League Sues Crysler

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Fifth Estate # 80, May 29-June 11, 1969

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“We are bringing our legitimate grievances to the legal establishment of the white man’s government to give the racist monopoly capitalist system the opportunity to begin to redeem itself for the crimes which have been perpetuated against Black workers and Black people for centuries.”

With this statement on Friday, May 16, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the United Auto Workers International Union (UAW), Locals No. 3 and No. 961, and against the Chrysler Corporation.

According to John Watson, a League spokesman at a May 17 press conference, the charges accuse the UAW and the Chrysler Corporation of “collaboration in their efforts to further subjugate black workers who are already overworked, underpaid and constantly treated like sub-human beasts of burden.”

Specifically, the charges against Chrysler involve harassment of League members, confiscation of League publications, and constant racism in the job situation. Black workers are usually assigned “the hardest, dirtiest, noisiest, and most dangerous jobs in the plants.”

Also, there are discriminatory standards of discipline and limited opportunities for blacks to be promoted.

The League is charging that the UAW sent a letter to all union members in this area which threatened non-representation to union members who belong to “Black militant organizations.” Also, there has been discrimination against blacks in the UAW in terms of exclusion from leadership positions in the union.

The League is demanding that the NLRB order both the UAW and Chrysler to stop their racist practices and to put up notices in the plants as to the rights of the workers.

Also, where workers have been disciplined because of racist practices, the League is demanding that these workers be reinstated and compensated for the wrongs they have suffered.

Regardless of the decision of the NLRB, members of the League plan to continue organizing black workers in the plants.

According to Watson, “We understand that it is not the good will of the courts or the government, but the power of black workers which will ultimately change this society and solve our problems.”

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