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Cook, Alice Hanson / Bavarian trade union youth

Structure,   pp. 4-5 PDF (695.4 KB)

Page 4

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In 1945 when the German labor movement was reestablished,
youth work was initiated by the city central body without regard
to the individual industrial union affiliation of young workers.
Out of these general trade union youth groups came leaders for
the sections set up by the 16 individual trade unions. These groups
in turn developed leadership in individual shops and plants, so that,
in the end, virtually every enterprise of any size had its own youth
The trend has thus been from youth work, directed by a central
youth secretariat, to youth sections of the various industrial unions
working with varying degrees of coordination with the secretariat.
In the three cities studied, a full time secretary mans the secretariat;
in other Bavarian cities the work is carried with volunteers. But
even where professional staff is available, the degree of coordination
between the various unions varies widely. In some unions, the lines of
coordination to their own national youth offices are stronger than
to the city secretariat; in others, the secretariat may actually handle
shop grievances for a particular union. It would in general be safe
to say that until now the cooperation between the city youth
secretariat and the youth sections of the various unions has developed
according to the talents, free time, and availability of the leadership.
However, there is a growing tendency for the industrial unions to take
a primary interest in their own youth to the exclusion of any broader
loyalty or responsibility.
This development undoubtedly reflects the reorganization now in
process within the Western German labor movement. Individual industrial
unions are assuming an increasingly important role, while the federation
districts which formerly were the directing agencies, have since the
Munich Federation Congress (October 1949) more restricted functions.
This trend to the industrial unions is further strengthened by
the way in which youth work is financed. No per capita or other
allotment is made for youth activity, except that employed secretaries
are included in the general city payroll. Instead, each individual
plan or project is presented as it arises to the city central body
for city- wide youth activities, or to the individual union executive
boards for their respective youth groups, and, if approved, funds
are made available. As the city central bodies have less money and
less power under the reorganization, the tendency again is for each
union to finance its own youth program and for the city program

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