[Where’s I.W. Abel? raw #9: Mike Olszanski part 2]

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Raw footage for "Where's I.W. Abel?" Made by Kartemquin and a rank-and-file steel workers caucus, the film documents the opposition of the rank-and-file to the no-strike agreement between Steelworkers President I.W. Abel and the ten major steel companies, made without a vote by the membership of the union. Featuring Staughton Lynd.

00:00Copy video clip URL Mike Olszanski’s introduction continued from tape 15291 (takes one, two, and three). Olzanki begins take four. “The American Steelworkers’ right to strike is being sold out, and we won’t take it lying down. Let’s look back and see how this most basic workers’ right is being lost and what we can do to win it back. For several years there have been secret meetings between I.W. Abel…”

00:22Copy video clip URL Take 5. “The American Steelworkers’ right to strike is being sold out, and we won’t take it lying down. Let’s look back and see how this most basic workers’ right is being lost and what we can do to win it back. For several years there have been secret meetings between I.W. Abel and management to sell out the right to strike. To soften us up for the blow they showed us their film ‘Where’s Joe’ just before announcing their No Strike pact. I’m Mike Olszanski from Local 1010, and like many of you I saw through this propaganda. At Inland Steel’s Indiana Harbor Works our membership was vocal in denouncing this experimental agreement. I’m not going to be scared by a movie into giving up my only real right as a worker. I became involved with the District 31 Right to Strike Committee… fighting to see that this last great sell out is not successful. Let’s look at parts of the movie ‘Where’s Joe’ made by the companies and I.W. Abel. Then we’ll show what we found out about real problems in the industry from talking with other workers and doing our own research. First, a piece of the movie.”

01:42Copy video clip URL Take 6. Same speech.

02:33Copy video clip URL “This man knows the real reason for job loss, and knows that without the right to strike he has no job security. The steel company’s movie says that we’ve lost our jobs because of foreign competition.”

02:53Copy video clip URL Another take.

03:14Copy video clip URL Buddy Hill, a griever, knows what what he’s talking about. “Does the movie make sense to you? Are we to blame for the plight of the steel industry? Why is the company asking us to solve the problem it created? The film says that productivity is an individual matter, how fast and how hard we work. We already work hard, we know that. We also know that a major factor in the increase of productivity is the use of new technology and modernizing plants and equipment. The film never mentioned, but we’ve found in our research, that for some 15 years the American industry resisted applying the new technology. Now while more than 80 percent of Japanese steel production uses the basic oxygen process, only 50 percent of American production is BOP. On the other hand, in the last 15 years America’s output of steel per man hour has nearly tripled. Are they asking us to pay for their mistakes?”

04:19Copy video clip URL “The Nixon Administration did a special study on the steel industry. It states the real reason for low productivity is inefficient equipment. One major reason why Japanese undersell US firms is because they are willing to accept a lower profit rate.”

04:49Copy video clip URL Another take. “The Nixon Administration did a special study on the steel industry. It states the real reason for low productivity is inefficient equipment. One major reason why Japanese undersell US firms is because they are willing to accept a lower profit rate. Our research shows that between 1965 and 1969 the five largest US companies took profits twice as large as Japanese firms during the same period.”

05:35Copy video clip URL “The company wants us to believe we are all in this together, but when they talk about productivity they are only talking about what the workers can do to solve problems the companies created. Listen to the film ‘Where’s Joe’ explain the glorious fight to come. And then we’ll hear from Buddy Hill what really happened in the mills.”

06:03Copy video clip URL “We have all heard of similar events at other plants. Increased productivity results in less pay for the worker and greater profits for the company. It throws workers out of work and means that those of us left are forced to work even harder in more hazardous conditions. This whole productivity drive is a hoax to divide workers and keep us from demanding our share. Listen to his pitch in the company’s film.”

06:38Copy video clip URL “And the future looks bleak if the collaboration behind their film and the No Strike pact is successful. The fact is workers are suffering under the 1971 contract. Accidents have increased dramatically, up 25 percent in the first quarter of 1972. Joint productivity committees have been used to combine jobs, cut crews, and reevaluate incentives downward. Hear what workers and their wives have to say about working under the present contract.”

