The strike was in response to contract proposals far below standards won by Big Three auto workers. The proposals called for the VW workers to wait three years before receiving equitable wages. The New Stanton workers would also be shortchanged on vacation time and layoff benefits, as well as subjected to forced overtime.
The overwhelming contract rejection [1,235 to 95] was a real shocker, admitted UAW President Douglas Fraser.
On October 5 the union and company had issued a joint press release congratulating themselves on reaching a tentative settlement comparable to the U.S. automotive industry.
The Volkswagen strike is quite upsetting to us, said a vice-president of Japans Nissan Motor Company.
VW had made every effort to find a docile work force in this steel and mining center. Forty thousand people were screened to fill 2,000 jobs.
But in the process, complained the Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen hired many articulate workers steeped in traditions of unionismů. Moreover, the workers here show little regard for the unions tradition of discipline when it comes to strikes.
Before waiting for strike authorization from Detroit, the VW workers threw up mass picket lines, locking the plant up tight.
No money, no bunny, workers shouted on the picket lines in defiance of union officials, court orders, and company scare tactics.
October 26, 1953
CHICAGOJim Crow violence flared here again on the Southside as three Negro families moved into the Trumbull Park public project. Although the Chicago Housing Authority had the families accompanied by 13 police cars, hooligan elements, aware of the anti-Negro sentiments of the police, shouted invectives and hurled tomatoes and rocks at the families. Four demonstrators were finally arrested.
An extreme housing shortage faces the Chicago working class, the Negro people in particular. The influx of 20,000 Negroes a year from the South with no increase in dwelling units has intensified these conditions. In their desperate attempt to break from over-crowded ghettoes and fire-traps, Chicago Negroes are moving into areas formerly all-white.
The Socialist Workers Party sees the situation as fraught with peril both for the Negro people and the unions. It asks that Chicagos organized labor movement intervene in this situation.
The violence has already flowed over to an attack against Negro workers at Wisconsin Steel who do not even live in the neighborhood. They are being attacked as they leave the plant. The assaults are a forecast of the future of an organized anti-Negro hysteria by all those interests that benefit from the division of the working class.
Strung along Lake Michigan from 83rd to Gary, Indiana, are many steel plantsU.S. Steel, Carnegie, Inland, etc. In the residential area west of the lake, which includes Trumbull Park project, live many workers of these plants.
With contract negotiations coming up, the steel companies are making all efforts to weaken the union. It is no accident that management representatives are the ones most talkative about the Trumbull Park incidents, trying to stir up backward Jim Crow sentiments in the white workers.
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