The 1010 Rank & File in SWOC/USWA
A Social Movement Becomes a
by Mike Olszanski
Term Paper for L580 “Strikes”
Indiana University Northwest
May 1, 2004
"My definition of a left wing union...is one with a
lot of rank and file democracy and control…”
-Harry Bridges in Harry Bridges, Public T.V. documentary, narrated by
Studs Terkel, producer/director Barry Minot, MW Productions/KQED TV
Olszanski 1 L580 Term Paper
I joined the Rank & File Caucus at United Steelworkers Local 1010 around 1971. One of
the first things I remember as a new member was the on-going discussion among Steel Workers
Organizing Committee (SWOC) veterans John Sargent, Joe Gyurko, Nick Koleff, and their
(slightly) younger counterparts Cliff “Cowboy” Mezo and Jim Balanoff about contract
negotiations at Inland Steel in the “old days” of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Bargaining took place
right in Indiana Harbor, upstairs in the old Inland office building (still standing) within sight and
earshot of the mill. From time to time, so the story went, one of the union negotiators would open
a window, and shout down to the strikers surrounding the building the company’s latest offer—
only to have it booed down by the crowd of rank & file workers.1
SWOC members in “Little
Steel” and in particular its huge local 1010, in contrast to those in U.S. Steel, exercised
considerable input into and control of negotiations in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The members in a
very real sense, ran the union in those early days. As researcher Edward Zivich put it in a 1972
paper, “Lodge 1010 and…rank & filers were one and the same during this period.” 2
Two examples of the opposite extreme in USWA bargaining seem to me salient. The first,
and most obvious, is the U.S. Steel paradigm—John L. Lewis’ secret, personal 1937 negotiations
with Myron Taylor behind the closed doors of a posh Washington, D.C. Mayflower Hotel
room. This example—with the resultant first steel contract and SWOC recognition—is well
known. Wary of a militant rank and file, inspired by the wave of strikes in auto and other
industries, Taylor chose to recognize SWOC and avoid a strike. The workers found out about the
contract after it was signed. A more recent example is the highly-touted 1992 USWA “victory”
at Ravenswood Aluminum. These secret negotiations occurred after a lengthy strike, in which the
USWA employs a plethora of “corporate campaign” strategies, some of which greatly involved
the rank and file. But the strike’s dénouement occurred when USWA vice-president Becker met
Olszanski 2 L580 Term Paper
management’s Pete Nash for a closed-door one-on-one private pissing contest in which the final
agreement was clinched. Returning to the union negotiating committee, Becker placed Nash’s
“final offer” before them in typical USWA style: take it or leave it. This fait accompli tactic is
used consistently by USWA leaders in negotiations.3
The scenario, in which union leaders bring
an agreement back for approval by the local negotiating committee, and sometimes the entire
membership, with the proviso that this is the “best we can do” has become all too familiar to
those of us who were engaged in basic steel contract negotiations after the 1950’s. Often all
members of the negotiating committee are sworn to secrecy for the duration of negotiations, until
a final settlement is reached to bring back to the members. In this situation, the rank and file are
one more step removed from the actual bargaining process.
Local Union participants in the early basic steel strikes with whom I have talked are
nearly unanimous in their condemnation of the adoption by the USWA of more and more top-
down contract negotiations in basic steel. Most, I think would agree that the union has declined,
not just in numbers but in power, influence and the ability to protect its members since the
USWA “International” took bargaining to Pittsburgh and closed the door on negotiations.
Removing bargaining decisions from control of the local leadership—and especially from the
rank & file members—had a lasting alienating impact on union members and the relationship
between the union’s top leaders and the members in the mill. Consolidating top down
bureaucratic control, combined with purging the left and insurgent elements, ensured the decline
of the steel union, and indeed the entire U.S. labor movement.
Olszanski 3 L580 Term Paper
I argue here that rank & file control of contract negotiations and strikes—and the lack of such
control—are key factors in the rise and later decline of the Steelworkers Organizing Committee
(SWOC) and its successor, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and in particular my
own Local 1010 at Inland Steel’s Indiana Harbor Works. Intimately bound up with rank & file
control and union democracy generally, as I will show, is a leftist viewpoint strongly in evidence
in Local 1010 as well as in other unions with democratic traditions. Within unions and within
individuals I am convinced a left wing perspective goes hand in hand with a commitment to
democratic principles, anti-communist arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. This is
demonstrated as much by the actions as by the writings of Communist and socialist union
members. Judith Stepan-Norris and Maurice Zeitlin have argued effectively that unions with the
most rank and file control—of negotiations as well as shop floor activities—tend to be left-led
unions like the United Electrical and Machine Workers (UE) and those with strong left factions.4
The vital connection between left—primarily Communist Party and Trotskyist—leadership and
union democracy and rank and file control over bargaining is well-documented in their work, as
well as by Staughton Lynd, Edward Zivich and Philip Nyden, who have researched early Local
1010 strike activity. My own research supports this conclusion, as I will show.
Olszanski 4 L580 Term Paper
In order to evaluate negotiations and strikes qualitatively, as well as quantitatively,
I have developed some criteria by which to compare the relative degree of control exercised by
the rank & file membership in the cases considered. Questions I will apply to negotiations in
order to gauge the degree of rank and file involvement and control include the following:
• To what degree is bargaining transparent, to union members and the public?
Is it open door, or closed door bargaining,?
• How close and specific is communication between the top union leadership, the
negotiating committee, the full membership, and the public?
• Is the bargaining Committee sequestered? Are they “Pledged to Secrecy” from the
membership? Do they return to the mill during breaks in negotiations to talk with
members, or report to the membership at mass meetings?
• Are details of on-going negotiations made available to the union members in the media.,
the union newspaper, leaflets? How frequent are reports, and how detailed?
• How does the union Formulate contract demands? Are members polled? Are resolutions
accepted from members? Are open meetings held?
• Who votes and how -- on demands, to strike, to go back to work, to accept or reject an
• What is the size of committee relative to size of membership?
• What kind of negotiating committee is used, and how is it selected (elected by members
vote or picked by leaders)?
• Are negotiations Industry-wide or local? Are they held near the plant, or at a distant
location? Is bargaining controlled by the International Union or Local Union leadership?
• What kind of pre-existing contract language is there on the right to strike and how, when
and by whom a strike may be initiated? Is there a no strike clause?
• What kind of strategies are used? Are there alternative in-plant strategies, boycott,
corporate campaign, and how much do they involve the rank and file members? How are
decisions on strategy/tactics made? Is there input by members, or complete control by
leaders? Are “secret” strategies used, known only to top leadership?
Olszanski 5 L580 Term Paper
• Is there a large strike committee (for picketing, and activities other than negotiations) and
if so, what is its relationship with the Negotiating Committee? Is it inclusive? Who
selects its members? Volunteers?
The answers to these kinds of questions can I think, help to define the degree of rank and file
control as well as local control of contract negotiations, and by extrapolation provide an idea of
the degree of overall democracy in the Local and International union.
The USWA and indeed the CIO rose with the rising of rank & file workers who—with their
own local leaders—did their own negotiating and shut down or slowed down their workplaces
when necessary. It declined when the rank & file and their leaders were relegated to the foot
soldier ranks of an army commanded from Pittsburgh. It declined as the Union bureaucracy
grew fat and out of touch with workers in the mill. It declined when those same leaders purged its
ranks of its most militant and democratic leaders in the name of anti-communism.
Metaphorically, the USWA, like the CIO, cut off its own strong left arm, and has been
ideologically crippled ever since. In support of this argument, I will compare and contrast recent
USWA negotiations and strikes, e.g., Ravenswood Aluminum, with the early SWOC 1010 “Little
Steel” strikes and unauthorized “wildcat” strikes as well as industry-wide steel strikes of the late
1940’s-early1950’s in terms of rank & file member involvement/control.
Olszanski 6 L580 Term Paper
My Role as Participant Observer
It would be misleading to characterize my perspective as merely scholarly and objective.
In a sense, a more accurate description of my role here would be as something like a participant
observer in the sense implied by sociologists and anthropologists. I was a dedicated member of
the left-led Rank & File Caucus in Local 1010 for over twenty years, and very involved in the
militant and democratic Rank & File movement in the USWA. I was part of the Fight Back
Campaign organization (1972-1979) which supported Ed Sadlowski for USWA president in
1977, and the District 31 Right to Strike Committee which sued USWA President I.W. Abel and
the Coordinated basic steel companies for negotiating and signing the 1973 no-strike
Experimental Negotiating Agreement (ENA), questioning their authority to surrender the right to
strike absent input from or knowledge of the union members. I was elected to the Executive
Board in Local 1010 from 1976 through 1988, was an elected delegate to USWA conventions in
1976, ‘78, ‘80, ‘82, ‘84, ‘86, ‘88 and 1990, and served as Local 1010 president in 1987-1988.
I served on the 1977 1010 negotiating committee, and organized the strike and defense committee
at 1010 in 1986.
That having been said, my aim here is an accurate, useful analysis of the conduct of
contract negotiations and strikes by the SWOC and USWA at Local 1010, with the goal of better
understanding the connections between the degree of rank and file control of bargaining and
strikes and the growth, success and decline of my union. In addition to a thorough review of
available secondary and primary source materials, I can offer here a somewhat unique view from
inside the union’s rank & file movement, as a participant in and close up observer of many
events which shaped the USWA. I have also personally interviewed, as well as worked with,
union leaders who helped lead Local 1010 from pre-SWOC days through the present. Having
Olszanski 7 L580 Term Paper
spent many years in a movement that generated an enormous amount of heat in my union, my
aim, in my post-retirement role of student of labor history, is to shed a bit of light on what
happened within and to my union, and why.
