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Taft-Hartley Law Exposed
<Members uf the law firm of Fadwuy
Woil, Thatcher. Glenn
for the American
Fedaratiom of Labor)
Tbi» is the first of a series a# article* to be published by the
AFL Weekly News Service in refutation of an article appearing
in the Saturday Evening Post which praised the Taft-Hartley
law to the skies. Author of the Post article was J. Mack Swi
pert, law partner of Senator Robert A. Taft—enough said:
AFL President William Green requested the Post to grunt
him the opportunity of replying to the article but the request
was curtly refused by Ben Hibbo, the editor.' who frankly ad
mitted that his magazine was one-sided on the question of the
Taft-Hartley law.
We proceed now to an examination of the Post article
entitled “The Taft-Hartley Law: Does It Really Hurt
Mr. Swigert’s article enumerates and elaborates upon,
what he terms, “fourteen privileges which have descended
upon the workingman without his knowledge, like a legacy
to an unknowning heir.” Each of these so-called “privi
leges” will be discussed and answered in turn, but, before
doing so, it is necessary to dispose of the flat statement
made at the beginning of the article that “Not a single
word has been omitted from the “rights-of- employes’ sec
tion of the Wagner Act. The employer is still forbidden
to ‘interfere with, restrain or coerce employes in the ex
ercise of’ these rights. Every employer ‘unfair-labor prac
tice* listed in the Wagner Act is still in effect.”
wiwi cAainpiv ut inv uevice
of telling only half the truth
would be difficult to find. While
it is true that no words have been
omitted from the original prohi
bitions against employer unfair
practices, it s also true that many
wor is have been added, with the
net result that these protections
have been considerably weakened
in a number of imporant respects.
Thus, the very important pro
tections against interference and
discrimination through discharge
or demotion are greatl>4 impaired
by not permitting the board to
consider employer anti-union state
ments (unless involving actual
threats) as background evidence
of discriminatory action. It will
now be extremely difficult to
prove an anti-union motive in any
discharge or demotion. At the
same time, the employer has been
given a carte blanche to ridicule
or villify the principle of organi
sation, although up until now tt
has been considered that the ques
tion of organization is the busi
ness of the employes and not of
the employer.
Under another amendment the
employer is excused from a dis
criminatory discharge if he can
show that there was any cau«f
whatsoever for the discharft.
even though he may also admitted
ly have been motivated by an an
ti-union bias.
Another amendment redefining
what constitutes good-faith col
lective bargaining grealy dilutes
that requirement. It is express
ly stated that good-faith bar
gaining does not include the
making of any concession. How
any progress in collective bar
gaining can be accomplished
without either side making some
concession somewhere along the
line is difficult to imagine. Cer
tainly, a Congress which was in
terested in furthering the collec
tive bargaining process would not
have written a definition of
“good-faith bargaining.”
In addition, the protections
atcainst unfair practices have
been weakened by amending the
definition of “employer" so a^ to
exclude any person or group “act
ing in interest of” an employer.
Under the old act. groups such
as local Chambers of Commerce,
Vigilante Committees, “Free En
terprise Associations” and the
like, who often did the dirty
work for employers, were sub
jected to cease and desist orders
when they acted in the interest
of particular employers. Under
the present act such groups ap
parently cannot be reached.
Finally, large groups of em
ployes who formerly received the
protection of the Wagner Act are
no longer covered by the law.
Thus, the entire category of so
called “supervisors,” which might
mean anything from leadmen and
strawbosses to foremen, no longer
find protection in their right to
organise. The same is true with
respect to so-called “independent
contractors,” and the act changes
the old exemption of agricultural
employes so as to exclude addi
tional classes of workers in agri
culture who previously received
the protections of the law.
From the foregoing brief analy
sis, it is quite obvious that it
is simply not true to say that
employes have the same protec
ton against unfair labor practices
under the Taft-Hartley Act as they
did under the Wagner Act. Thus
the Post article starts off with a
gross misrepresentation.
As before stated, the author of
the Post article has enumerated
fourteen so-called “privileges"
which he claims have descended
upon the workingman under the
act. The merits of the conten
(Continued On Page 4)
New York City. — Compulsory
health insurance is the only
method which promises success
:n the task of providing: adequate
-nodical care for the threat mass
of citizens of this country.
