Introduction to the MSUWC
Authored by former Council President Frank Davis

There has been a Union on the property of the Consumers Power Company since the year 1937. At that time an organizing drive was initiated by the United Auto Workers among our membership. The Auto Workers were, of course, members of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Their drive was successful and on June 8, 1937, the first Union-Company working agreement was signed between the parties, in Washington, D.C.

We continued with the United Auto Workers through the year of 1940, at which time a fight between the C.I.O. and the A.F. of L. took place to see which of the organizations would represent us. The A.F. of L. was the eventual winner of this dispute and as a result of this we became affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 876 of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This relationship continued through the years of 1941 through 1943, at which time another fight erupted between the C.I.O. and the A.F. of L., at which time the Utility Workers Organizing Committee of the C.I.O. won the right to represent the workers on the property of Consumers Power Company.

This arrangement continued in effect until such time as an outright charter was issued in the name of the Utility Workers Union of America. This, then, is the national union which we hold membership today.

During the early years of unionism, with the existence of the two major national unions, the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O., membership 'raiding' between the two organizations was a common thing, and local unions took full advantage of their positions to bandy their affections on the national organization that promised them the most for their money. However, with the merger of the two large national unions that took place in the year of 1956, membership 'raiding' came to an abrupt halt. Since the merger of the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O., labor peace among the various organizations has become a thing of stability.

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