Left, Rank & File Build SWOC
In the wake of a powerful wave of strikes in 1934, exemplified by the left/rank & file-led
San Francisco General Strike,5
John L. Lewis and eight AFL union presidents formed the
Committee on Industrial Organization (CIO) in November of 1935. Lewis delegated his United
Mineworkers assistant, Philip Murray to organize the steelworkers. In June of 1936, Murray set
up the Steelworkers Organizing Committee (SWOC) in Pittsburgh. Communist Party (CP)
member Lee Pressman was hired as chief counsel, Communist Len DeCaux was named to head
the CIO News and 200 full-time organizers—at least 60 of whom were CP members—went into
the basic steel mill campaign.6
Clearly, Murray understood the value of leftist organizers, with
their intimate knowledge of and experience with the rank and file and their existing networks, and
proven organizing ability. Especially valuable was the left’s demonstrated experience in inter-
racial organizing. That year United Auto Workers (UAW) sit-down strikes at General Motors,
led by Communist Party Members including Wyndham Mortimer, Bob Travis, Henry Kraus, Bud
Simons, Walter Moore, Joe Devitt and Charles Killinger, as well as Socialist Workers party
members Genora (Johnson) and Kermit Dollinger in concert with a well-organized rank & file
inspired workers throughout the country. This strike also demonstrated the ability of the left to
lead, as well as their dedication to democratic, bottom-up strategies.7
As Nellie, one of the
Women's Emergency Brigade's members put it, "We couldn't have done it without the
Communists and Socialists”8
Olszanski 8 L580 Term Paper
Lewis recognized the organizing and leadership abilities of the left. He also understood
the communist and socialist commitment to rank and file control but was confident he could
utilize them while maintaining control from the top. He shrugged off concerns among his anti-
communist union cohorts about Communist influence with the famous quip “Who gets the rabbit,
the hunter, or the dog?”9
Reassuring the public of his commitment to capitalist ideals, Lewis’
March 15, 1938 radio broadcast pronounced, “It is time for Americans to cooperate. It is time for
capital to recognize labor’s right to live and participate in the increased efficiency of industry…It
is time for labor to recognize the right of capital to have a reasonable rate of return upon its
Murray, for his part co-authored Organized Labor and Production in 1940 in which he
emphasized the necessity of “more mature labor-management relations” which he said should
eventually replace strikes with “labor-management collaboration for greater gross
The contradiction here should be obvious. He was, at the height of a massive
class struggle relying on the left and the rank & file to build and consolidate SWOC. At the same
time, he already looked forward to “collaborating” with the bosses. One cannot help but wonder
whether any rank & file workers read the book, and if so, what it made them think of Murray.
Murray was a business unionist from the start. He wanted to, as Ed Sadlowski put it referring to
the labor movement’s “porkchoppers”, “’be part of’ rather than ‘change’ the system. That
catches up with you. You can’t play the boss’ game.”12
SWOC (later the USWA) was envisioned
by Murray as a tightly-controlled, top-down organization, from day one. Members of
Amalgamated Lodge 1010 at Inland Steel’s Indiana Harbor Works had other ideas.
Olszanski 9 L580 Term Paper
Organizing in many mills was begun by SWOC organizers, aided by existing local
networks and a strong rank and file desire to belong to a union, and the CIO. Perhaps nowhere so
much as at Inland was self-organizing already underway. Outside organizers were not needed
there. At Lodge1010 of the old Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, “All
members were organizers’” as Bill Young, put it.13
A 1962 analysis of the union movement in
Steel by Berkewley Professor Llod Ulman refers to a “’Rank and File’ rebel movement within the
Amalgamated to organize the industry during the National Recovery Administration (NRA)
period in 1934 and 1935.” 14
The members at Inland Steel elected William Thomas SWOC Lodge
1010’s first president. Young leftists John Sargent, Bill Young, William Maehoffer and a rank &
file eager to settle old scores welcomed The CIO’s SWOC.15
A Communist Party influenced
Rank & File group, led by Sargent, Maihoffer and Young, cooperated with Trotskyites Pete
Calacci, Max Luna and Manuel Trbovitch in a united front to build the new CIO union.16
Sargent describes what some have characterized as a “spontaneous movement of self-
organization” at 1010: “The workers were gonna have a union, come hell or high water. No one
was gonna stop ‘em.”17
Minimizing his own and other leftist local leaders role, the
characteristically modest Sargent is interpreted by historians Staughton Lynd, Pivens and
Cloward as saying workers spontaneously organized themselves at Inland. Clearly, this is a
misleading over-simplification. Only a small percentage of workers were actively involved in
union activities, but a majority at least passively supported organizing efforts. Zivich paints a
much clearer, more balanced picture of the unity, solidarity and integration between Lodge 1010
members and their leftist leaders during the SWOC years. The now faddish and over-used term
“synergy” perhaps describes the relationship. The rank & file at 1010 and their local leaders were
Olszanski 10 L580 Term Paper
—as we say in the vernacular—“tight.” The use of the (capitalized) term Rank & File, while
possibly confusing a movement with what was later identified as a political caucus, seems to me
a useful way to describe this unified group of union members and their local leaders. It is no
coincidence that the Communist Party, Trotskyists and other left union groups recognized this
connotation when they adopted the names for their sponsored union groups e.g., National
Steelworkers Rank & File, Rank & File Team (RAFT) and the Rank & File Caucuses at 1010,
1011, 1033, 6787, 1397 and other USWA Locals.18
This question of spontaneity v. leadership—especially left leadership, is for me one of
emphasis. The workers were primed, ready. They were loosely organized in local networks, a
Lodge of the old Amalgamated Association, and even the company union. Smart, class-conscious
leadership was essential. Organization is impossible without it. It was there, often already among
the ranks. Each played a crucial role in the mass movement that was the CIO in the early years,
especially in SWOC 1010. There was little opportunism among the unpaid 1010 SWOC leaders
in the 1930’s. But unprincipled careerism would become a serious problem down the line, when
the dues check-off and full time salaried officers and Grievance committee were initiated—just at
the time the USWA decided to purge the left. Sargent said in 1978:
A young fella who becomes active in the union, who hasn't got a broader
perspective than just the union, sees the union as a stepping stone to security
for himself, either to get a job in the union...or to use the union to get a job
with the company, as a foreman, for instance...It was that way once you got
the check-off. Unless the guy has a socialist viewpoint, or some kind of
broader view-point of what this whole thing means, you're not gonna get
good leadership. That's an important part of it.19
One of the most democratic leaders 1010 would ever have, Sargent saw socialist ideals—
which he equated with democratic ideals—as an antidote to selfish opportunism in the labor
Olszanski 11 L580 Term Paper
While U.S. Steel management accepted, if not embraced SWOC—no doubt viewing the
union as a moderating and controlling influence over the mass movement of rank & file workers
—Bethlehem, Republic, Youngstown Sheet & Tube, National, Inland and the rest of “Little
Steel” chose class conflict. Republic’s Tom Girdler and Inland’s Block family, led by founder
and CEO Leopold Block threw down the gauntlet. 1010’s Rank & File were ready. As Bill
Young would put it forty years later, “after years of meeting secretly in the basement of an
undertaker…the day of salvation came…when we walked out of the mill.”20
The ensuing nation-
wide strike, begun May 26th
, 1937 put 78,000 SWOC members on the streets.
A mere four days into the strike, 1010 members, including Sargent, Young, and many
others who brought wives and children, joined picketers at Republic Steel in South Chicago as
part of a “flying squad” to augment their picket lines on Memorial Day, 1937. Three 1010
members would never return. Shot in the back by Mayor Kelley’s rioting Chicago Cops, Earl
Handley, Kenneth Reed and Sam Popovich were three of the 10 steelworkers killed at the
infamous Memorial Day Massacre.
Mass meetings, mass picketing, hand-billing and store-front union halls characterized the
Little Steel strike.21
As Communist SWOC organizer Gus Hall put it, “The rank and file saw it as
their strike—that it not only affected their lives but that they could affect it. It was not a top down
At 1010, huge and frequent mass meetings at Auditorium Hall on Michigan
Avenue in Indiana Harbor were held. Here workers discussed strike issues, tactics, negotiations—
every detail of the situation—with an over-flow crowd hearing the proceedings via loudspeaker
in the street and parking lot.
Olszanski 12 L580 Term Paper
SWOC’s top officers were already trying to wrest control over Chicago/Indiana SWOC
District 31 from the left and the Rank & File early on, with little effect in 1010 according to
Zivich: “While the SWOC District Office purge of its Communists did not affect 1010’s Left
leadership [“Wilcat Willie” Maihofer was President in January, 1938] the lodge’s militants were
under tremendous pressure from the district office not to strike or carry out any other job actions
at this time.”23
.But it didn’t stop them, apparently.
The Townsend Agreement
In 1939, under orders from the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) Inland recognized
SWOC as bargaining agent for its workers. The “Townsend Agreement” was not a full contract,
but a one page “Memorandum of Agreement” between Inland, SWOC and Indiana Governor M.
Clifford Townsend. “Although not a contract as such, the memorandum laid out the guidelines for
a labor policy at Inland and, even more importantly, called for the recognition of SWOC as the
Its first line reads: “SECTION 1 – The men to be returned to work without
discrimination between strikers and non-strikers.” 25
This kind of amnesty clause would be a
standard, and high-priority item in every strike settlement between Inland and the Steelworkers
until 1947. Crucially for the Rank & File at 1010, it contained no agreement by the union not to
strike. SWOC 1010’s class-conscious Rank & File movement took advantage of the opportunity.
As Sargent tells it,
Without a contract, without an agreement with the company, without any regulations
concerning the hours of work, conditions of work, or wages, a tremendous surge took
place. We talk of a rank & file movement; the beginning of union organization was the
best kind of rank & file movement you could think of….. without a contract we secured
for ourselves agreements on working conditions that we do not have toady, and that were
better by far than what we do have today in the mill. For example as a result of the
enthusiasm of the people in the mill you had a series of strikes, wildcats, shut-downs,
slow-downs, anything working people could think of to secure for themselves what they
Olszanski 13 L580 Term Paper
decided they had to have.26
Strikes, departmental and plant-wide, continued to be effectively used by 1010 to bring a
recalcitrant Inland Steel Company management into line on hours wages and working conditions.