This was the view expressed by
Bernard M- Baruch, well-known
r-.rd respected philanthropist and
advisor to the Government on
many national problems, before a
group of prominent doctors at
"•ndiiiff a meeting sponsored by
'K- Medical Society of New York
Stating that he did not fear
Government taking "its legitimate
part in medicine, kny more than
in education or housing,” Mr. Ba
ruch chided the doctors for their
obstructionist? attitude in fighting
the expansion of medical care to
all. He said i
“In the matter of adequate med
ical care, too many doctors have
been fighting a rear-guard action
for too long. I feel I must warn
those doctors, time is running
against them. The medical pro
fession has justly earned great
influence in the community. It
can keep that hoicT only as it
moves forward. It will lose that
hold if it has nothing but ob
jections to offer, if it has eyes
onlv for what not to do.”
i • i
Terming a healthy, educated1
citizenry as the “greatest asset:
of any nation,” Mr. Baruch de-1
dared that voluntary plans for I
medical care are not good enough
to achieve this goal. He declared:
"What troubles me most are
the needs of that sizeable seg
ment of society, which does not
earn eonugh pay for voluntary
"The American Medical Asso
ciation, its Bureau of Medical
B^unomics, estimated in 1939 that
fixities earning $3,000 or less,
two-third? of the population, can
| not afford the cost of serious ill -!
ness. Some of these can afford
voluntary insurance, although in
flation has reduced their number.
But what of the little fellow who
cannot? '
“Nothing has been suggested so
far, which promises success, other
than some form of insurance cov
ering these people by law and
flranced by the Government, at
least in part.”
Mr. Baruch criticised the tactics
of many doctors in attempting to
portray the iasue of medical care
as a choice, “all Mack or all
white.” Objecting to this over
simplification, he declared that
medical needs of the people can
be met “without the Government
taking over medicine.” He said:
“‘All law imposes compulsion.
A form of compulsory, health In
surance for those who cannot af
ford to pay for voluntary insur
ance can be devised, .adequately
safeguarded, without involving
what has been termed socialised
] medicine.”
Washington, D. C.—The Joint
Congressional Economy Commit
tee urged immediate investigation
of what it said was a sudden in
crease in Federal Government em
ployment during October.
The October report of the com -
mittee showed a net increase of
2,626 in civilian personnel em
ployed by executive agencies. The
increase reversed a downward
trend which had been unbroken
for 17 months, the committee re
Conference Decides To Conduct All-Out Political Battle In 1948 Races
j Washington, D. 0. — George
Meanv, Secretary-Treasurer of the
American Federation of Labor,
called upon t Congress to swiftly
enact the Marshal! Plan for the
recovery of Europe as a means
of promoting world peace.
In a radio address over the na
l *ion-wide network of the Mutual
Broadcasting System. Mr. Mean.v
reiterated th- position token by
'he AFL cor,vent cn which met
last October it, San Francisco.
I Sir. Weary etniiri/ized the need
to preserve the democratic way
of life .in ta«* natives cf Western
Europe and d are: that our
failure to render assistance in
their hour of reed will result in
'he expansion ••? Soviet Russia
over all of Etrope. He declared
“Mr. Stalin, the Ru-sian Hitler,
and all his and henchmen
are moving, heave-: and earth to
block the Mu shall Plan. There
's no mystery about their motive*.
They knew that if France and
Italy and the then non-Commu
nist countries fail to receive as
sistance, they will fail into the
Russian basket N* thing helps
the Communist cause more etten
tirely* than hunger and misery
and economic chaos. Until aid
from* AmenJT" s in time to j
turn the tide, Stalin’s fifth col-;
unmists in these nations will con
tinue to have things the way the,/ j
like them.
“If we do nothing, if we male? !
the tragic choice cf saving, some j
money and letting Western Eu-,
rope work out its wn saturation!
unaided by America, it is but)
a matter of time, and not a great !
deal of time at that, before we!
vyill find we nave a : ew ne ghbor
on the Atlantic shore. j
“That neighbor will not be
friendly to our v. ay of life, will
not have cur concept of human,
free :orv. pot v. ill that neighbor
believe in our kind of civilization.]
