Philip Murray, 'Rights and Duties,' and the CIO
Philip Murray (1886-1952) reluctantly accepted the presidency of the CIO in 1940 because of his sense of obligation and recognition that he alone, among the possible candidates, could keep it together. Inheriting an organization that was considerably weaker than it appeared and divided between the left and labor liberals, he oversaw its institutionalization and balanced the factions through the war years and beyond. Although firmly anti-communist, he chose to keep Lee Pressman as the CIO's general counsel despite his left-wing political agenda. Offsetting Pressman, although considerably less competent, was the anti-communist James Carey, secretary-treasurer. Murray secretly provided help to anti-communists in the CIO, but never crossed the line into open warfare. Clerics of his Roman Catholic Church had been long pressuring him, publicly and privately, to do that very thing, but it was only within the context of the Cold War that Murray chose to give the communists "cease and desist" orders. No matter how reasonable some of their critique of U.S. Cold War policy, the CIO communists marginalized themselves beyond repair when they supported a third-party at the orders of Communist Party leaders who, in turn, were acting within the purview of the Soviet Union's foreign policy. For Murray, this was not only tantamount to trying to elect the Republican candidate in 1948, but also an act of treason. At the CIO convention the same year, the battle against the communists and their allies became official, and during the 1949 convention, the largest and most important communist-led union, the United Electrical and Machine Workers of America (UE), seceded before it was expelled. In 1950, ten more communist-led unions were ousted.
As you read these documents, reflect on the following questions:
1. What reasons did Murray give for calling World War II "labor's war"?
2. What were some of the points made in the CIO-PAC resolution?
3. What reasons were given for the attempted expulsion of the UE (United Electrical and Machine Workers of America)? What was proposed instead for the membership of the UE?