C. Wright Mills's The New Men of Power: America's Labor Leaders PDF

By C. Wright Mills

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At the conventions of 1934 and 1935, he fought for industrial unionism. He lost the debates. ,dual unions," the worst phrase the other leaders could mouth, and expelled from the AFL. Three other unions left voluntarily. These 13 became the CIO, nucleus of the second house of labor and in time, almost as big as the first. At one stroke the AFL lost about 40 per cent of its total membership. John L. Lewis, the founder of the new CIO industrial aristocracy of labor, was its president until1940. Since then, Philip Murray.

Shortly after 1936 (the CIO was launched in 1935), the figure dropped to around 50 per cent and has since remained at approximately that level. A leader's power in the labor union world rests primarily upon the number of workers organized under him. The powers within the AFL high councils obviously would have been disturbed if THE HOUSES OF LABOR 55 the millions of· workers in the mass production industries had been taken into the AFL as big new industrial unions. Yet governmental acts passed during the middle Thirties encouraged labor leaders to organize, and spontaneously formed locals were cropping up in whole brackets of industry.

The most favorable are the poorer unskilled workers: in 1937, 86 per cent of them answered favorably. During the 1937 steel strikes, the mass public was asked whether its sympathies w,ere with the strikers or with the com- THE MASS PUBLIC'S VIEW panies: 18 per cent of the upper but 44 per cent of ·the lower classes were in sympathy with the strikers. Sentiment for the . four times as strong among people on relief as among people in the upper brackets. es but only 31 per cent of the lower classes favored management In January, 1947, 26 per cent of the general public, 34 per cent of the manual workers, and 52 per cent of the union members favored the clpsed or union shop.

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The New Men of Power: America's Labor Leaders by C. Wright Mills


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