If we pera/t the rations of Wes
tern Europe to fall, our new
neighbor on the Atlantic will be
Joseph Stalin’s brutal, fascist
dicatorship. Stalin wili then be
master of alt Europe. The Com
munist philosophy will then be
dominant in the world and we.
here in America, would find our
selves in a most uncomfortame ;
, i
“America would then be con- j
fronted with the choice of letting I
Stalin enslave us, too, or else
refusing to bow and being forced
to defend ourselves. In other
words, the ultimate price of a
refusal to put the Marshall Plan
into effect could well be a war
in which America would be prac
tically alone.”
The AFL leader asserted that
the self-interest of every Amer
ican worker is the basic reason
for helping Europe to recover ec
onomically. Realizing that adop
tion of the Marshall Plan means
additional sacrifices on the part
of American citizens, he said:
“It is far better, far wiser, far
more practical, in our judgment,
to make moderate sacrifices today
in order to avoid being compelled
to make sacrifices a thousand
times as great tomorrow. That is
just plain common sense.”
Mr. Meany said that the cost
of the Marshall Plan, estimated at
about |4 billion a year for four
years, is only about 5 per cent
of what this nation spent on the
recent fighting war. Annual
cost of the plan, he declared “will
be not more than what we will
ingly spent in just 16 days of
war.” He quoted from the
unanimously approved resolution
passed by the AFL convention;
‘“The cost to the American peo
ple • * • will be small as com
(Please Turn to Page 4)
Petroit—The automtive indus
try attained the higrhw production
-'•nrth of 1947 dui^r.K October
wher factory sales of* 431.001 new
motor vehilces were f orded, th?
Automobile Manufacturers Ass. .
eintion announced.
The total included 21' '* as
semrer cars, IIS, 3d5 nn-’ot tru-ks
both monthly hiyh point- •"< i the
year- and IdtW motor t.h- -. the
AM A report showed.,
Best previous month * IT
was April when fa.-tn- i to
•Fled 421.399 vehicles .-i. ;dt K
tli.Tdj passenjor car- . ! ••*..
'*M trucks.
ASbar.X X. Y.—Th| AFL's New
State Federate - of Labor
voted to seek increase* in' unern
f-.'ment insurance benefits and
workmen's compensatior at the
> xt session of the state legis
The action was taken at the
federation’s annual legislative
conference attended by some 200
delegates representing the 1,500.
1 ■ *0 AFL members in New York
State. J;
A bill approved by the con
ference would raiie. workmen's
compensation benefits from the
existing range of $12 to $28 a
Week to $20 to $35. • 1
Another bill approved would
'also the maximum unemployment
r su'rance benefits from $21 a
week '27. The conference also
?e ided to support recommenda-1
1 ns wftfch the unemployment j
nsurarice advisory council is .ex- !
x'eted to make to provide for [
'erendency allowances in addi- ,
ion to the proposed higher rates.1
While the advisory committee
ns ro: yet formulated its pro
ivani. it was understood that it j
could roomemend ar. allowance of'
' t w -e'~: for the first ependent '
.■'■.id'tior.a! $2 » week for a j
se i m! dependent and a further.
2 for three or more.
The two unemployment in*ur-1
t nm-isals would raise the!
maximum benefits to §•! 1 a week, i
The, present maximum of $21
does not provide dependency al-!
The conference voted dlso to
seek repeal of the Condon-Wadi in
law-, enacted last year at Gov
ernor Dewey’s insistence., It pro
vides for the automatic discharg
of any employe of a governmen
tal agency who goes on strike ar.d
sets up conditions for his reem
ployment in Government service.
Before deciding to seek re
peal, the conference voted down
a proposal to seek legislation pro
viding for grievance machiney to
handle employe complaints about
wages, hours and working condi
tions. This had been urged as
a means of taking the sting out
of the punitive provisions of the
Condon-Waldlin law.
New York City—Hugo Ernst,
president of the Hotel apd Res
taurant Employes and Bartenders
Union, announced that its Local
IS here gained new favorable
agreement with operators of
nearly 800 bars.
