Talk:Congress of Industrial Organizations

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thanks[edit]

A very informative piece of wiki-work. Thanks guys! DaveLewis 04:58, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Purging the Far LEft[edit]

I changed this edit [1] back to the previous version. The Taft Hartley Act is mentioned one paragraph earlier, and "penalized unions whose officers were unable to renounce Communism." seems a bit odd to me - unable? --Bookandcoffee 01:18, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

it does sound funny. Every officer had to sign a statement they were not members of CP. I'll try again Rjensen 09:50, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Explanation of the latest edits[edit]

The statement

Battles for control over industrial sectors such as meatpacking and electric machinery made for a bitter and often violent rivalry with the AFL.

conveys the false impression that the CIO and AFL were trying to "control" these sectors by organizing employees into unions.

The statement

The AFL did, in fact, respond, and added even more new members than the CIO.

is true, just not in this context. The AFL outpaced the CIO in membership growth after the CIO was formed. But it was not growing dramatically before 1935; the federal unions it formed were scattered, weak, and not particularly large.

The statement

While the bureaucratic leadership of the AFL was unable to win strikes, three victorious strikes suddenly exploded onto the scene in 1934. These were the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 led by the Trotskyist Communist League of America, the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike led by the Communist Party USA, and the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite strike led by the American Workers Party. Victorious industrial unions with militant leaderships, this was the catalyst that brought on the rise of the CIO.

is simplistic, to put it mildly.

The statement

The Dies Committee determined in 1938 that 280 salaried CIO organizers, were members of the CPUSA.

treats the Dies Committee as if it were a reliable source. You might as well say that the Weekly World News reported that Satan had a proven diet plan. The article makes the point elsewhere about CP involvement in CIO affairs. And connecting that topic to espionage is fanciful.

The statement

The unemployment problem ended in the United States with the beginning of World War II

is worded a little imprecisely. I went back to an earlier, more compact, version.

The statement

In 1940-41 the Soviet Union supported Hitler's Germany and Communists opposed the war effort. The Mine Workers led by Lewis, with a strong pro-Soviet presence, opposed Roosevelt’s reelection in 1940, left the CIO in 1942. After June 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Communists became fervent supporters of the war and sought to end wildcat strikes that might hurt war production.

is wrong on some key points and misleading on others. First, the UMW did not have "a strong pro-Soviet presence" however you might define that term: Lewis was a Republican who supported Wendell Wilkie and who did not tolerate leftists in any position of power within the UMW. He had installed some leftists, ranging from Socialists such as John Brophy to Communists such as Lee Pressman, in the CIO, but as the article notes, he threw away most of his authority within the CIO even before pulling the Mine Workers out of it. On the other hand the CP's change in position on the war is well-documented—but treating that as if it represented the CIO's position is simply wrong.

The fragment

(few did so in the AFL)

is unnecessary.

The last section needs to be rewritten. The topic is important, but the current version does not make any point particularly clearly. I'm reprinting it below for someone to start from.

Industrial Unionization: CIO and the Black Community
Although CIO was beneficial to all workers, it is known to have helped the black workers the most. In the days prior to the establishment of the CIO, under one hundred thousand blacks only were members of the American trade union. This number rapidly multiplied after the foundation of CIO was in place. The number grew until it reached upwards around five hundred thousand in the early 1940s.
At the events which were held by the union prior to 1939-1940, it was very rare and unlikely to see a black union official representing them. But in the year of 1939-1940, it became more and more common to the point where it was actually seen as a normal occurrence that there would be a black union official at all of these events. During these time periods another group was formed to help support the black workers. This group was known as the National Negro Congress. The National Negro Congress supported both the AFL and the CIO. However, it was more interested in forming an alliance with the CIO rather than the AFL due to the fact that they believed the CIO would accomplish and get a lot more beneficial things done for the black workers. Although many of the black community felt this way and agreed that their should be a unionization, The National Negro Congress did not speak for the whole black community. In fact many felt that unionization with the CIO was not the way to go. One side felt that racism should be the major argument and was strongly linked to capital. The other side felt the National Trade Union was the only way to go. Although they were split the one thing that did not waiver was that both sides were strongly looking to further advancing the presence and strength of the black community in the workforce.

If and when someone does rewrite this, it should be in the main body, not tacked on to the end.

Finally, can we get some pictures? I know this article is on the long side already, but graphics would make it better.Italo Svevo 04:15, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


The problems with wholesale changes is that it makes editing and discussion by others difficult. Some points are good, others debatable. One step at a time allows for discussions. For example: The statement "Battles for control over industrial sectors such as meatpacking and electric machinery made for a bitter and often violent rivalry with the AFL." is true and correctly conveys the true impression that the CIO and AFL were trying to "control" labor in these sectors by organizing employees into unions.
the statement The AFL did, in fact, respond, and added even more new members than the CIO. is true and clearly says in response = after CIO formed.
As for Lewis in 1940, he was in bed with the Communists as all the historians agree. He bitterly fought the Reds before 1935 then brought them in as CIO organizers. They in turn demanded a voice in foriegn policy regarding USSR. (Zieger: "Lewis's speech (for Willkie) hit the nation like a thunderbolt. Communists applauded.

Lewis's loyal followers in the UMW and the CIO, including Lee Pressman and Allan Haywood, backed his stand. But elsewhere, disbelief and antagonism reigned." p 108 Rjensen 04:39, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Citations[edit]

Are there any sources? it didn't look like there were any sources, but I could be wrong.Mawest217 —Preceding comment was added at 21:34, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Substsntial pruning is needed of the paean. It also needs to be examined for what sources were used and not credited. Collect (talk) 15:44, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Cutting the section entitled "Industrial Unionization: CIO and the Black Community"[edit]

First, it appears to have been written by someone for whom English is not his or her first language. Second, putting it at the end of the article makes no sense. Third, the comments about the National Negro Congress are largely wrong or incomplete. Finally, it is so vague as to be almost incomprehensible.

Even so, the topic is worth including in the body of the article, perhaps even as a separate section. There is enough scholarship to draw from on this issue; the deleted section, on the other hand, does a disservice by muddling or misstating the facts.Italo Svevo (talk) 06:17, 27 January 2010 (UTC)