In an effort to check the growth and militancy of these organizing drives, RCA launched, financed, and dominated a company union called the Employees' Committee Union (ECU) in 1933.28 The ECU gained a significant number of members among salaried and clerical employees but only a minority of production workers. RCA was far from unique in sponsoring a company union. By 1935 six to seven hundred such unions had been formed across the country, with an estimated two to three million members. About half of the workers who belonged to labor organizations in the middle of the decade, in fact, could be found in company-sponsored unions. The battle between the powerful company organization and the independent unions shaped the entire conflict over union recognition at the RCA works. Opposition from the corporation, rivalry with the company union, and the hostility of the AFL forged the fragmented organizers into an alliance, and together they formed one of the charter unions, Local 103, in the new United Electrical Workers union during its 1936 inaugural convention in snowy Buffalo, New York.
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