Parley on Franco
here October 6
! A midwest conference on the
problem of Franco Spain will be
held Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 P.M. in
, the West Room of the Ashland
! Boulevard Auditorium, under the
i Auspices of the Chicago Commit
tee for Spanish Freedom.
The speakers will be Dr. Rus
sell A. Nixon, Ph. D., formerly
director of research in the Amcri
i can Military Government, Ger
| many, on German Cartels and
j External Assets; and Abel Plenn,
| author of “Wind In The Olive
| Trees”, formerly attached to the
U.S. Office of War Information
| in Madrid.
j Shortly after the conference, a
! delegation w'ill leave for New
York, where it will present to the
American representative in tne
United Nations Assembly thfc
case for imposing economic sane
tions on the pro-A.xis regime in
Spain and thus bringing Franco’s
I downfall.
j consolidation,” Griffith empha
j sized. Meetings of both the en
’ gine and the train crew cosolida
tion committees are being held
at all the large terminals in the
United States. At these meetings
the rank and file members of
each group elect representatives
from the different organizations
from each railroad or seniority
district. Representatives of each
organization then elect one
among themselves to act as dis
co-chairmen compose the respec
co-chairmen compose tre respec
tive engine and train crew con
solidation committees.
The success of this movement,
Griffith said, rests with the rank
and file and the district represen
tatives. “If consolidation is the
desire of the majority then we
must progressively and actively
suDport it and nothing can stop
it,” he added.
| Seven AFL locals have submit
ted a resolution calling for state
wide political mobilization, "at
all levels of our trade union or
ganization,” to break down mem
bership lists by wards and pre
cincts, to carry on a registration
drive, and to cooperate with oili
er organizations in support of
endorsed candidates and issues.
The resolution, based on the
July 30th call of AFL Presid°nt
William Green for “extensive po
litical activity on every level of
union organization,” is expected
to stimulate lively discussion
among the delegates.
* * *
ANOTHER issue expected to
arouse convention interest is the
proposal by the Typographical
Union for support of their fight
for a general wage increase. S’m
ilar proposals are anticipated
from the Meat Cutters’ and other
AFL unions.
A resolution supporting the
AFI. Executive Council request
for the breaking of relations with
Franco Spain, and one cading foi
the withdrawal of American
troops from China will bring the
question of foreign policy into
focus. In addition, some relegates
will distribute copies of a plea
; for AFL, participation in the
| World Federation of Trade Uo
ions, issued by Samuel Gomners’
local of the Cigarmakers Union
in Tampa, Florida.
Although election of officers
j will be part of the convention’s
order of business, no major con
tests are anticipated. The chief
state AFL officers, President
Reuben Soderstrom and
tary-Tyeasurer Victor Olander.
are exneeted to be unanimously
■* * f*
THE WEEK LONG session win
he opened Monday with an ad
dress bv Governor Dwight
j Green. Numerous public officials
are scheduled to speak during the
CIO wins contract
at Walgreen
After six months of negotia
tions, agreement has been reach
ed on the provisions foi a new
contract between the Walgreen
warehouse in Chicago, and Local
208 of the Warehouse and Dis
tribution Workers Union, ILWU
The new contract .will include a
general 18f4c per hour wage in
crease, retroactive in full to
March 12, 1946, elimination of
the piece work system, with clas
sification rates established rang
ing from $36.00 to $57.50 per
week for a forty hour week with
back pay to March 12 for all
piece workers.
Also included will be mainten
ance of membership and check
off, the first union security ever
granted by the Walgreen com
pany in Chicago; Six paid holi
days, six paid sick leave days per
year, vacation with pay ranging
from one week after six months
to four weeks after 25 years; an
improved grievance procedure in
cluding arbitration; additional
sick leave pay for prolonged ill
ness at the rate of one half pay:
» maternity leave ranging up to
six months without loss of seni
inside LABOR
PHIL MURRAY made an important speech in Chicago last Sun
day to the District 31 Convention of the United Steelworkers cf
America (CIO).
When Joe Gcrmano, District Director, introduced the CIO presi
dent, he remarked that Murray had been in town since Wednesday
ijWMmMwnWMgaiaaMgiaaMMl evening —a fact not generally
iSi- ' known and that 1m had not
been feeling well.
jpkffir Gcrmano told of the numerous
\ phone calls and demands on
• §®| Murray’s time as many sought
HI Murray’s counsel or brought
their thinking to his 1 1 tention.