Joe Gyurko, hired at Inland in 1939, quickly signed a union card and became a “Dues Steward”
He participated in and helped lead departmental strikes in the Tin Mill, and later the Open Hearth
shop. He tells of how “One of the rollers comes up to me and says, “Hey, we’re working
shorthanded again. We’re gonna shut it down. We ain’t going to work short-handed. Tell the rest
of the crew” Walking down the line, Gyurko would tell one operator after another of the shut-
down then watch as the foreman came storming up to find out what was going on. 27
Vuxinic, a Croatian immigrant, told Zivich he took part in five strikes in his department
between 1939 and 1942.28
Nyden describes an ethos in which, “The men thought nothing of stopping work and letting
gondolas full of molten metal hang in mid air. In these situations, the rapidly approaching
danger that [the molten metal would solidify and] production would be interrupted …acted
as a time clock forcing the company to bargain with the workers [and settle departmental
Yale scholar Will Tanzman, quoting Nyden describes this strategy as
“ ‘instant strike bargaining’ negotiating with the threat of instant, small scale wildcat
While written evidence is scarce, strikes were often organized and planned well in
advance. A rare glimpse, found in the Group 9 minute books dated March 22, 1941, describes
the discussion and vote to strike over a grievance: “Motion made the mill be stopped at 8:00
A.M. the morning after the grievance is turned down. Seconded, carried.”31
Olszanski 14 L580 Term Paper
For years, as Gyurko told it, you could be fired for striking, walk out the gate and go and
get hired again the same day—Inland kept very inadequate employment records at the time.
Bill Young, vice president of 1010, later vice chairman of the grievance committee, led nine
“unauthorized” strikes in his department, the 28” rail mill, between 1939 and 1942.32
Direct shop floor action was the order of the day at 1010. The Rank & File’s Nick Migas,
an open CP member, led much of it.
There was one time when they wouldn’t settle a grievance for the
charging car operators [in the Open Hearth furnace department] They had
increased the tonnage on the furnaces without increasing the rate [of incentive
pay]. We discussed the situation with the superintendent: nothing doing. So
that night it started to slow down, and by the next morning there were two
furnaces where they had to shut the heat off. By next evening there were six
furnaces where they had to shut the heat off. They settled the grievance in a
hurry. Nobody told anybody to strike. There was just that close relationship,
working with the people, where they knew what was necessary.33
Was this “spontaneity?” Or the very tight relationship between the rank and file workers
and their leftist shop floor leaders? Certainly there was a kind of intimate solidarity among them,
based on trust and a strong sense of shared experience, interests and community.
As Needleman points out, it was “During these years of contract limbo, Local 1010 gained
its reputation as the most militant local, ‘the red local,’ the anti-international local.”34
coincidentally but consequently they were equally a Rank & File local, with the members
exercising a great deal of control. District 31 and top USWA leadership struggled to wrest
control over Local 1010 from the rank & file and its leaders. Local 1010, a large local dealing
with a large steel company with only a single basic steel plant, exercised more leverage than
many of the other locals, and more independence from the International. Nyden suggests this
factor also kept 1010’s Rank & File from aligning itself sooner with rank & filers in other locals
Olszanski 15 L580 Term Paper
who wanted autonomy.35
This lack of a national coalition, with the exception of the black Ad-Hoc
Committee, would prove a handicap during the later insurgencies of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
How did the union negotiate? Elected union representatives, in close and constant touch
with the members, negotiated right at the plant, often in the plant. They voted, on whether, when
and how to strike, and when and how to settle. As Migas described it,
..The local leadership did its own negotiating. A contract would be read,
clause by clause at the local union meeting, and then voted on, and adopted
…We used to bargain locally with the Inland steel Company…We let a
representative of the international union sit in, but we bargained right in Indiana
harbor and settled our differences right there. But soon Inland began to realize that
this was not the way, because they were up against a pretty rough bunch…who had
no ambitions to become political leaders and labor representatives on a national
scale. They [Inland] realized that the best way to handle the situation was to work
with the international leadership of this union.37
The “rough bunch” Sargent refers to here was clearly a class-conscious, left-led
Rank and File, who had proved perfectly capable of bargaining effectively with Inland
with little help (or control) from the International.
Olszanski 16 L580 Term Paper
1942 Contract, USWA
December 7, 1941 brought the U.S., and its workers into World War II. In May of 1942,
a convention in Cleveland changed SWOC into the USWA, and unanimously elected Murray its
first president. “Little Steel” contracts were signed later that year: August 5th
Inland; August 12th
Youngstown (YST); August 13th
Bethlehem and Republic. The 1942 contract signing and its no-
strike provision “began the slow, but steady decline of the local from its previous position of
This, in conjunction with the CIO and Communist Party war-time no-strike pledge
had some limited success in suppressing strikes in steel for the duration of World War II.
It wasn’t until the International came in, and dictated a contract with a no-
strike clause, that it became a matter of what kind of leadership you had.
When SWOC became the Steelworkers Union, it became a top-heavy
The top obviously had reasons beyond war-time patriotism for wanting to
enforce the no-strike agreement. Being able to discipline his own members would
make Murray a more attractive “partner” to the steel bosses with whom he wished to
Zivich claims that Sargent’s caucus upheld the no-strike pledge during the war: “With
1010’s Communist Party radicals pushing for unhampered war production, the ban on strikes only
disturbed one ideological faction in the local—the Trotskyites.” Zivich, citing Lynd, reminds us
that “Trbovich and others, at great risk [?] led a mid war departmental strike over a discharge to a
Is there an implication here that the CP faction would not support
departmental wildcats during the war? This argument is called into question by, among other
Olszanski 17 L580 Term Paper
things, president Sargent’s 1943 letter to the War Labor Board, threatening to strike Inland in
defiance of the no-strike pledge, as well as the 1942 contract. Sargent's adherence to any "party
line" during the war years seems unlikely, and the letter adds weight to his image as a militant,
rank & file oriented leader.41
Many labor historians, including some with no political axe to grind, naively assume a
disciplined, monolithic CP during this time period. The Sargent/Maihoffer caucus and its
members at 1010 are likewise presumed to be rigid adherents to the “Party line.” Labor historian
Jack Metzgar, lecturing a recent Labor Studies class at Indiana University Northwest described
USWA CP members as frequently “on the phone to Moscow” to get new marching orders.
Evidence, and my own experience, suggests a much more complex picture. Needleman has
argued that Communists in the Midwest were never “under the thumb” of the central CP office in
New York. A scenario similar to that of West Coast Longshore Union leader Harry Bridges, in
which decisions were made in close consultation with CP leaders, but democratically by a vote of
the rank & file, seems to me likely. Bruce Nelson describes a “syndacalist mood,” that yielded a
“rank and file insurgency at the point of production,” in which Communists were a “major force,”
whose “main role was to help shape an effective trade union program, sum up and popularize the
lessons of strikes…and sharpen and focus…workers antagonism toward their principle
While Nelson and Selvin are referring to the San Francisco waterfront in 1934, I
believe a strong parallel can be drawn with Local 1010 in the SWOC era. The independence of
1010 leaders and members is legendary. Their interaction, the record suggests, was comparable
to that of the waterfront workers and their leftist leaders.
Some evidence suggests that CP members like Migas sometimes did support the pledge,
Olszanski 18 L580 Term Paper
trying to use a cumbersome grievance procedure to settle issues. The Group 9 minutes of June 21,
1944 describe numerous grievances on overtime and other economic issues, and a speech by
Migas which seems to favor restraint,
Management has accused men in Btr. Shop of slowdown. Several grievances
taken up on this accusation….Bro. Nick Migas: Talk on attending group and main
lodge meetings and taking up grievances in the proper channels. Talk on case of
the Steelworkers now before the WLB [War Labor Board]. 43
“proper channels” were, however, often slow and ineffective. Hence, during this same time
period, stoppages and slow-downs, if not always out and out strikes, continued at Inland.
And in reaction, a frustrated Plant Manager Gillies seemed to be baiting the Rank & File with his
arrogant tirades, like this one reported in the Group 9 minutes for May 3, 1944:
Refractories. Got some action because men really showed what they could do,
Gillis accused men of slowing down, and threatened to fire them. Gillis told
griever that he had notified the 6th
area commander,[National guard?] probably a
bluff by friend Gillis. Gillis finally agreed to compare rates with 4 mills and if
rates were not returned soon enough he agreed to send a personal representative
which he has done….man suspended for 5 days for knocking foreman down.
Three days later, according to the minutes, Gillies is still ranting, “Sig Francis case of hookers to
have job evaluated. Gillis [Superintendent] claims he cannot make a definite date for this. Gillis
further stated that hookers could shut the mill down any time they wanted to.”45
unlikely that Gillies was taunting the hookers because he doubted their resolve, or the local
leadership’s willingness to support them. Rather, he sounds frustrated by the continuous in-plant
resistance of a Rank & File willing to stop production when in their opinion the grievance
procedure or the War Labor Board took too long to settle issues.
Rank and file “spontaneity” occasionally led to attempted “hate strikes” in some
departments, but here leftists like Migas and Gyurko worked with black leaders like Bill Young
Olszanski 19 L580 Term Paper
and coke plant griever Buster Logan to get minorities promoted in spite of some “white
For example, Migas settled a wildcat strike in #1 Open Hearth when the company
refused to promote a black man to second helper on the furnace. Many of the white workers were
southern, and tended to back management's position. At a meeting inside the plant at which the
superintendent Gillies vacillated, Migas lectured his fellow workers on racism: “...discrimination
starts, maybe, with a Negro, but next it will go to the Mexican worker...and then it will go to the
Kentuckian, the hillbilly... .Then a so-called hillbilly won't be able to work in a steel mill. And
where will it stop?”47
The man got his job. Migas was later elected President of USWA Local
1010 in 1945, having served briefly on the USWA staff until he was fired for supporting
insurgent George Patterson in a bid for Director of District 31 against Joe Germano.
Sargent describes the consolidation by the International union’s top officers of their power
during the forties, as tri-partite (company, union, government) collaboration began to overshadow
and suppress Rank & File action, “The Government and the employers have learned how to
adopt, co-opt, and engulf the union and make it a part of the Establishment. And in making it part
of the Establishment they took the guts, the militancy, and the fight out of the people who work
for a living”.48
In any event slow-downs, departmental wildcats and other shop floor actions persisted at
Inland and other big Locals during the war. At U.S. Steel, the company reported there were 396
work stoppages in steel production in 1943 alone, and 216 in 1945. By 1948, the company
claimed, strikes “dropped to 22”49
As Zeiger says, “by December [of 1943] 150,000 USWA
members had left their jobs in short term strikes.”50
Statistics for Inland are unavailable, but there
is every indication that strikes and similar job floor actions were at least as numerous there.