Mr. Ernst said that the bar
tenders got the $5 increase they
sought, bringing the minimum
wage up to $60 a week and
gained two additional holidaye,
giving 4hem si* annually. Other
questions, such as reduction ia
working hours and employer
contribution to a welfare fund
were placed in the hands of a
labor-management committee.
New York City.—An A FI, pro
posal that the United Nations
investigate world slave labor con
ri.tior* will be discussed hy the
Economic nrd Social Council on
Fei ruary 2.
M >uhew Well, .»Ft Executive
*■ I " -mber ur.i chairman
f :* international relations com
• irt ■ , att-, unceti th*> AFL re
quest had been included on the
enda for the February session.
The : ejue-t was based on a
solution adopted at the AFL
<• nvention :r San Francisco in
- *‘t< 1 r, which declared that
-e' labor had become a posts
■ i sritijt on in many tan - and
■ ;< i pi-ig- nsed us u means of
’•'i-h ny political enemies and
e r \ -’tr t! e •. f :.sic human
The AFL characterized these
eveirsiers to servitude as “cal
. - ; crass vlcl t ns of the
Geneva Crnven tion of March,
t • .ft, and a deliberate flouting
of the Nuremberg verdict again*’
Ported labor.’’ The American
group added that the spread of
slave labor represented “a dan
gerous threat V the working
standards hard-won gams and
human rights of the free work
• r*1' fPT ST*'- --wtfnr-,. ,i|p
Mr. Well, an official consultant
to the Economis and Social Coun
cil. made it -rfMr that the pro
posat ■ Was directed against the
birieti Union and its satellites.
He estimated that at least 10,
OOO.ftOO political prisoners were
performing forced labor in So
viet concentration camps. The
survival of such conditions was a
nullification of the principles un
derlying the establishment of the
United Nations, the AFL official
A« evidence that displaced per
sons and prisoners of war were
being subjected to compulsory
labor in the Soviet orbit, Mr. Well
made public a photostatic copy
of a handbill that, he said, had
been posted by the Czechoslovak
government in the industrial dis
tnct of Maehrisch Schoenberg
two month* a^ter V-E Day.
The leaflet, signed by a func
tionary of the “Office for the
Protection of Labor” announced
that “all subjects of uerman race,
regardless of sex, over 10 and not
over 00 years of age. at present
living in their home* or ia labor
camps,” were liable for compul
sory labor. Working hours were
to range from 12 to 15 hours a
day, and “negligence” in carrying
out work assignments was to be
punished by withdrawal of ration
cards or prison sentences.
“Sabotage at work, deserting
■or shirking work or resisting the
guards will be moat severely
punished, in the grave cases evsu
with the death penalty,” the hand
bill proclaimed.
Mr. Woll expressed confidence
that the Economic and Social
Council would approve the pro
posal for a survey of slave labor,
even though the Soviet Union op
posed the move.
Minneapolis, Minn.—Minnesota
became the first state to take a
definite position on the resettle
ment of Europe’s displaced per
sons in the United States.
The Minnesota Commission on
the Resettlement of Displaced
Persons, which was appointed by
Gov. Luther W. Younfdahl, an
nounced that a survey would start
to determine how many displaced
persons might be “happily and
prosperously resettled” in Min
Washington. D. C.—The presidents of the 105 national
and international unions affiliated with the American Fed
eration of Labor met here to draft final organizational
plans for "Labor’s Educational and Political League.”
The meeting, without precedent in AFL history, was the
outgrowth of action taken by the recent AFL convention
which directed the establishment of a political organization
ti> participate in the coming crucial political battles of
« ' . « o The AFL’s National
:f Port (rtf! ■ i '1 rk i
•Hoi up t Congress to enact
>*ri»lation Riant hr a permanent
1. i()t> a year salary increase M
( > $t. ""Vffice clerks.
Th.s ac ion was taken at a
' :al l Rulat vo here
attest :e'i by 300 delegates from
•*.'! states r.nd representing 70,into
of the nation’s 100,000. post office
clerks. The resolution was passed
Leo K. George, president of the
federation, introduced the resolu
tior. In support t*f th«> measure
he declared that morale in the
postoffice department is at a Jow
ehb because the starting salary
of f’d.lOO of clerks is insufficient
o attract efficient personnel. Of
ftTff"• IWJJIU3e* -srr wf»ki, M».
