Ted Laduke

Sol Dollinger soldoll at SPAMinreach.com
Tue Nov 16 10:11:33 MST 1999

History hasn't treated Ted LaDuke kindly.  He was a Chevrolet delegate to
the second constitutional convention of the AFL Automobile Workers Union at
South Bend, Indiana in 1936.  At that time he was a member of the Socialist
Party.  Just before the sitdown strikes LaDuke, Tom Klasey and Melvin Center
broke from the Socialist Party in Flint and joined the Communist Party
Oppositon, better known as the Lovestoneites.  It was a nasty break and the
Socialists accused them of walking off with chairs and table from the
headquarters in the Pengelly building.  The reasons for the split were never
made clear to me by Ted LaDuke when I came to see him as the organizer of
the  Socialist Workers Party in 1945.  I would often arrive in time for
lunch with Ted and his wife Hester,  when Ted worked the second shift.
Our discussions were amiable and he had fond recollections of Bert Cochran
who during the Homer Martin fight was on the union payroll for awhile.  As
nearly as I could make out, Ted supported the paranoia of Lovestone in his
opposition to the Communist Party

Homer Martin, president of the UAW was guided behind the scenes by
Lovestone, who instructed Martin to secure his position in the Flint UAW
local 156 that combined all forty thousand GM workers and was the largest
local in the international at that time. LaDuke was  Martin's key leader in
the Chevrolet local and enjoyed a considerable reputation for the bloody
beating he and his comrades took in attempting to shut down Plant 9 and
making it possible for the capture of Plant 4 engine plant.  In less than
ten months his reputation reached  nadir when the union turned against
Martin to support the Unity caucus led by Addes and Thomas.  La Duke became
a pariah in his local identified with Martin and Lovestone.  He never
recovered his former political influence in the local.  I saw him
infrequently at union meetings dominated by the Trotskyists but he avoided a
political conciliation.

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