07:49Copy video clip URL several takes of: “…but we can’t expect to forget about conditions. Listen to what they expect us to do.”

08:20Copy video clip URL “If the companies can trick us into struggling against foreign workers, they think they can succeed in the plot to take away our basic rights. Management has always tried to set workers of different races and nationalities against one another, to keep them weak and divided. As we begin to unite in the mills here at home it becomes harder for companies to use this tactic against us.”

08:51Copy video clip URL Take two. “If the companies can trick us into struggling against foreign workers, they think, they can succeed in  the plot to take away our basic rights. Management has always tried to set workers of different races and nationalities against one another, to keep us weak and divided. As we begin to unite in the mills here at home it becomes harder for companies to use this tactic against us. So they try to set us against our fellow workers in foreign lands. Listen to this.”

09:20Copy video clip URL “Sure, foreign management is up to the same tricks. They are also trying to get increased productivity to maximize their profits at the expense of the workers. The real worldwide contest is between workers everywhere and management everywhere. The rewards are up for grabs and we will only get our fair share if we stick together behind the right to strike. Listen to the ‘Where’s Joe’ film try and make us believe that because foreign workers work harder they have taken over from American production on all fronts.”

09:56Copy video clip URL Take two of: “Sure foreign management is up to the same tricks….”

10:32Copy video clip URL Two takes of: “Who took over? A large portion of consumer imports are not produced by foreign imports are not produced by foreign companies, they are produced by American corporations who build factories overseas so they can exploit cheap, non union labor. The American corporations are making huge profits off this cheap labor while American workers are unemployed. And then they have the nerve to tell consumers to buy American. If they care so much why don’t they produce the goods here? In recent years US corporations have opened plants overseas to produce shoes, sporting goods, sewing machines, textiles, bicycles and many other products. Take radio. The antique finishers really hadn’t been told what happened to his job…”

11:39Copy video clip URL Take two: “Take the example of radio. The antique finishers hadn’t really been told what happened to his job. If he worked for General Electric, his foreign replacement is still working for GE in one of its new runaway plants in Singapore, Hong Kong, or just across the  Mexican border. Between 1965 and 1970 GE’s foreign employment increased 9 times as fast as its American employment. And GE isn’t the only one. ITT has new electronic plants in England, France, Germany, Portugal and South Africa. We all know about the auto industry. GM makes its Capri in France and its Opal in Germany. Chrysler has its Colt made in Japan. And other models such as the Pinto are partially produced in American-owned factories abroad. These US corporations abroad have a combined output of well over 200 billion dollars which is larger production than any other country in the world except for the Soviet Union and the United States itself. How many jobs is that worth? American companies have taken our jobs and given them to the foreign workers in their search for easy profits. The plot to take away our right to strike is an attempt to create the same cheap labor conditions in this country. We are all familiar with their scare tactics about foreign workers. Remember in their movie how they tried to blame the lack of jobs on…”

13:10Copy video clip URL Take three. “Take the example of radio. The antique finishers hadn’t really been told what happened to his job. If he worked for General Electric, his foreign replacement is still working for GE in one of its new runaway plants in Singapore, Hong Kong, or just across the  Mexican border. Between 1965 and 1970 GE’s foreign employment increased 9 times as fast as its American employment. And GE isn’t the only one. ITT has new electronic plants in England, France, Germany, Portugal and South Africa. We all know about the auto industry. GM makes its Capri in France and its Opal in Germany. Crystler has it’s Colt made in Japan. And other models such as the Pinto are partially produced in American-owned factories abroad. These US corporations abroad have a combined output of well over 200 billion dollars which is larger production than any other country in the world except for the Soviet Union and the United States itself. How many jobs is that worth? American companies have taken our jobs and given them to the foreign workers in their search for easy profits. The plot to take away our right to strike is an attempt to create the same cheap labor conditions in this country. We are all familiar with their scare tactics about foreign workers. Remember in their movie how they tried to blame the lack of jobs in steel on the hedge buying cycle?”

14:42Copy video clip URL “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing, but we know better and so do the steel companies themselves. Let me read to you what Father W.T. Hogan of Fordham University, the company’s own acknowledged expert says in his book, ‘The 1970s, Critical Years for Steel.'”