„ are * * *
MORE than one CIO member
psi fey MM in the Steven’s Grand Ballroom
Saapaßle- Jlf| .jrfSjU bearing their presidents deep.
’■ JBS rich baritone and characteristic
• JggjjH slight Scotch bu.':. listening to
■ his persuasive reasoning an i
■n H Stirling phrases, guffawing
his biting sarcasm at “Windy
JrHHHH Wilke” and Bill Green’s ”<!o. n •
pondered the importance of 'ids
■*“" -.ffjPL mil ’'ißWr iF.an to the Amo, icon labor move,
mu; merit.
tvTTTitTjAV More than that, many present
at the conference, aware of tne
underlying drama of Murray’s appearance at that particular con
ference at that particular time, could not but reflect on the cruel
and inexorable pressures being brought upon this man who has
come to symbolize progressive labor unity.
I ollowing Murray’s address, I had an enlightening conversa
tion with one of Chicago’s outstanding labor leaders, who expressed
some of the following thoughts. I put them down here for what
they’re worth:
* # #
WHEN the early stages of the
mounting anti-Soviet hysteria
found slim reeds bending before
the gathering storm, Murray
continued as the stout oak of
CIO unity. He made his now
famous Atlantic City declara
tion at the international conven
tion of the United Steel Work
ers last Soring in which he
courageously defended the basic
concepts of CIO unity.
No one knows better than
Phil Murray that the ten year
• * *
THE HOARY booby trap device of red baiting and Rankinesque
witch hunts which demolished or left impotent so many promising
movements of the people found some advocates in CIO circles. But
Phil Murray, never went much for these infernal methods of self
destruction. He publicly defended the rights of all militants, regard
less of party or church affiliation, to membership and office in ‘he
CIO. Let the Wail Street war hounds howl, he refused to be a party
to any internal moves that could only lead to tearing the CIO apai t
in fratricidal warfare.
51 * *
TO this courageous policy,
clear vision, and devotion to the
welfare of a united CIO, can he
attributed the many major in
dustrial battles waged and won
this year and the promise of
greater CIO victories in the
near future.
Some of the remarks made
by Murray in his talk Sunday
sounded to seme of us as if the
pressure of the war hysteria
/nob has Phil Murray worried.
I interrupted and asked my
* * *
MY informant thought it had no special significance. The strong
plea made for PAC support, the tracing of the history of CIO ne
gotiations regarding equitable representation in the ILO, the out
lining of the domestic program of the CIO with emphasis on the
impending “portal to portal” pay fight, had consumed most of the
time allotted to his remarks.
But, said my friend, it’s a sign of the times that you ask that
question. The slightest thing, even an omission is often looked upon
as packed with significance. In this case, fortunately, you’re wrong.
Murray has a keen appreciation of the fact that the WFTU is one
of the if not THE main hope for continued world peace.
Packing workers
Hit by 'Q* fever
The mysterious disease that
swept the sheep kill at Swift &
Co. early in August was revealed
last week to have been Aus
tralian “Q” fever, a comparative
ly rare tick-born disease.
The discovery was the result
of an investigation by city and
federal health authorities, after
it had been requested by the CIO
United Public Workers. Five gov
ernment Inspectors in Swift's
sheep kill, represented by the
union, and about 35 Swift work-
history of the powerful Con
gress of Industrial Organiza
tions is a history of successful
mass organization and militant
mass struggles of a united mem
bership giving support to a
united leadership. Many were
the strains and stresses, yea.
qven minor defections, hut in
the face of every new great
challenge (including the resig
nation of John L. Lewis) the
urge and drive for unity met
every test.
friend if he attributed any spe
cial significance to the fact that
Murray had made no mention
cf the World Federation of
Trade Unions. It had appeared
lo me that the newsworthy por
tion of his remarks announcing
the severing of connections
with the International Labor
Office and announcinir that no
CIO “assistants” would be sent
to the eoming Montreal sessions
of the ILO was a natural take
off point for some remarks on
the WFTU.
ers in the department had been
The positive diagnosis of the
disease finally established tiie
union’s claim that the m’alady
had its source in the Yards,
which had been questioned by
the company. A joint conference
was held two weeks ago with
State Labor Director Robert L.
Gordon by representatives of
both the Public Workers and the
United Packinghouse Workers’
Swift local, in which the unions
proposed an investigation of the
general conditigns of health and
sanitation in the Yards.

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