Olszanski 20 L580 Term Paper
Workers at Inland were aware that war profiteering was making Inland and other
producers rich. The U.S. Government built the Plant #4 complex for Inland at tax-payer expense
during the war, to produce iron for army tanks made across Dickey Road at the Cast Armor
plant. “A” and “B” Blast furnaces and a new coke plant produced profits for Inland, and were
turned over to the company at war’s end. At the same time the workers faced speed-up,
inequitable wage rates and were denounced as unpatriotic if they got impatient with the
ponderous and plodding machinations of the War Labor Board and tried to take shop floor
action.. As the war wound down, first in Europe, then the Pacific, pent-up frustration with wage
inequities and the bosses’ greed threatened to explode. Indeed, a strike wave swept through steel
immediately after the war. U.S. Steel bemoaned the “serious production loss of 29 million tons of
steel from the end of the war to June 30, 1950, due to strikes and work stoppages.” 51
was 1010 president during a big wildcat strike at Inland in 1945.52
War Ends: Strikes Continue
Once World War II was over, as Zeiger puts it, "Murray's vision rested on hopes for a
smooth transition from war to peace and on business-labor collaboration…" [Italics mine]53
What Tanzman describes as the “wages/productivity bargain” between labor and capital was at
the core of this strategy, and it relied heavily on centralized negotiations and control from the
In response to pent-up worker frustration over wage inequities and sacrifices during the
war, 1946 brought the first industry-wide basic steel strike. 750,000 steelworkers shut down U.S.
steel production for 28 days, winning an across-the-board pay increase of 181/2 cents an hour.
Olszanski 21 L580 Term Paper
The strike was coordinated by Murray and the International USWA leadership in Pittsburg, but
was carried out by the Rank & File at Inland and the other mills. It was settled between Phil
Murray and John A. Stevens, vice president of U.S. Steel in Washington , D.C. For the first time,
some union members at Local 1010 heard about the settlement first on the radio. While it
established an industry-wide settlement on wages, it left many local issues, especially job
classification and incentive issues, unresolved.
1947 negotiations throughout the industry established language to evaluate and classify all
job rates and establish standard hourly rates for each job. It also saw a new clause—Section 2-B
in the U.S. steel contract—which gave local union grievance committees a degree of protection of
existing work practices within the departments. While never clear, the language allowed grievers
to argue that a “past practice” could not be changed arbitrarily at the whim of management.
Theoretically at least, it seemed to shore up local union autonomy and rank & file control. 55
The Inland/USWA 1947 contract negotiated in Pittsburgh, was signed by Phil Murray and the
Internationl USWA officers, as well as John Sargent and the Local 1010 negotiating committee.
But it left serious issues of pay inequity unsettled. The Rank & File at Inland wasn’t ready for
labor peace. But events in the world at large were about to change the context in which 1010’s
radicals resisted the international, and tried to exercise Rank and File control over bargaining,
The declaration, by Churchill and Truman, of a cold war against communism, brought
labor’s top anti-communists to the fore. Murray initially defended the CIO’s Communists,
defying the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and anti-communist Walter Reuther at the
1946 CIO convention with a militant declaration for center-left unity:
Olszanski 22 L580 Term Paper
Let no one create conflict within this movement....this mighty
organization, the CIO, is not going to be divided by anybody....
We have our divisions of opinion and we, I suppose, in the years
to come, will be susceptable to divisions of opinion.
That is mighty healthy...
He was even more forceful at the USWA convention in 1946:
We ask no man his national origin, his religion, his beliefs.
It is enough for us that he is a steelworker and that he believes
in trade unionism...Our union has not been and will not be an
instrument of repression. It is a vehicle for economic and
social progress.... As a democratic institution we engage in
no purges, no witch hunts. We do not dictate a man's thoughts
or beliefs. Most important of all we do not permit ourselves
to be stampeded into courses of action which create division
among our members and sow the disunity which is sought by
those false prophets and hypocritical advisers from without
who mean us no good.56
The Federal Taft-Hartley act of 1947, passed despite Truman’s veto, fueled the fires of
anti-communism in the U.S. labor movement. Among other provisions, it required every union
officer to sign a “loyalty oath” swearing he was not a communist, on threat of expulsion from
union office. Murray continued vocal support of participation by the left through the 1947 CIO
convention at Boston, declaring himself unequivocally opposed to amendment of the constitution
to provide for expulsion of the reds which Reuther was demanding. He said that history had
proven that expulsions would take control of the unions away from the membership.57
In this he proved to be correct. But then the USWA and CIO boss reversed himself. At the
May, 1947 CIO executive Board meeting Murray announced to the union that he and the USWA
were on board the anti-communist.
It is high time the CIO leaders stopped apologizing for Communism...
throw it to hell out, and throw out its advocates along with it.
When a man accepts office to render service to workers, and then
delivers that service to other outside interests, that man is nothing but a
Olszanski 23 L580 Term Paper
The reference here seems is to be to the likes of Pressman and De Caux, but with
this radical departure from his previous public statements, Murray was also finally placing
himself firmly in the anti-communist ranks, where it would appear he had belonged all
along. The kid gloves were off. Communists, and those in the USWA who associated with
them, were traitors. Anticommunist opportunists, who now included Murray, saw in this
cold war insanity an opportunity to crush their left wing political opposition—and anyone
principled enough to stand with them. In the process, they could now rip the thorn from
their side that was the Local 1010 Rank & File.
How would they do it? Migas suggested there was more to it than removing radicals from
union office under the new Taft-Hartley law. That was the stick. The carrot encouraged
opportunism, and the International was “playing politics” with grievances, and dangling full-time
staff appointments in front of cooperative local union grievers and officers, according to Migas.
Many of the less principled, and those who were convinced it was un-American to support union
leaders who were red or “pink” would go along to get along.
How did the International take over? …hedging here, hedging there, getting
people under their influence in the local who were ambitious to become
foremen or to get on the staff, spending money just before an election; that
way progressive leadership was broken up in the plant, in the union. It was a
gradual process….if you had a good man as grievance committeeman, and
the International didn’t settle his grievances at the third and fourth steps,
then the people involved thought it was the grievance man’s fault [and voted
him out of office]59
Migas personally got enormous support from the members in his department when an
attempt was made to remove him from union office for his CP membership in 1948. A petition,
signed by 250 members in #1 Open hearth stated, “it makes no difference to us that he is a
Olszanski 24 L580 Term Paper
communist. He is a strong union man, a good fighter for us men here.” They argued it was the
will “of the rank-and-file…that Brother Migas be our Grievance committeeman.”60
and Germano’s purge of 1010’s radicals underway it would get plenty ugly in the “red local.”
“Wildcat Johnnie” Sargent
“We had quite a few wildcats,” Joe Gyurko remembered. “It seemed like the Cold Strip
[John Sargent’s department] was always on wildcat.”61
Many of these strikes were over
incentive pay. “They had every job on a different type of incentive, and every time one of them
incentives dropped, the guys at the drop of a hat were out the gate. I was always out on strike.”62
These strikes usually resulted in a settlement which basically granted the workers’ demands. The
resultant agreements, written or verbal, until 1947 universally included amnesty for the strikers,
in spite of the no-strike clause in the Local contract. But 1010’s Tin Mill strike changed all that.
A 1947 wildcat at Inland’s Tin Mill in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s
no-strike clause provided the International leadership an opportunity to rid the union of Sargent
and the Rank & File. The issue was low incentive or “bonus” pay on a new electrolytic tin plating
line. The company was once again instituting speed-up. Sargent took some heat when the
company “in a flurry of red-baiting…” as Zivich reports, fired 80 strikers.63
According to Gyurko,
Mary Hopper and Nick Migas, the International Union under Philip Murray and District Director
Joe Germano signed an agreement without Sargent’s knowledge or consent that legitimated the
Gyurko told me in 1982,
Olszanski 25 L580 Term Paper
Germano sent the letter out, ‘you guys goin’ to go back. The company’s got the
right to fire you. You give ‘em that right.’ They stuck and they all got fired. And at
that time, the Tin Mill had the most militant union group in the whole mill…They
broke the back of the union in that department. Real bad. Germano. You can
blame Germano because he wouldn’t support them…
But Gyurko also recognized that the Tin Mill rank & file’s insistence on
going it alone allowed them to be isolated by Inland and Germano—and crushed.
“Sargent was going to pull the whole local out, and they didn’t want him to do that, the group
didn’t. They thought they could hold out on their own…A big mistake!”64
Mary Hopper, along with a large proportion of the women hired at Inland during World
War II, worked in the Tin Mill with Ann Geba. She was elected 1010 Recording Secretary
several times. “Look at the way they crucified him [Sargent] over that 1947 strike,” she said.
“You don’t fire 80 guys, like, the way they did. They went completely around him. Then, of
course, people didn’t believe it. Nobody would believe that they would, that the International and
the company would sign an agreement without the local president.”65
Murray and Germano had
used the International Union’s legal ability to speak for the Local Union membership to
circumvent its elected leadership and enforce top-down discipline.
It appears that Murray, Germano and the International hoped to accomplish at least two
goals with this deal: to wipe out or seriously curtail rank & file support for Sargent and his red
caucus, and to teach the members once and for all that the International ran the USWA, and when
Murray gave his personal word there would be no strikes, he wasn’t going to let an ignorant and
fool-hardy membership break it. Their attempt was to prove only partially successful.
