North Carolina Newspapers

    Devoted to
the Interests
of the
A. F. of L.
and the
Workinc Man
Labor Weekly, Presenting Labor News and Views Without Fear and Without Favor
to the
Growth of
North Carolina
VOL. XIX; NO. 35
Subscription Price $2.00 Year
Into* p
noted commer*tn>*or
Monday thro Friday
Samuel Gompers
WAYS. 10 P. M.
To Samuel Gompers, as to few
men, felTChe ofrborthnity at a His
toric time to lead an army of men
with a bright torch down a broad
highway. ■
The torch he raised is now held
, high by 8,000,000 workers and
biases its light around the world.
In bridfr>this is his story:
8amue^Gompers was born in
East Side, London, January 27,
1850. He was the son of Solomon
.and Sarah (Rood) Gompers, both
born in Holland. His parents and
forebears were wage earners.
After but 4 years of schooling,
it was necessary for Samuel, then
10 years old, to help bear the bur
dens of his family. He was ap
prenticed to learn the shoemakers’
trade but found that distasteful
and turned to the trade of his fath
er, cigar making. When he was but
18 years of age the Gompers fam
ily moved to America.
After learning the cigarmakers’
trade under his father’s tutelage,
the youth became a journeyman
worker and joined the English
speaking cigarmakers’ union in
New >York City, old Local Union
l f-* .No. 15. _. • ___:-——
At first strongly attracted by the
humanitarian work of fraternal
organisations, young Gompers gave
his spare time to lodge work, but
as he came to realize the construc
tive possibilities of the union, he
concentrated all of his attention
and ability on the promotion of
the trade union movement. He first
became a leader in his local union
and then became prominent in labor
affairs of New York City.
Rising to prominence in his in
tarutmutl trade organization, the
Ctfftrnnfken International Union,
he earned a standing and recogni
tion that enabled him to take part
in the effort to form a national
federation of trade unions in 1881.
He was active in the old federa
tion, serving 3 years as president
and 2 years as a member of its
legislative committee, and after th«
merging of the older federation
with new unions under the name,
American Federation of Labor,
served continuously with the ex
ception of 1895, as president.
Samuel Gompers continued to
work as a cigarmaker until 37
years of age, giving all his spare
time to organization work, sacri-'
ficing even the little home life that
was accorded to the workers of
those days. He held card No. 1 in
his international union for many
years. Although given numerous
opportunities to. hold political po
sitions and participate in under
taking^ that would have made him
a rich man, Samuel Gompers held
fast to his ideal to make better the
lives of the workers.
He became the only full-time
representative of the American
Federation of Labor in 1886. From
then on he gave his full time to
the work of developing the eco
nomic movement of wage earners
for the establishing of higher
standards of work and life. Under
his purposeful, constructive lead
ership, gains were made.
It was a cardinal principle of
his leadership that the economic
organization could serve hll the
needs of the trade union and hence
(Continued On Page 2)
woaooownr j
Harrison Lauded
As Clerks Mark
50th Anniversary
Cincinnati.—AFL Vice Presi
dent George M. Harrison, presi
dent of the Brotherhood of Rail
way and Steamship Clerks, was
praised for his constructive influ
ence in organised labor and the
nation's political-life as the union
he heads celebrated its 50th an
The union’s golden anniversary
was marked' at a dinner in the fa
mous Hall of Mirrors of the Neth
erland-Plaza Hotel, where the
AFL’s 1948 convention was held.
AFL President William Green
paid tribute to Mr, Harrison and
the union, for their accomplish
ments in their first half-century.
Mr. Green said in part:
"In the annals of trade-union
ist^, the history of the Brother
hood of Railway Clerks occupies
one of the outstanding chapters,
because it vividly recounts the
triumphs of human progress over
the forces of greed and oppression.
"I consider it a great privilege
to be able to join with you in cele
brating the 50th anniversary of
your brotherhood. I offer my sin
cere congratulations to all of you
for the remarkable advances you
have achieved for the railway work
ers of the nation during the past
"There art some short-sighted
pessimists who believe that our
civilisation stands still. I would
advise them to rend the story of
years. To my mind it constitutes
a miracle of progress.
