Security, Civil Liberties, and Unions

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

Union Criticisms
The first Constitutional Convention of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, in December 1955, passed the following resolution on civil liberties and internal security:

". . . The fight to protect this nation against Communist aggression must be carried on with vigor and determination. But the Communist threat must and can be met without endangering our traditional liberties or impinging upon the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

"We do not believe that the Communist movement in this country poses, absent armed Soviet aggression, any threat to overthrow our government. Nevertheless, it does serve as a recruiting ground for traitors, spies and perhaps saboteurs. . . . These dangers call for vigilant counter-intelligence work, and for vigorous enforcement of the criminal laws and for an effective security system.

"They do not call for us to adopt the methods of our totalitarian foes, or to ourselves weaken the liberties we seek to protect . . ."

There are eight important reasons for union concern about the various security programs:
1. Many workers are caught up in clearance difficulties because there is suspicion concerning the activities of friends or relatives.
2. Security charges are often brought against people who have no access to classified materials.
3. Usually, alleged "risks" are not permitted to confront or cross-examine their accusers; often the names of the accusers are not revealed.
4. Employees are often penalized for joining groups which are now labeled subversive, but had no such label when they were members.

-26-

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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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