The following year at the 1948 USWA Convention, 1010 delegate Nick Migas passed out
leaflets critical of the international leadership’s anti-rank & file activities. Migas’ leaflet, in
Olszanski 26 L580 Term Paper
addition to criticism of Murray’s support for Truman’s new cold war foreign policy, made
reference to the 1947 back-door agreement. The leaflet attacked Murray and the International,
which it said “stopped or discouraged departmental stoppages, slow-downs and other actions
against departmental beefs; it permitted staunch union men to be fired without benefit of union
defense for simply fighting speed-up and other beefs. Either we are a fighting union every inch of
the way, or we go down the road to company unionism” For his trouble, Migas was dragged out
of the convention hall to the street by Murray’s goons, beaten and kicked to the curb.66
Metzgar speaks of the “discipline that enabled the USW from 1946-1956 to strike 5 times
and go out and come back together, as a group.” 67
This discipline can hardly be seen as self-
imposed, considering the lengths to which the international leadership was willing to go to
enforce it. “Eighty fired at Inland, Murray says they’re not coming back…” must have ripped
through the ranks of Local 1010 like a tornado, dispelling any notions radicals and rank & filers
alike might have that the old rules could still be applied. Indeed, progressive leadership in the
other big steel locals can hardly have ignored the message, though evidence suggests wildcats
continued longer in some locals, while at 1010 they practically disappeared after 1947, as far as I
I was aware of no wildcats of any significance in my time of employment at
Inland, from 1963 to 1996.
1948 was a turning point in U.S. labor history. The CPUSA supported the Progressive
Party’s Henry Wallace for President, as did Joe Gyurko and many Rank & Filers at 1010. Gyurko
campaigned for Wallace door to door. A huge Wallace rally in Gary drew thousands of union
members, who opposed Truman’s cold war escalation, as well as Taft-Hartley. Murray fired
Communists Len DeCaux, Fred Avila and Harry Gantt of the CIO News, and USWA
Washington D.C. legislative representative Robert Lamb, purportedly over the Wallace issue.
Olszanski 27 L580 Term Paper
He reportedly shed tears over his firing of trusted chief consul Lee Pressman—but did it just the
same—for, in his mind, “putting loyalty to the CP above loyalty to the union.” 69
Pressman was quickly replaced with avowed anti-communist Arthur J Goldberg, a labor
lawyer recruited to USWA service by Van Bittner in 1940. During the war, Goldberg’s job as a
Captain with the CIA predecessor Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was to funnel money to
underground resistance units in occupied Europe—but only to the anti-communist elements of the
Goldberg, later a founder with Reuther and others of Americans for Democratic
Action (ADA) was a key proponent of the liberal “Middle Way” a social democratic theory that
aimed to “democratize, humanize and stabilize market systems” by sharing power equally among
corporations, the state and labor unions. Liberals like Goldberg detested communists more than
capitalists, and would prove to be just the man to help Murray run them out of the CIO, and the
Murray had begun in earnest the purge of the CIO’s and USWA’s militants, calling them
communists and traitors. He had likewise effectively disabused the USWA 1010 members, if not
the entire USWA membership, of any ideas that bargaining in the old style would any longer be
tolerated. Thus, the “wages/productivity bargain” could be implemented and expanded with little
interference from a weakened Rank and File.72
The 1950s: Industry Wide Bargaining and Strikes
An Industry- wide strike was called by Murray in October, 1949. Murray and top USWA
and CIO leaders had determined that Company-paid pensions, rather than enlargement of
Olszanski 28 L580 Term Paper
programs like Social Security were the way to insure steelworker futures under a capitalist system
they heartily endorsed. The post-war “wages/productivity bargain”, in the eyes of these business
unionists, made capitalists somewhat responsible for the welfare of their workers, while viewing
government-sponsored plans with some suspicion. Interestingly U.S. Steel, employing welfare
capitalism under the so-called “American Plan”—designed to keep out unions—had established
company paid pensions for its employees in 1911.73
Local 1010 was out for 42 days, as once
again the recalcitrant Inland Steel was among the last to settle. The Rank & File at 1010,
where Harry Powell was now president, once again furnished the foot soldiers, but had little to
say about the high level negotiations. “At the 1950 USWA convention, the International
Leadership was made the ‘sole contracting party’ in all collective bargaining agreements,”74
making the local union negotiating committees a mere creature of the International’s control.
In 1952, President Harry Truman announced he would seize the steel mills to settle
deadlocked negotiations between big steel and the USWA. Citing the effects of a steel shut-down
on military production for the on-going Korean conflict, Truman insisted a strike “must not be
allowed to happen.” He blamed the deadlocked squarely on steel management. Inland
management’s Clarence Randall called Truman’s action “an evil deed without precedent and a
threat of nationalization to all industry.”75
The companies settled with top union negotiators
under White House supervision, after 59 days on strike. “Wildcat Willie” Maihoffer was
replaced as 1010 president that year by the conservative Don Lutes Senior. Maihoffer’s botched,
indecisive handling of a racial incident in the Power and Steam department, where white workers
doused a black in kerosene and threatened to set him on fire, gave the Lutes caucus just what it
needed to beat the Rank & File in local union elections. Phil Murray died on November 9, leaving
Olszanski 29 L580 Term Paper
the union’s top job to the flashy business unionist David J. McDonald.
In 1953 and 1954, the USWA struck steel again, for five weeks industry-wide.
Don Lutes Senior was president of Local 1010 during this time. McDonald would have no
problems with militancy in local 1010’s leadership during these years but in fact put Local 1010
under trusteeship during Lutes term of office over fiscal issues. Nyden ascribes to the
International an ability to tap, and largely control local militancy during the fifties, threatening to
“let local militants loose if the industry did not agree to union demands.” This also “served as a
catharsis for local union militants,” channeling and releasing much of their pent up frustration
with top-down international control.76
Pete Callacci was 1010 president in 1956, when the USWA and major steel companies
established coordinated bargaining. The CIO had surrendered to the AFL, and 650,000 USWA
members struck the industry’s big twelve for four weeks, gaining 45 cents an hour, including a
COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Bargaining was handled by a top committee consisting of
USWA president David J McDonald, Secretary-Treasurer I.W. Abel, Vice President Hague and
General Counsel Arthur J. Goldberg. The Wage Policy Committee rubber-stamped the
agreement. The former Trotkyist Callacci was by this time firmly in the International’s camp.
He was still president in 1959, when the longest, and last steel strike at Inland Steel, took place.
Inland, and basic steel throughout the country, was shut down tight for 116 days. Once again,
Local 1010 did as it was told and let negotiations proceed according to the now established high
level bargaining model. Once again the members were presented with a fait accompli and did not
Olszanski 30 L580 Term Paper
get to vote on the contract. Ironically, the key issue in the 1959 industry-wide steel strike was the
preservation of “local working conditions” or “past practice”—a clause (2-B in the USS
Agreement, Article 2 Section 2 in Inland’s) which armed individual local grievance committees
for the day-to-day struggle on the shop floor. In far too many cases this language was little
understood and not effectively used by many later, more conservatively schooled grievers. In the
case of Inland and Local 1010, the local working conditions language was inadequate to protect
things like crew sizes, and would become a key bargaining issue in 1965 contract talks. More
unfortunately still, far too few rank & file workers really understood what they were striking for
in 1959, since by that time the alienation of the workers from their Pittsburgh international
leaders, now presided over by David J. MacDonld, was almost complete.
Industry-wide bargaining, while it promised the positive effect of eliminating the
possibility of management “whipsawing” one local union against another, at least over wages,
failed to assure uniformity in key provisions of the individual Company contracts, especially on
language protecting jobs. Indeed, the companies welcomed it, fearing the union might in fact
whipsaw wages upward by using pattern bargaining.77
But it greatly assisted the concentration of
control over bargaining in the hands of top International Union leadership, and put it effectively
behind closed doors. This was just where people like Phil Murray, Dave MacDonald and IW
Abel liked it. Local 1010’s negotiating committee, removed sometimes to Pittsburgh sometimes
to Washington D.C. for coordinated bargaining was sequestered, with little or no contact with the
rank & file in the mill, often for weeks at a time. Trying to negotiate local issues with Inland
management, while international negotiators met behind other closed doors to hammer out an
industry-wide contract, the local team was out of the loop of the higher level talks. In the final
Olszanski 31 L580 Term Paper
hours, they would be called together and told that the industry contract was decided, and to
quickly settle their local issue and go on home. The USWA Wage Policy Committee, whose
members came from other industries as well as basic steel, nominally approved contracts, but
their vote was usually to support the recommendation of the executive board.
Elections for the USWA president and executive board came up in 1965, right in the
middle of basic steel negotiations. A palace revolt led by USWA executive board member I.W
Abel, was supported by Sargent and new Rank & File Caucus leader and alleged former CP
organizer Jim Balanoff. Abel, who in his “fight back” political campaign blasted McDonald’s
“tuxedo unionism,” would shortly emerge as another of management’s beloved “labor
statesmen.” Negotiations, suspended for the duration of the election, were concluded by Abel and
his team. The May 1 deadline passed, and Abel gave the 11 Steel Companies a three month
extension, rather than strike. A contract once again negotiated from the top-down was signed in
1965 by the international officers. This Inland contract does not bear the signatures of any Local
1010 officers or negotiating committee members. It remains the only USWA/Inland Contract
before or since left unsigned by a 1010 local union president.
John Sargent was president of Local 1010 in 1965, and fellow Rank & File Caucus leader
Jim Balanoff was Secretary of the Grievance Committee. Balanoff reported in November 1964,
on a Grievers’ meeting at which “the consensus…is that all the time needed to settle our many
burning local problems should be given the negotiating committee before any contract is agreed
to. These department and plant problems have to be settled and every attempt will be made to
settle them to the satisfaction of our members.”78
Sargent, Balanoff, and the entire Local 1010
Olszanski 32 L580 Term Paper
negotiating committee refused to sign. Having promised in his Local 1010 Steelworker column of
December, 1964 to sign no contract “until local conditions are settled to the satisfaction of the
Local Bargaining Committees”79
Sargent kept his word.
