Contemporary Unionism in the United States

By Clyde E. Dankert | Go to book overview

8
Principles and Activities of the Congress of Industrial Organizations

WITH ONE OR two exceptions the principles of the C.I.O. are much the same as those of the A.F. of L. Where differences exist they are usually differernces in degree rather than in kind. In terms of general ideology one can say that the C.I.O. is more progressive than the A.F. of L. It is definitely "left of center," a statement that one hesitates to make about the A.F. of L. Within the ranks of the C.I.O. there are numerous persons of a very radical turn of mind whose position is very much left of center. Although the organization reflects the presence of these persons, it does not subscribe to their beliefs. In brief, the C.I.O. is not a revolutionary body dedicated to the overthrowing of the present social-economic system. In this respect it is like the A.F. of L. It seeks to bring about more sweeping changes in the existing order, however, than does the A.F. of L.1


Voluntarism

One of the outstanding tenets of the A.F. of L. is the doctrine of voluntarism. This doctrine, as was indicated in Chapter 6, has a two-fold application, one relating to the internal government of the organization itself and one to the political government of the country. In the C.I.O. voluntarism is also present, but in a less pronounced degree, especially in its second application.

The nationals and internationals in the C.I.O. have about the same control over their internal affairs as similar bodies have in the A.F. of L. In both organizations the nationals and internationals are essentially independent, autonomous units. The bond between the central body and its affiliates is probably closer in the C.I.O., however, than it is in the A.F. of L. Certainly the financial bond is stronger: five cents per member per month compared to three cents.

As a general rule the unit that possesses financial control also possesses general control and authority. However, even though the C.I.O. collects almost twice as much from its affiliated nationals and internationals as the

____________________
1
In discussing the principles of the C.I.O. much the same terminology will be used as was employed in the treatment of the A.F. of L.'s principles.

-118-

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