The UAW and Walter Reuther

The UAW and Walter Reuther

The UAW and Walter Reuther

The UAW and Walter Reuther

Excerpt

In this country there has arisen, in the last fifteen years, a new and significant social force that directly affects the lives of millions of people and is certain to influence the course of our future history. The rise of industrial unionism has been one of the major events of 20th-century American social history; its consequences have not yet been fully reckoned. And of all the industrial unions, the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, CIO (hereafter referred to as the UAW), is the most important and interesting.

This is a book about that union. It is, however, neither an "official" history nor a detailed chronicle; it is rather an attempt to provide a brief but comprehensive account of the rise of the UAW, its external struggles and internal life, and the problems it faces in the postwar world. We have been particularly interested in relating its development to the larger trends of recent American life.

Too many of the books written about unions are either academic studies, which, for all their values, lack the "feel" of union life, or "official" histories, which serve usually to please whichever union leadership happens to be in power. Other books on labor are written as tracts, either by professional opponents of the unions or by apologists for the current line of the Communist Party. We reject these approaches. Particularly do we reject the claim of the Stalinists to be critics of labor from the left -- for if there is to be such criticism, if it is to be valuable and credible, it must have nothing in common with these colonial agents of Russian totalitarianism.

We pretend to no pseudo-objectivity. Even if that were possible in writing on such a controversial subject, it would make for intolerable ambiguity and dullness. We take sides. We sup-

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