Complaining of the waste and ineffectiveness of moving the local negotiating committee
to Pittsburgh, Sargent expressed frustration with the negotiating process and the resulting
contract. “IT’S OVER,” he writes in September, 1965, “After nine months of seemingly endless
talk—much of it futile and useless.” Sargent went on to explain the reasons 1010’s committee
refused to sign. “We appealed to the International Executive board, “ he said in his front page
column, “to either give us a contract similar to the Big Ten…or let us use the power of the…
Local  to get…what other steelworkers have.” Sargent specifically pointed to two crucial
lacks in the Inland contract:. “The Steel Industry’s provisions [contract language] on incentives,”
and “The Steel Industry’s provisions [contract language] on protecting crew sizes, known as 2-
B.” Sargent explained that inferior language in the Inland contract did not prohibit the Company
“from cutting incentive pay on jobs changed by new equipment and processes.” And the Inland
version of the “local working conditions” language (Article 2 Section 2) would allow them to
reduce crew sizes. These two differences would give “Inland a distinct economic advantage over
the rest of the basic steel industry,” by taking “millions of dollars out of the pockets of Inland
A Local 1010 resolution submitted to the 1965 District 31 Conference called for changes
in negotiating procedures “so that we either strive for essentially one contract covering all the
basic steel companies or that we bargain separately with these companies…”81
Calling for a
“drastic revamping and reorganization” of “our entire method of negotiation” 1010 Grievance
Olszanski 33 L580 Term Paper
Committeeman Joe Sowa called for membership ratification in 1966. Complaining that “The
president of the union is called in behind the politicians’ closed door, and nobody knows what
happened about the changes we asked on [the] local level.” Sowa pointed out that the Wage
Policy Committee and the International executive board could and did “overrule the negotiating
team of various Locals and approve the agreement even with the objection of the Local…”82
Bill Bennett, who defeated Sargent for 1010 president in 1967 by a vote of 5510 to 3590,
called for a shorter work week with no reduction in pay and early retirement and training to
offset job loss in steel. The Basic Steel Industry Conference, composed of Local Union
presidents of only basic steel was established that year, and given the authority to ratify the
contract or recommend a strike, which would have to be approved by membership vote. The
Industry Conference would prove highly susceptible to arm-twisting by the USWA president.
Thus, centralized control of negotiations was maintained. Local 1010’s negotiating committee in
1968 was headed by Sam Evett, District 31 Director Joe Germano’s personal assistant, thus
assuring International union control of local bargaining. Once more, locals negotiations started
locally, but were then moved to Pittsburg and sequestered.
The Seventies: Industry Bargaining, ENA
In 1973, I.W. Abel and the Coordinated Basic Steel Companies “Embarked on an
designed to insure “labor peace” and fulfill Murray’s old dream
of full “collaboration” between the union and the bosses. After meeting secretly for months,
Olszanski 34 L580 Term Paper
Abel, the USWA Executive board, and ten major steel companies announced the Experimental
Negotiating Agreement (ENA) on television and in the newspapers March 30, 1973. Designed
to eliminate stockpiling by the industry in anticipation of strikes, the ENA pledged the USWA not
to strike at all, no matter how the negotiations turned out. It substituted arbitration for the right to
strike. The Rank & File were furious.
Typifying progressive local union leaders throughout the USWA, Local 1014 officer and
black leftist leader Curtis Strong blasted the no-strike ENA: “ENA takes away the only real club
unions have. The ENA was the same ideology they handed the blacks: ‘We’ll negotiate for
Local 1010 griever Mike Mezo (later elected president in 1988) likewise stood for the
right to strike and the right to ratify and complained of the top-down closed-door bargaining
tactics used by the USWA International: “The rank & file had been excluded from the decision-
making process and mistrusted both the company and the union. …The men in suits told them
they didn’t need to vote on contracts and now don’t need to strike. It caused even more
Present District 7 Director Jim Robinson, who as a young griever served on the 1977
Local 1010 negotiating committee, described the frustration of negotiating under ENA, carried
over from 1973 and 1974 negotiations:
We started negotiations locally and then moved to Washington for six
weeks. Inland’s top brass knew when the industry-wide deal was going to come
down. Meanwhile, they’d sit across the table and say in effect, ‘screw you.’ They
wouldn’t do anything [agree to anything] until the last minute. Then they’d put a
package on the table and say, ‘Take it or leave it’ The process reached its low
point in 1974 when Inland told [then 1010 president and International supporter]
Olszanski 35 L580 Term Paper
Hank Lopez ‘You can take a ten cent increase on the meal ticket and Kotex for the
women’s wash room’ Hank should have told them to stick it.86
Under ENA, a local could in fact strike, but only on local issues. Since all big ticket
economic issues were industry wide, that left the local to negotiate small change items, and made
the possibility of a local strike remote. Impossible is not a word I like to use, but I will say the
possibility of taking out 18,000 steelworkers in 1977 over non-economic issues was in fact
extremely remote. In spite of this, in 1977 the local negotiating committee, led by District
Director Jim Balanoff and 1010 President Bill Andrews took a strike authorization vote on Local
issues. We had assembled a huge package of health and safety, environmental and Coke plant
demands. We asked the membership to grant the committee the right to strike Inland, if they
wouldn’t settle. They did, by a paper thin 52% to 48% margin. With no economic issues on the
table, nearly half of 1010’s 18,000 members refused to authorize a strike. Along with Mike Mezo,
Jim Robinson, Rudy Schneider, James Ross and others, this was my first contract negotiations.
The committee of about ten was appointed by Bill Andrews, and consisted mostly of
departmental grievers. Each had a list of quite parochial, departmental demands he wanted to win
for his department. Most bargaining took place in Washington D.C. at the Shoreham Hotel. We
met the company in small sub committees, while top level talks went on in secret. Coke Plant
Griever James Ross and I, along with a delegation of coke plant workers from several big locals,
tried for a week to get a meeting with Abel, to find out what was on the big table for coke plants.
He refused to meet. We sat down outside his hotel room door one evening for an hour or so, to no
avail. He sent an emissary, Lloyd McBride, to defuse the situation. No one was to find out what
was in store for coke plant workers until a final agreement was submitted to the Basic Steel
Industry Conference of local union presidents for approval, take it or leave it. We were a long
way from Indiana Harbor, and from the members in the mill.87
In spite of Abel’s
Olszanski 36 L580 Term Paper
recommendation, the Local Union Presidents voted down the industry contract on first ballot.
Arm twisting started in earnest then, and it didn’t take long for Abel to bring enough dissidents in
line to get approval.
We went home to the members with an industry contract already settled, and a committee
recommendation to approve the local issues we’d been able to settle. There was no way, we felt,
we could ask 1010 members to strike, since we had only narrowly won the strike authorization
vote of 52% to 48%. At an all day plant gate vote, the members approved the local contract 4 to 1.
It was a mediocre contract. We could have done better.
The 1010 Rank & File Caucus, led by then president Bill Andrews, joined with insurgents
from across the country to build for a convention floor fight for the right to ratify contracts in
basic steel at the 1978 Steelworkers convention in Atlantic City. We campaigned for our slate of
delegates, pledging to fight for the issue at the convention. We elected 36 of 1010’s 37 delegates,
including Mezo, his father Cliff “Cowboy” Mezo, myself and griever Jim Robinson.
Jim Robinson was introduced to me by his father-in-law, 1010 Rank & File Chair and
later 1010 President Jim Balanoff in 1972 as a Students For a Democratic Society (SDS)
organizer. He was reputedly pretty radical in his younger days. He had this to say about closed-
door bargaining, the right to ratify contracts and the right to strike at the USWA convention in
I hired into the mill in 1971 and the contract came up that summer.
Saturday at midnight was the contract deadline. The next day I’m sittin’ in a tavern
in South Chicago, and it comes on the TV: the contract has been settled. Well, this
is my contract! Why do I gotta learn that from the television, that it’s been settled?
Why can’t I say , you know, what are the terms of this contract and I’ll decide
whether it’s been settled or not? Or at least I’ll have my one four hundred
Olszanski 37 L580 Term Paper
thousandth of a say as to whether it’s been settled And that’s always left a bad
taste in my mouth, and I think it leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.88
Robinson’s description of learning about the contract on TV resonates with thousands of
steelworkers who experienced negotiations in the 1970’s similarly. His eloquent statement
describing how top union leaders had undermined the movement by top-down centralized
control of the union, and how rank & file control can revive it rings true today:
You read it in the papers, you see it on television: ‘Labor’s in trouble.
Labor Law reform bill got beat. Common Situs Picketing got beat. Compromise on
the minimum wage.’ Well, George Meany and them are in trouble! O.K.? Because
I don’t see most of them doing a very effective job of going to their membership
and saying, ‘Look, this is what we gotta do , and we can’t do it ‘cause we’re just
individuals. We can only do it if we speak for you and if we have your backing.’
I don’t see them doing that. And if they did that, I don’t know what kind of
response they’d get, because for years they’ve been saying, ‘Look, we don’t need
your backing, we don’t want your backing, we don’t want you to say nothin’.
We’ll negotiate the contracts. We’ll run the union. And you just pay the dues.’
Too much they’ve been doing that. And now, you know, the chickens are starting
to come home to roost. They’re losing. And they don’t really know what to do.
And this is the sense in which we need a Labor Movement, O.K.? This union isn’t
my union, it’s not your union., Jim Balanoff or Ed Sadlowski’s union or Lloyd
McBride’s union. This union belongs to the members that work in the mill. And
they’re the people that should make those decisions. Because that’s their right.
That’s what the union’s there for.”89
These and similar sentiments among 1010 Rank and Filers, of whom, Robinson and Mike
Mezo were two, led to a serious contest for the membership’s right to ratify contracts at the 1978
USWA convention in Atlantic City. Robinson, Mezo and myself were in the thick of it.
Tight control of the convention by IW Abel precluded a victory there, or even a roll call vote.
The issue was referred back to the Industry Conference, which years later, in the face of the break
Olszanski 38 L580 Term Paper
up of coordinated bargaining and demands by the companies for concessions, saw fit to grant
membership ratification in basic steel.
