THE BREAKING OF A MILITANT PUBLIC SECTOR SOCIAL WORKERS UNION: THE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CHAPTER OF THE UNITED PUBLIC WORKERS LOCAL 2, 1950-1951
VICTOR G. DEVINATZ
AbstractBeginning in January 1951, the public assistance chapter of the United Public Workers (UPW) Local 2, the militant union of Chicago social workers at the Department of Public Aid, was subjected to vigorous attacks from the Department of Public Aid administration, the Illinois state government, and the American Legion for being allegedly led and controlled by the American Communist Party. These attacks occurred at the time when Local 2 was becoming increasingly involved in actively defending and organizing public aid recipients against relief cuts engineered by the state government. Although there was no concrete evidence that Local 2 was controlled or dominated by the Communist Party, the potential formation of a powerful coalition between Local 2 members and public aid recipients led the Department of Public Aid to withdraw recognition from the local union in September 1951.
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