“At the turn oz the century
working conditions for railway
clerks had become so intolerable
that they were compelled in self
defense to join together into a
trade union to advance their in
terests. Thirty-three courageous
pioneers, meeting together in a
cigar store in Sedalia, Mo., dn De
cember 29, 1899, established the
first local lodge of. Railway Clerks:
To<jay your brotherhood has more
than 300,000 members in almost
2,000 lodges throughout the United
States and Canada.
) "In those early years, it was
considered a great achievement
w.hen the union succeeded in win
ning a 10-hour day with one day
off a month—just think of it, only
one day off a month and without
pay. Even as late as 1940 freight
handlers on the southern railroads
were being paid as little as 15 to
20 cents an hour.
"Today, no member of the broth
erhood employed by a railroad re
ceives less than $1.16 an hour.
After years of struggle, the 8-hour
day has been won on the railroads.
Seniority rights have been firmly
established. And through enact
ment of the Railroad Retirement
Law, retirement pay has be4n pro
vided for elderly workers and death
and survivors benefits for their
“The record of the Brotherhood
of Railway and Steamship Clerks
provides a conclusive answer to the
Critics of organized labor who fill
the press and the air with torrents
of anti-union propaganda.
“Nor have the benefits of trade
unionism in the railroad and ship
ping industry operated merely as
a one-way street. Management has
benefited and so has the nation
as a whole. The service rendered to
America by your members in peace
time and through two devastating
world wars constitutes an out
standing chapter in the history of
our country. The profits earned by
industry prove that high wages
and good working conditions pay
dividends in efficient operation
which redounds to the benefit of
"I feel impelled to say a few
words about the leadership of your
brotherhood as personified by your
grand president and my close friend
and associate, George M. Harrison.
“George Harrison has served be
side me on the executive council of
the American Federation of Labor
for a good many years and I have
come to know him well. Let me
say that to know him is to ad
(Continued on Pago 1)
_Ls~_j_ _
New-Ywkr’s Message
PmMrat, American Federation of Labor.
Labor enters the new year confident of continuing prosperity and
expectant of further opportunities to 'improve living standards
throughout the nation.
High production and employment in 1950 should expand national
income to new heights and make it possible to provide greater
economic security for American workers.
Our American economy weathered a severe test in 1949 when
the prophets of gloom predicted economic disaster after business
conditions appeared to slump temporarily. But the nation came
through the critical period stronger than ever and even the most
cautious economists are anticipating good business conditions in 1950.
It should be emphasized that the saving factor during the 1949
recession was the high purchasing power of the American people.
Coupled with the Social Security System and unemployment in
surance, it provided a cushion to ease the shock of falling business
and prevent a tailspin.
Thus, labor’s determination to seek higher wage rates and stronger
security protection during 1950 is aimed at further reinforcing our
national economy rather than weakening it.
At the same time, the American Federation of Labor will launch
a nation-wide organising campaign with the objective of gaining
a million new members during the coming year. This will be the
highest tribute we can pay to the memory of Samuel Compere as
we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
An encouraging development of 1949 which, should begin to bear
fruit during the coming year was the formation of the International
Confederation Of Free Trade Unions. Through this new organisation,
in which the free labor movements of the world are united,
it will be possible to checkmate communist efforts to infiltrate
and take over the labor movements of western Europe and other
parts of the world. Thus the peace of the world will be safe
guarded by the united action of free labor against the forces of
slave labor.
Labor in America faces the political fight of its life in 1950. It
appears unlikely that the present Congress will take affirmative
action to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act or to enact an effective social
justice program consonant with the nation’s needs.
It will, be up to all trade union members, therefore, to take a
more active part in politics this year than ever before with the
objective of electiong a new Congress next November which will*
be truly liberal and progressive.
Through Labor’s League for Political Education, the American
Federation of Labor will conduct intensified campaigns to bring out
a record registration and a big vote. I appeal to every member of
the American Federation of Labor and to all the friends of labor
to do their part by making certain to register and to vote in 1950.
We are confident that we can elect labor’s friends and defeat labor’s
enemies with a full vote.
It will then be possible to repeal the shameful Taft-Hartley Act
and to make definite progress toward the realization of liberal
social security laws, decent housing programs, the enjoyment of
civil rights by all and a richer and fuller life for the American
people. Those are goals in 1950.