Mike Mezo described how the Rank & File’s failure to win democratic reforms in the
USWA, through convention fights and the ill-fated Sadlowski insurgency of 1977, weakened the
union and its ability to resist the onslaught of the concession-hungry steel industry in the 1980’s:
On the national level, thwarting the Rank & File Movement had
catastrophic consequences. We were helpless for ten years. Now the leaders of the
International wonder ‘where are all our agitators, our activists?’ The answer is
‘They were run out in the seventies’ When the shit hit the fan in the 1980’s, and
you needed masses of people, you couldn’t threaten a national strike. We have
spent the last 15 years building what we had in the seventies.”90
Mezo is basically correct, though I have argued that the red purges of the 1940’s and
1950’s actually marked the start of the decline of our union. Running out the “communists” then
meant running out the most democratic, militant, progressives as well. The “new left” insurgency
in steel of the 1970’s built a pretty broad alliance, but it was too dependent on the charismatic
leadership of Ed Sadlowski, and failed to build a bottom-up movement which could endure as
more than an election campaign organization. Sadlowski and District 31 Director Jim Balanoff in
fact opposed the idea of a permanent, ongoing Fight Back organization at the 1978 Convention in
Atlantic City, arguing it would be a target for the International leadership. Refusing to take
leadership of an assemblage of USWA Rank & File groups from around the country they
expressed concerns the International Leadership would use the old “dual unionism” charge
against us. Following their lead, and that of Cliff and Mike Mezo and Jim Robinson, I voted with
the 1010 rank & File delegation against forming a permanent organization. I was soon to regret
that decision. Balanoff expressed his own regrets at this decision in an interview years later.
Olszanski 39 L580 Term Paper
The 1980’s: Concessions Bargaining and Job Loss
In 1980, negotiations once more were coordinated industry-wide but the steel
industrialists had had enough of ENA with its 3% guaranteed wage increase and arbitration.
District director Balanoff and 1010 president Andrews once again tried to assemble enough “local
issues” to at least threaten a strike, but it was obvious that once again, the members would take
what was handed down from the top. Jobs were becoming the big issue among steelworkers, as
eastern mills began to be shuttered, and pressures for job combinations and eliminations
increased. Adequate job protections were still absent from the contract, and president McBride
told me and other delegates to the USWA 1980 convention that the union had no business telling
the owner of a steel mill when he could or could not shut it down, or how many workers he had to
The last USWA contract under coordinated bargaining was negotiated in 1983. The
coordinated steel companies demanded the USWA give back wages and benefits, and sought
work rule changes to facilitate more “downsizing”—the combination and elimination of jobs.
President Lloyd McBride died in the middle of negotiations, leaving new president Lyn Williams
to conclude a pact that included. “Significant concessions.”92
A “NO Concessions” drive among
basic steel presidents, supported by Bill Andrews, failed to garner enough support to overcome
enormous pressures from the International leadership to settle. By February, the contract was
Olszanski 40 L580 Term Paper
settled, with no threat of a strike. Then Chair of the grievance committee at 1010 Joe Gyurko
complained that the Inland contract still “contains certain sections that no other steel company has
and they hurt us in fighting job eliminations.”93
Coordinated industry wide bargaining, while
minimizing rank and file control of negotiations, had also failed to protect 1010 against inferior
contract language on work rules. Gyurko and the Rank & File urged members to help fight job
combinations and eliminations by closely following safety rules, filing grievances when they
caught foremen working, refusing to turn in suggestions on efficiency improvements, and
supporting the local union.94
In 1986, U.S. Steel, Inland and the rest of the basic steel companies decided to dissolve
coordinated industry-wide bargaining, and take on the locals one by one, hoping to whipsaw one
against the other. Inland demanded more concessions, saying they wanted “parity” with the other
companies. Local 1010, under president Bill Andrews, prepared for the worst. Two “sound off”
meetings were held at the union hall, and members attending were unanimous in their resistance
to concessions on wages and work rules. I was assigned to organize a strike committee. We
started early, urging mass participation by the members, and signed up over 2500 members out of
a total of perhaps 12,000 as strike committee volunteers. Andrews, who originally won office on
the Rank & File slate, had increasingly come under the influence of life-long friend and now
mentor, USWA vice president for human affairs Leon Lynch. His position had become
increasingly more cautious, conservative, and non-confrontational vis-à-vis the International, to
the chagrin of myself and some other Rank & Filers. He appointed a small negotiating committee
and started closed-door negotiations with Inland. Negotiating Committee reports were printed and
distributed at the plant gates, but they were edited by Andrews and director Parton, containing
only general information. Fearing “leaks” to the press or the members, Parton and Andrews
Olszanski 41 L580 Term Paper
sequestered the committee and I, as vice president chairing informational membership meetings
in Andrew’s absence, was kept out of the loop. Angry at the return to secrecy, I complained
vehemently, telling Andrews privately that I didn’t appreciate being “treated like a mushroom—
kept in the dark and fed bull shit.” In fairness, Andrews was well aware of my position on
transparency, and felt I could not be relied upon to keep secrets from the membership. After
approval by the international executive board, the 1010 committee brought back a package which
it unanimously recommended to the members. Mass meetings were held at an East Chicago high
school auditorium, to explain the contract point by point. For the first time since 1942, 1010
members ratified the entire contract. Membership participation in the bargaining process was
limited and circumscribed, but none the less important. Negotiations, though closed door, at least
had to produce a contract which could garner sufficient rank & file support to ensure membership
ratification. I am convinced, however that 1010’s membership would be loath to reject a contract
presented by the entire negotiating committee as “the best we can get.”
Is there a way to return contract negotiations and the right to strike to the members?
I believe so. Unable to talk to participants in the early Inland negotiations as much as I would
like, I turned to a Gary, Indiana trade union leader I’ve known and respected for over twenty
years. Alice Bush, staff representative for SEIU Local 208, described to me how the left-led 1199
Hospital Workers Unions bargained with St. Mary’s and Methodist hospitals in Gary, Indiana in
the 1980’s. The bargaining committee was large—very large when compared to the dozen or so
appointed to a typical 1010 negotiating committee, which negotiated for some 18,000 members. It
was elected—one member from each occupation at the hospital was elected by his/her peers.
Negotiations were local and they were open. Any member of the union was allowed, in fact
encouraged to attend sessions, which were held in an auditorium large enough to accommodate
Olszanski 42 L580 Term Paper
several hundred workers. Often it was full. Transparency was near complete, and Union
negotiators rarely acquiesced to management’s constant requests for a “sidebar” discussion
behind closed doors. In the rare instances when the door was closed, prompt reports to the
membership kept the rank & file in the loop. The press was not directly admitted, but were
generally out in the hall, and ready with questions any time union members or management left
the hall. “1199 always did it that way. That’s the way I was taught,” says Bush. Like the United
Electrical Workers (UE) her union was left-led, and saw closed door bargaining as class
In 1987-88, during my brief part term as Local 1010 president, I represented the local in
what might loosely be termed negotiations with Inland. Management was asking for a mid-
contract re-opener, claiming an urgent need to talk to the union about its role in a multi-million
dollar revamping of Plant #4 bar and structural division. The role Inland envisioned for its
employees was to cooperate in removing contract bars to combining operating and maintenance
I met with the local officers and grievance committeemen, and we agreed to listen to
Inlands demands, but said we would not re-negotiate the contract. The very first thing Inland
wanted of us, when we met in East Chicago in the offices of USWA District Director Jack Parton,
was a pledge to secrecy. “We want to give you all the information about our business plans, but
we don’t want it to leave this room.” The very first thing I told Inland management was, “I don’t
believe in keeping secrets from the members. Whatever you tell us here, the instant we leave
we’re going to call mass departmental meetings with the members and tell it all to them.”
Inland proceeded to lay out a proposal, and an implied threat. We called two meetings a day with
each affected department membership, to fully cover all shifts. We told them Inland wanted in
Olszanski 43 L580 Term Paper
effect a contract re-opener. They wanted a separate agreement for Plant 4, with totally new work
rules, allowing the combining of electrical, mechanical and production jobs. We detailed
precisely the proposal Inland had presented, completely, line by line. The members asked us, the
grievers and myself , what we thought. We told them we thought it was outrageous, but we could
not guarantee their jobs if Inland shut down all of Plant 4, which was what they threatened should
we not agree. We said we would do all we could to get people severance pay, but there were no
guarantees. The contract language was dubious and unreliable on this point. We told them an
agreement like this would set a dangerous precedent, and that we would prefer to tell the
company to stuff it, but that we would abide by their decision. We took a secret ballot vote and
counted it right in front of them. Out of several hundred votes, 2 or 3 said to negotiate.
The members, almost unanimously, told us not to negotiate on Plant #4. We happily reported to
Inland and the local newspapers we would not negotiate on these issues at this time. They would
have to put their proposals on the table in regular contract negotiations in 1989.
Mike Mezo, who was part of the original committee for these talks, supported this
decision. A few months later, after defeating me for 1010 president, he and Director Parton
opened private talks with Inland, and brought back to the members a fait accompli, a new
agreement for Plant 4. The members voted to accept. It was no surprise to me, given the position
their new president and director Parton had taken, that they did.
It’s not just short term outcomes that are affected by the kind of bargaining unions
employ, though I’m convinced the union usually gets better contracts when negotiations are open
and inclusive of the rank & file, and are only approved with their votes. Leftist 1010 leaders John
Sargent, Nick Migas, Joe Gyurko and Jim Balanoff, like Harry Bridges and unlike Germano,
Olszanski 44 L580 Term Paper
Murray and IW Abel, saw their power as union leaders enhanced, rather than diminished, by
having the rank & file at the table with them in negotiations, not locked out. In the long term, it is
my conviction that every time the union leadership meets behind closed doors, the union is
divided and weakened. Mistrust and alienation are consequences, not to mention the loss of
valuable shop-floor input. Union leaders are easily tagged as “sell outs” when they negotiate in
secret—and how do they prove otherwise? I think the trend in negotiations at USWA 1010 is but
one specific example of how unions that lock their members out of control of their own
bargaining agreements alienate and eventually lose those members’ loyalty and solidarity. The
price our union has paid is by now evident. From nearly a million and a half members in the
1970’s the USWA was down to a half million ten years ago. From nearly 19,000 members, Local
1010 is down to around 6,000 these days, while Inland’s steelmaking capacity has grown.
