University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Cook, Alice Hanson / Workers' education in the U.S. Zone of Germany
(1947)

Labor education,   pp. 5-15 PDF (6.4 MB)


Page 13


she present outlook seers to speak against this cooperative development.
But unless the unions are able to develop techniques of working with and
for
their women mem bers on a basis closely related to their psychological and
physical needs, they will not have succeeded in reaching the majority'of
the
working population.
' RI'NING UNION LE HERS
after the collapse, trade union leadership mostly fell into the hands of
the mren who had 'Been in officE baEfore '33. This was inevitable and occurred
whether officers ;Pore elected or appointed. No one else was prepared to
go into
the woik. But most of these aen nre beyonrd 50, many of then beyond 60. Within
five yeard the unions are likely to face a shortage of adequate leadership
un-
less intensive training is undertaken at once.
Union office however is not popular. Men who are looking for security do
not willingly take on a job which may not last for more than the elected
year
or two. No extra rations are given union leaders although'most of them work
a
12 to 16 hour day, and are'subject to considerable intellectual and physical
strain. Under the. present circumstances when some of the normal union functions
particularly wage: negjtiAtions, are restricted# the job can be a thankless
one
as well.
In a word, traininm for union office calls for a high degree of idealism,
personal sacrifice, understanding of the broad scope of the movement, skill
in dealing wiith thousands of practical details, knowledge of law and of
trade
union practice, bold attack oni probleawms, willingness to carry responsibility
in a thankless and-frustrating situation.
4s good deal of this training has to be given on the job. Younger men have
to be brought into the union offices in a kind of apprenticeship to the ex-
perienced leaders. But this normal learning by example and practice, needs
to be supplemented by technical schooling in order to speed up the process.
Now approaches to problems come froma exchange of experience and from the
stimulation of group consideration of common problems. I& certain stretch
of
unbroken timn  and a degree of isolation from, daily pressures can produce
the
objectivity for a wh6le new attack upon a situation.
Unions today are different structurally and in their political allegiance
fro)m those of '33. It is not accidental that when the unions reorganized,
they
formed into large industrial unions in all 'the zones 'working out 14 to
18 larg
classifications of trades and industries with common problems and needs.
many
of the heads or basiness agents-of 'the unions have not previously worked
in
the trades they arc now administe ring. Whereas the unions before. '33 were
organized along political lines and -     '. grouped in fe~r Kil fed-ratiois,
the
unions today in the British and ;!mrican Zones include all' jolitical and
re-
ligious affiliations.
- 2.3 -


Go up to Top of Page