George said the low salary scales
or -e many of them to take out;
side jobs in order to make ends
meet in these days, of soaring
In. addition to the pay raise
measure, the conference voted to
endorse a proposal of Represen
tative Olin E. Teague to allow
veterans credit for the years they
served in the armed forces in
■citing starting salaries provided
if ■ veterans joined the postal
Also adopted was a resolution
endorsing a proposal of Repre
sentative William H. Stevenson,
Republican, of Wisconsin, increas
ing annuity benefits at retire
ment. The plan, which has been
passed by the House and has re
ceived Senate committee approval,
would increase employe contribu
tions to *5 per cent from the pres
ent 5 per cent.
Chicago.-—Delegates to a special
convention of the Hod Carriers,
Building and Common Laborers’
Union voted to amend the union’s
constitution to conform to the re
quirement of the Taft-Hartley
Joseph V. Moreschi, formerly of
Chicago, who is president of the
union, which has 400.000 mem
bers. told the delegates before
the constitutional changes were
voted that although its officers
were opposed to the Taft-Hartley
law ui principle, “It neverthe
less is the law of our land, and
as Americans it is our duty to
abide by its terms as long as it
remains the law."
Washington, D. C.—Wholesale
price as measured by the Bureau
of Labor statistics hit a new-post
war high of 159.8 per cent of the
1926 average during the week
ending November 29.
This was an advance of 0.4
per cent above the preceding
week and left the bureau’s index
only about 4 P*r cent below the
all-time peak of May, 1920.
At 169.88, the index stood 14.9
per cent above a year earlier and
41.8 per cent above the last week
of June, 1946, when OPA con
trols were virtually scrapped.
Determined to wage an unceas
ing drive for the repeal of the
obnoxious Taft-Hartley law, the
convention decided to invade the
political arena to, insure the elec
tion of a Congress more respon
■>; e to human n ods and to turn
it of office all those who con
sist t tty ignored the need of
America'* workers.
1 th this r.i;i ’date from tho
A i. convention, the union heads
„-it!ie: d for a two-day session
in n out the detaiis of the
league’s organization atid to pave
the way :■ r its operation to
h thieve the following purposes:
1. To see that all union mem
bers go to the polls in ,,11*48.
2. To make known to union
members .the meaning of the ec
onomic and political policies of the
American Federation of Labor
and the evil effects of the Taft*
fWUhiatrtKW upon tr.iieh' wtiritwi.
3. To bring about the defeat
at the polls of labor’s foes in
Congress and the various state
Prior to the conference of na
tional union presidents, the AFL
Executive Council met in a day
long^ session' at which time ten
tative plans were drawn up for
presentation to the! larger group.
No information concerning tho
nature of the proposals was avail
able as this edition went to press.
It :s expected that ‘Labor’s
Lducutn.nal and Political League”
will i>e organized at the national
level with state and district
branches to direct the program
in the local and community areas.
Several- of the , AFL’s state fed
erations have already set up ma
chinery to carry on political cam
paigns ir. their own states and to
co-operate with the national or
In addition to the organization
al details to be considered, the
meeting was expected to devolep
ways and means of financing tho
activities of the league and to
establish a goal for the fund*
necessary to carry out its pur
The Executive Council discussed
these matters in a general way
at a metting following the AFL
convention, but nothing was an
nounced in the way of a definite
At that time, members of the
council were of the opinion that
regular funds of the AFL could
be used within the meaning of
the Taft-Hartley law to carry on
the educational aspects of the
campaign. This embraces the
task of acquainting workers with
AFL policies and explaining how
the provisions of the law ad
versely affect union activities.
In regard to the political
phase, the council was of the
opinion that necessary funds
should be raised by voluntary
contributions made by union
members and friends of the labor
El Paso, Tex.—George F. Web
ber, AFL organiser, announced
the formation here of a local
union affiliated with the Ameri
can Federation of Radio Artist*.

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