15:07Copy video clip URL Take two: “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing, but we know better and so do the steel companies themselves. Let me read to you what Father W.T. Hogan of Fordham University, the company’s own acknowledged expert says in his book, ‘The 1970s, Critical Years for Steel.’ ‘By 1980, assuming that imports are maintained at approximately the same relationship to domestic supply it is expected that US raw steel production will grow to 175 million in net tons. The industry’s current raw steel capacity is approximately 165 million net tons. In order to put out 175 million tons capacity will have to be boosted between 190 and 195 million net tons. This will require another massive capital spending effort aimed at the expansion of existing steel plants as well as their continued modernization. The added steel capacity is only half the story. The companies will have to replace at least 25 million tons of existing open hearth capacity or electric furnaces.'”

16:25Copy video clip URL Take three: “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing… The companies will have to replace at least 25 million tons of existing open hearth capacity with some type of oxygen steel making capacity or electric furnaces. Thus if the expansion and replacement job is to be done, at least 55 million tons of melting capacity will have to be installed before 1980.”

17:57Copy video clip URL Take four: “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing… Thus if the expansion and replacement job is to be done, at least 55 million tons of melting capacity will have to be installed before 1980. What Father Hogan is saying is that…

19:29Copy video clip URL (close up) “What Father Hogan is saying is that with hedge buying or no hedge buying there will continue to be a percentage of foreign imports.”

19:42Copy video clip URL Take two: “What Father Hogan is saying is that hedge buying or no hedge buying there will continue to be a percentage of foreign imports. But US steel companies can’t sell what they don’t make. And if US companies don’t modernize and increase capacity by 30 percent we will be out of a job. Of course even with this new technology and increased capacity we could be out of a job if we don’t have the right to strike. As we have seen with the recent productivity agreements only with the right to strike can we be sure to our fair share of the benefits of modernization. Without the right to strike there will be no 30 hour week for 40 hours pay. Without the right to strike there will be no job protection. Without the right to strike there will be no protection from increased accidents. Ok, we know the hedge buying cycle is a fraudulent scare tactic, but if I.W. Abel really cared about the hedge buying cycle he could always use the tactic that unions…”

20:50Copy video clip URL Take three: “What Father Hogan is saying is that hedge buying or no hedge buying … Ok, we know the hedge buying cycle is a fraudulent scare tactic, but if I.W. Abel really cared about the hedge buying cycle he could always use the tactic that other unions do in their negotiations. What about selective strikes on a company-by-company basis like the auto industry? What about one-year contracts? These are only a few of the things that could be done. But if we steel workers give up our basic right to strike nothing can be done. We are not going to be fooled, and are not going to let I.W. Abel give away our only protection in the critical years ahead. We are fighting now to save the right to strike.”

22:25Copy video clip URL Another take: “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing, but we know better and so do the steel companies themselves. Father W.T. Hogan of Fordham University, the company’s own acknowledged expert says in his book, ‘The 1970s, Critical Years for Steel’: ‘hedge buying or no hedge buying there will continue to be a percentage of foreign imports.’ But US steel companies can’t sell what they don’t make. And if US companies don’t modernize and increase capacity by 30 percent you and I will be out of a job.”

23:03Copy video clip URL Another take: “I.W. Abel seems to buy the line the company is pushing, but we know better and so do the steel companies themselves. Father W.T. Hogan of Fordham University, the company’s own acknowledged expert says in his book, ‘The 1970s, Critical Years for Steel’: ‘hedge buying or no hedge buying there will continue to be a percentage of foreign imports.’ But US steel companies can’t sell what they don’t make. If US companies don’t modernize and increase capacity by 30 percent you and I will be out of a job.”

23:45Copy video clip URL Another take, same lines.

24:28Copy video clip URL Another take, same lines.

25:06Copy video clip URL “This man knows the real reason for job loss. He knows that without the right to strike we have no job security. The steel company’s movie says we have lost our jobs in steel because of foreign competition. Listen.”

25:50Copy video clip URL The videographers have fun with their two young children in the family kitchen. The kids sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

28:03Copy video clip URL END

 

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