Prior to the 1939 strike, a Skilled Trades Council was established, and skilled trades delegates drew up demands for a “skilled trades supplement” to the GM contract.
In 1939, the Union had not yet succeeded in organizing Ford. Growth of the Union had stalled after the early successes of 1936 and 1937. To make matters worse, President of the UAW, Homer Martin, quit to form a rival union with the sponsorship of the AFL that he called the UAW-AFL. Naturally, the corporations seized the opportunity. They refused to recognize or bargain with the UAW, saying they didn’t know which union to deal with.