Arguments continue to be made that this job loss was the inevitable result of things like
automation and foreign competition. But I am convinced that a serious fight for a shorter work
week, strong contract language on crew size, and an early, effective organizing campaign in the
mini-mills, coupled with international labor solidarity aimed at bringing up living standards
among foreign steelworkers would have significantly minimized these losses. A left-led Rank &
File at 1010 in fact advocated these strategies and policies for many years. Sargent and Balanoff
in particular, articulated a concern with and strategy to effectively deal with job loss due to
automation in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They raised the issue at Wage Policy Committee meetings,
conventions, and in the local union newspaper The support of 1010’s Rank & File for the UAW–
led Shorter Work Week campaign in the 1970’s and 1980’s was similarly an attempt to offset job
loss in steel with a rational, entirely justifiable reduction of working hours commensurate with
productivity improvement in steel.96
USWA and AFL-CIO leadership failed to respond to these
Olszanski 45 L580 Term Paper
ideas, or to develop alternatives of their own. Hence I think they must accept a great deal of the
responsibility for job loss and consequent membership loss in steel, as well as in the rest of the
U.S. industrial and manufacturing sector. Perhaps a more open bargaining style would have
allowed some of these proposals to be incorporated into the USWA’s contract demands, and
perhaps some might even have had a chance of being implemented. We shall never know.
If the answers proposed by the Rank & File were/are unacceptable or unworkable, it
seems to me union leadership needed to find answers of its own. Over the years, many
steelworkers have lost respect for, as well as become alienated from their Pittsburgh leadership.
Indeed many 1010 members do not know the names of their past two International presidents,
since there was no vote. There was no contest, owing at least in part to the highly restrictive
USWA election procedure, which require candidates to be nominated by the votes of a large
number of local unions, simply to get on the ballot.
Olszanski 46 L580 Term Paper
Local 1010 contracts have been negotiated in the top-down manner largely without
incident, since the 1980’s. There has been no strike at Inland (now ISPAT/Inland) since 1959.
A fairly recent example of a major USWA strike is the twenty month Ravenswood, West
Virginia lock-out of 1990-1992. Some progressive supporters point to this campaign as the model
for a new kind of bargaining. The “new thinking” they rave about refers essentially to the
strategies and tactics employed, rather than any return to local control or democracy or any
A newly globalized Ravenswood Aluminum clearly aimed to bust the union. They
brought in black uniformed security guards and sealed off the plant before negotiations stalled.
They “permanently” replaced locked-out union members with scabs. Local 5668 members and
leaders, while displaying great unity and determination, differed markedly from those of the old
1010. A homogeneous group of mostly white southerners, they had no left leadership to speak of.
Already mobilized, willing to fight, and try any kind of new tactics that might help, they were
used by the International to try out myriad new innovative “corporate campaign” strategies aimed
at attacking management globally. Then vice president George Becker, who had a strong personal
interest in drawing a line in the sand at Ravenswood decided in conjunction with then president
Lyn Williams to pull out all the stops, employing as much money and new tactics as necessary to
win this particular strike. After decades of retreat and concessions bargaining, the USWA and
indeed the entire U.S. labor movement desperately needed a victory. Like the
Bridgestone/Firestone campaign, many tactics and strategies were global and carried out
overseas. At one point an 8 foot puppet of Mother Jones was sawed in half and flown to
Switzerland for a demonstration. Identifying international fugitive from the FBI Marc Rich as the
Olszanski 47 L580 Term Paper
man who pulled the strings behind Ravenswood, Becker personalized the attack. The idea was to
make an example of one recalcitrant company, and strike fear into the hearts of the rest.
While the International union and Becker saved Local 5668 from total destruction, they
did so, I think at high cost. It is not just the $20 million the USWA spent to save 1,700 jobs
(reduced to 580 by 2002).97
It is the further alienation of the members from their union. It is the
lesson, once more rammed home by Becker and president Lynn Williams, that in the final
analysis the International will do the negotiating and make the deals, while the members walk the
picket line and pay the dues.
Strategies (many originally devised by maverick Ray Rogers) were largely chosen by
Becker and technicians in the AFL’s Industrial Union Department, while implemented by the
rank & file. Negotiations were conducted by a small committee, and at times sequestered. A final
closed door secret session between Becker and top manager Pete Nash yielded a fait acompli
agreement which Becker insisted the Committee must approve and recommend to the
At least one of the local committee members vocally rejected the agreement as
inadequate, and was embittered by the experience. A membership that is told it’s not smart
enough to participate in determining its own contract and work rules, figures the union is just one
more bureaucracy, that doesn’t need them any more than they need it.
If union leaders really want to rebuild the labor movement, and the USWA, they need
more than new strategies, though they have proved useful, indeed. A commitment to spend any
amount of money needed when necessary to defend the members is a positive step. But members
need to understand that the union belongs to them, and that requires real openness in negotiations,
local control, membership involvement in decision-making, and I think a new respect for what
remains of the left. Perhaps the USWA needs to adopt a slogan like I adopted from the UE for my
Olszanski 48 L580 Term Paper
brief administration at Local 1010: “The members run this union!” And they need to put it into
practice at the negotiating table, as well as in the streets.
Olszanski L580 Term Paper
Abel, I.W. Collective Bargaining Labor Relations in Steel: Then and Now.
New York : Columbia University Press. 1976.
Archives, Calumet Regional, Gary: Indiana University Northwest Campus.
USWA Local 1010 Records (CRA #115)
Box 1, File Folders 1, 2, 3 & 21;
Box 3, File Folders 3&4; Minute Books, Executive Board 1943-1944.
Beard, Charles A. & Mary R. America in Midpassage. New York:
The Macmillan Company. 1939.
Bloom, Jack. Class, Race and the Civil Rights Movement. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1987.
Boyer, Richard O. and Morais, Herbert M.. Labor's Untold Story.
New York: Cameron Associates. 1955.
Bush, Alice. Interview by author. February, 2004.
CBS Reports: Inside the Union T.V. Documentary. Produced by Irv Drasnin.
New york: CBS News. 1978.
Cormier, Frank and Eaton, William J. Reuther. Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970.
Fisher, Douglas A. Steel Serves the Nation, 1901-1951, The Fifty Year
Story of United States Steel. New York: United States Steel
Franklin, Stephan, Three Strikes. New York: The Gilford Press, 2001.
Gaboury, Fred. “Little steel Strike”. The People’s Weekly World. May 13, 1997.
Ginger, Ann Fagan and Christiano, David, editors. The Cold War
Against Labor. Berkeley: Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, 1987.
Gyurko, Joseph. Taped Interview by Mike Olszanski, May 10-13, 1983
Olszanski L580 Term Paper
Harry Bridges, Public T.V. documentary, narrated by Studs Terkel,
producer/director Barry Minot, MW Productions/KQED TV Inc.
Herling, John. Right to Challenge. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Hopper, Mary. Taped Interview by Mike Olszanski. 10/3/83
Juravich, Tom & Bronfenbrenner, Kate. Ravenswood: The Steelworkers’ Victory and the Revival
of American Labor. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1999.
Keeran, Roger. The Communist Party and the Auto Workers Union.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.
Keeran, Roger. “Flint 1936/1998: Same War, Different Battle.”
People’s Weekly World, Saturday, August 15, 1998
Kraus, Henry. The Many and the Few: A Chronicle of the Dynamic Auto
Workers. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1985.
Lane, James B. and Olszanski, Mike, eds. “Steelworkers Fight Back,
Inland’s Local Union 1010 and the Sadlowski/Balanoff Campaigns”
Steel Shavings. Gary, IN: Indiana University Northwest.
Volume 30 (2000)
Lipset, Seymour Martin, et al. Union Democracy, New York: Anchor Books, 1962
Local 1010 Steelworker, various issues, 1964-1989
Lynd, Alice and Staughton, eds. Rank & File. Boston: Beacon Press, 1973
Lynd, Staughton, ed. “Personal histories of the Early CIO.”
Radical America, Volume 3, May-June, 1971, pp. 49-76.
Magnum, Garth L. and McNabb, R. Scott. The Rise, Fall and Replacement of Industrywide
Bargaining in the Basic Steel Industry. New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1997.
Olszanski L580 Term Paper
Metzgar, Jack. Striking Steel. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.
Morris, Jack H., Inland Steel Industries. Inland Steel at 100, Beginning a Second century of
Progress. Chicago: Inland Steel Industries. 1993.
Needleman, Ruth. Class, L490/L580 Spring, 2004.
Needleman, Ruth. Black Freedom Fighters in Steel. New York:
Cornell University Press, 2003.
Nyden, Philip W. Steelworkers Rank & File. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey
Olszanski, Mike. Black + White =Red, Mid-Term Paper for L580.
Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard A. Poor People's Movements,
Why They Succeed, How They Fail. New York: Random House, 1979.
Preis, Art. Labor's Giant Step. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1972.
Rittenmeyer, Michelle. Steel Union Locals in Crisis: Labor’s Response to the
Restructuring of a Basic Industry. Phd Thesis submitted to Faculty of Graduate Studies,
McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1988
Selvin, David F. A Terrible Anger: The 1934 Waterfront and General
Strikes in San Fransisco. Detroit:Wayne State University Press, 1996.
Shostak, Arthur B. Robust Unionism: Innovations in the Labor Movement.
Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991.
Sloan, Alfred P. Jr. My Years With General Motors. New York:
Doubleday & Company, 1963.
Stebenne, David L. Arthur J. Goldberg, New Deal Liberal. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Stepan-Norris, Judith and Zeitlin, Maurice. Left Out: Reds and
America’s Industrial Unions. New York: Cambridge
Olszanski L580 Term Paper
University Press, 2003
Shields, Art. On the Battle Lines, 1919-1939. New York: International Publishers, 1986
Sweeney, Vincent D. The United Steelworkers of America, Twenty Years Later: 1936-1956.
Pittsburgh: United Steelworkersof America (published by the Union) 1956
Tanzman, Will, “A Working Class Version of the New Left: The Rank and File Movement
in the United Steelworkers and the Ed Sadlowski Campaign,” Senior essay, Draft
of manuscript, Yale University, April 2004, p 13
Ulman, Lloyd. The Government of the nSteel Workers’ Union. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
United Steelworkers of America, Department of Education. Then & Now,
The Road Between. Pittsburg: USWA, 1986.
Zeiger, Robert H. The CIO, 1935-1955. Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press. 1995.
Zivich, Edward Andrew. Fighting Union: The CIO at Inland Steel
1936-1942. Masters Thesis, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
July 1972 (CRA #115 Box 1, File Folders 1)