Security, Civil Liberties, and Unions

By Harry Fleischman; Joyce Lewis Kornbluh et al. | Go to book overview

How The Industrial Security Program Works

All five of the Government security programs affect union members. Sometimes unionists come under more than one program, either on the same job or as they move from job to job. Security clearances under one program are not automatically honored by another.

There are 21,000 industrial plants involved in Government production today. Most union members in these plants come under the Industrial Personnel Security Program (IPSP), which was started in 1949, revised in 1952 and changed some more since. The IPSP was not initiated by a law of Congress or an executive order. It was developed as part of the contractual agreements between the Defense Department and private companies engaged in defense work.


Three Levels of Clearance

Defense Department contracts require that every employee in the plant who works on classified material, or has access to classified information must go through a security check. There are three levels of clearance: confidential, secret and top secret.

About two-thirds of all industrial workers who come under IPSP need "confidential" clearance. The Defense Department allows the employer to investigate the worker's background and grant clearances for work at this level. Investigations for secret or top-secret levels are conducted by the Government itself.

A worker who is not cleared by the Government need not necessarily be dismissed; but he must be taken off classified work and assigned to a non-sensitive area of the plant. The case of Clayton Dechant, a maintenance electrician at the General Electric Company in Philadelphia, shows how the IPSP works.

Dechant has been a loyal union member and a militant anti-Communist for years. In 1941, he took a job at General Electric. He had no access to classified information; in fact,

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Security, Civil Liberties, and Unions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Table of Contents 3
  • Foreword - By William F. Schnitzler Secretary-Treasurer 5
  • Who is a Risk? 9
  • How the Industrial Security Program Works 16
  • Other Programs Affecting Union Members 22
  • Union Criticisms 26
  • The Fifth Amendment 39
  • The Butler Bill 43
  • A Union Program 45
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