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Cook, Alice Hanson / Bavarian trade union youth

Leadership,   p. 7 PDF (477.7 KB)

Page 7

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Each union hans a youth executive committee made up representatives
from the main organized plants and headed by a chairman. This union
youth chairman has a three-fold function: to head up the youth work
in his own union, to work ,as a member of the city-wide union youth
committee, and to keep in contact with his own union's national youth
work. Since these functionaries are almost without exception volunteers,
working at a full-time job in a shop, their lives are very full indeed.
Ih, addition, the pressures resulting from the reorganization of the
whole German trade union movement exert themselves on these young
people too. For instance, the areas covered by a local union or central
body in Bavaria have been greatly increased. Augsburg district is
no longer Augsburg and its immediate environs but an area with a
radius of 60-70 kilometers, including many small industrial towns
where little or no youth work has been organized up to the present
time. These young volunteer leaders feel very heavily the burden
of trying to do organization work with only 3undays and evening time
available. It will not be surprising under these circumstances if
when pressures from the unions encourage the exclusive attention
to affairs of their own union, that inter-union relations may suffer.
Although, at first, many group chairmen were appointed by the
youth secretariats in order to get the organization going, they are
now all elected by the groups they represent - chairmen in the
factories (Jugendobmann) and presidents of the industrial union
youth sections (Vorsitzender der Gewerkschaftsjugend). The youth
chairman election is usually arranged to take place ahead of the
works council election. If the elected youth chairman is 21 or over
and is therefore eligible to membership in the works council, he is
placed on the election list for the council. Until now every youth
candidate standing for election has been elected.
If the youth chairman is under 21 and therefore ineligible to
the council, the council chairman usually maintains a close working
relationship with him and calls him in to council meetings when youth-
questions are discussed. In such cases although he has no vote on
the final council decisions, his advice and recommendations are
sought and listened to.

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