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VOL. X—NO. 16
VOW* ASVmtlSWBNT IN TWO JOVKNAk II A
INVISTMINT
CHARLOTTE, N. G, THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 1940
OMMMIATIM NT
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i ND HE HAS blessed our country • • • but Hit
benediction imposes upon each and every
one of us the sacred duty of defending every
priceless heritage that we have been granted.
With so great a portion of humanity inured
to calamity and injustice, let each American
silently consecrate himself and his conscience to the
preservation of every American ideal • • . ideals that
more precious today than ever before.
Yes, we still can have faith in man’s higher destiny even
though nations, once the homes of great cultures, crash
back into abject slavery. There can still be hope though
elsewhere fearful death-dealing machines are thrust into
j
Ike hands of children, though churches ft barricaded,
books destroyed, though millions of fnmiMitM are scattered
to the four winds.
These things have not happened here and with His con
tinued aid and guidance, we will see that they shall not
happen here.
Among His many graces showered on us is the charter
of American liberty. We are proud to be part of that first
line of defense of American liberties . . . to always stand
miMtantly at Hie side of every true American against the
inroads of doctrines seeking to destroy freedom of speech,
freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religious wor- *
ship and freedom of the press.
President Green’s 1940 Labor Day Message
By WILLIAM GREEN
President, American Federation of Labor
In these moving times when that which gives value to our lives and
civilization lies in the balance, the observance of Labor Day takes on a new
solemnity and a new obligation. Labor Day is in Labor’s economic world
what Independence Day is in our political life. Labor Day typifies the
status which Labor has secured through union organization. For the wage
earner finding the union means finding the way to those industrial rights
which are the basis for justice and freedom in that important part of life
spent in earning a livelihood. We know that if we exercise political freedom
we must also have economic freedom. The trade union is Labor’s economic
declaration of independence.
The union assures that basic right—representation. Through representa
tion the union can present its views, influence decisions, and suggest ways
and means for dealing with problems. The right to representation, whether
in law courts, in political bodies, in special groups or in decisions on work
terms ami standards, is the provision essential to individual initiative and
feeling of justice and self-reliance. Representation implies rights and status
and lays the foundations for a continuous program for betterment.
Representatives must be designated by those represented. This alone
can give them authority to act.
Free trade unions and democratic institutions are inseparable and grow
from the same ideals of liberty.
Liberty cannot be given to any individual group or nation. It must be
achieved and maintained by those concerned. This implies responsibility and
discipline on the part of those who are members and official* of free organi
sations as well as those who constitute a democratic people. We can be
sure of preserving our rights only as we exercise them wisely and resist
By common consent priority has now been granted to defense produc
tion. One and all agree that we can fight a revolution of destruction only
with force. The keys to defense equipment are adequate air force, mecha
nised troops and ships. Our problem is to get equipment with the speed
necessitated by the imminent danger.
Manufacturers and producers planning to undertake production required
for our defense program, have been united on two demands: First, that
their industries should be allowed to write off the cost of plant expansion
for defense production within five years with allowances for depredation
—a .tMirirrmrr- and secondly, the rttrr****1'*" of restrictions upon hoars of
work because of an alleged labor shortage. In < the case of monitions the
Government is planning to build the plants and jease them to the producing
companies. Jp
In accord with with this background of protection for manufacturers
against undue cents, are legal regulations to pay workers overtime in excess
of the maximum standard of 41 hours provided by the Walsh-Healey Act
and 42 hours in the Fair Labor Standards Act The regulation does not
prohibit longer hours but insures workers against long hours at undue ex
pense to them.
On Labor Day 1940 we can rejoice in progress even during a period of
depression and conflict Our union membership is at an all-time peak. Em
ployed workers have made progress despite the depression. Approximately
700,000 union workers have gained the 30-hour week while the average
work week for all dropped from 50 to 40; hourly earnings increased 20 per
cent in dollars and 45 per cent in purchasing power. But progress for the
employed is offset by the number unemployed who are denied places to earn
a living in our business structure. When we learn that during these decades
productivity has increased 50 per cent we realize that upon a return to
normal conditions the 30-hour week must be established for all and that
industries must be expanded to capacity to provide work opportunities for
all and the materials for higher standards of living for alL As labor costs
per unit of output have decreased 25 per cent wage increases could with-1
out difficulty much more nearly approximate the increase in productivity.
Sustaining purchasing power in the hands of workers families is necessary!
to maintain production at capacity. And this is the basic step in solving
unemployment which is our major and most imperative problem blocking
the way to prosperity in peace and unity for national defense.
Upon the organised trade union movement rests the responsibility for
maintaining labor standards for the maintenance of progress for labor and
prosperity for the whole nation. It is our duty and our mission to maintain
standards as our economic and social service, and to preserve our free trade
unions as an organization necessary to government and Justice in industry
and to democracy in our political government.
The labor movement in the United States, the eldest labor movement
of the Western Hemisphere, haa a responsibility for helping to preserve
free unions in the New World. Without free unions democracy and liberty
cannot exist. This solemn duty rests upon the individual members of all
unions. Labor Day 1949 should constitute a day of rededication and plan
ning to carry out this Ugh purpose.
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JOURNAL ADVERTISERS
Sec.-Treas. Meany’s 1940 Labor Day
Message
By GEORGE MEANY
Secretary-Treasurer American Federation of Labor
The strength of the American labor movement, as represented by the
American Federation of Labor, is greater on this Labor Day of 1946
it has ever been. The actual paid membership of our organisation is today
more than 4,300,000, as compared with a membership of only a few then*
sands in the year of the first Labor Day celebration, back in 1882.
During the last year the labor movement has successfully continued to
earry on its efforts to achieve a better day for the wage-earners of oar grant
country.
Despite the activities of anti-labor forces designed to impair the effec
tiveness of trade-union effort, the American Federation of Labor haa pressed
forward as ever, organising, bargaining, counseling, consistently pushing
the American standard of living higher and higher.
During the year the organizations affiliated with the American Federa
tion of Labor have obtained thousands of contracts calling for good wages
and decent, American working conditions. In the legislative field. haa
also registered gains since we last celebrated Labor Day, although advances
in legislation have been considerably fewer than in recent years.
Those who sought to destroy the American Federation of Iby
setting up a dual, organization have encountered a rapidly growing revulsion
toward their tactics on the part of all American workers—those still unor
ganized as well as those already in the labor movement and enjoying the
manifold benefits of organization. *
Recently this mounting revulsion to those responsible for the continu
ance of the division in organized labor took concrete form in the reaffilia
tion of one of the largest international unions, the International Ladies’
Garment Workers Union, thus bringing back into the American Federation
of Labor a total of 250,008 workers.
This action on the part of the Garment Workers has re-awakened the
hope that the day is not far distant when all labor in America will bo re
united in a strong, vigorous movement under the banner of tho
Federation of -Labor. Experience has taught us that unity is dinlrshls
Present-day conditions throughout the world indicate that unity of l,h*- In
America is imperative. I hope and trust that unity will be achieved before
soother Labor Day rolls around.
(Continued on Page Threo)
    

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