Edwards On 8 Labor Stations
• •
Washington.—Eight labor-owned
radio stations are carrying the
news commentary of Frank Ed
wards, sponsored by the American
Federation of Labor, , Monday
through Friday.
Edwards’ program originates
from Washington nightly Monday
through Friday at 10 p. m. It is
carried by 147 stations of the Mu
tual Broadcasting System and the
8 labor-owned outlets, for a total
of 155 stations in 35 states.
The 8 labor stations are WFDR,
New York; WCFL> Chicago;
KFMV and KWIK, Los Angeles;
WVUN, Chattanooga; WDET, De
troit; WCUO, Cleveland, and
WCFM, Washington.
The call letters of 6 Mutual sta
tions were incorrectly listed in the
news service of Dec. 23. Their
correct listing Is:
WIDE. Biddleford. Maine, 10 p.
m., M-W-F; WILH, Lowell-Law
rence, Mass, 10 p, m„ M-W-F;
WREX, Duluth, Minn., 9 p. m., M
W-F; WEBR, Buffalo, N. Y., 10
p. m., M-Th-F; WBPZ, Lock Hav
en, Pa., 10 p. m., M-W-F; KPDN,
Pampa, Texas, 9 p. m., M-W-F.
Labor paper editors are again
urged to run the list of stations
and time for Mr. Edwards' broad
east as a standing feature to serve
AFL members and readers.
Dinner Begins Drive To
Honor Founder Of AFL
WASHINGTON.—Vice President Alben W. Barkley
AFL President William Green will address the Jan. 5 dinner
inaugurating the Samuel Gompers Centennial Year.
^FA,Se?retary'Treasurer Geor8» Meany, as toastmaster,
and AFL Vice President Matthew Woll, as chairman of the
Committee on the Gompers Centenary, shared honors.
More than 1,000 reservations were ffiade for the dinner
in the Hotel Statler.
Asks Quick Action
On Social Security
As First ^FL Goal
Washington. — AFL President
William Green called upon Congress
to adopt the new social' security
amendments as its first order of
The amendments were passed by
the House last October during the
AFL convention.
“While this measure does not
provide all the improvements asked
by the American Federation of
Labor,” Mr. Green said, “it con
tains the most liberal set of pro
visions that have been before Con
gress for 10 years. The bill was
passed by the House of Represen
tatives last October by an over
whelming vote. We hope and trust
the Senate will now approve it
without further delay. The short
comings of the existing Social Se
curity law constitute a national dis
Mr. Green painted put that *e,
‘ I_t-Ual_ mJillXs
CfTHipieif IftHnlSvlVC prOyrlm OX wW
American Federation of Labor will
be drafted by the APL Executive
.Council at its next meeting, Jan.
90. He added:
“While repeal of the Taft-Hart
ley Act is the primary legislative
objective of the American Federa
tion of Labor ancf will remain our
first goal until that obnoxious law
is wiped out, the votes taken on this
issue at last year's session of this
Congress do not augur well for
success at the second session about
to begin. Labor’s best hope is for
the election of a new Congress in
November that will be committed
to Taft-Hartley repeal.
“In the meanwhile, however,
labor intends to press for im
mediate action by Congress on a
number of necessary measures
which no longer can be considered
controversial and which can not be
further delayed without danger to
the welfare of the American peo
“Foremost on this list is the So
cial Security bill. It adds 11,000,000
new persons to the coverage of
World Labor Head
Lwin. 1.1. Oidenbreelt, tong*
(Inc flrn friend tf the Amina
Federation ef Leber, wee eheeen
general secretary ef the new aatt*
naauiit In ter national Leafed or
ation ef Free Trade Ueiewa fanned
hare in December. Mr. OUenhreek
la executive necretary ef the Inter
national Transport Worker* Fader*
a tier meet pewerfnl ef the world
trade anion secretariate expected
to week la done cooperation with
the new International body. In that
sanitise he baa made a'legieB ef
friends ament AFL eMcials and
member* of the maritiaae, railroad,
The dinner is the opening event
in a year-long celebration of, the
100th anniversary of the birth of
Samuel Campers Jan. 27, I860, in
London. Ms. Gompers founded the
American Federation of Labor Nov.
16, 1881 and served as president
with the exception of one year,
until his death in 1984.
As the Centennial year got on
derway, these Other events ware
scheduled to emphasise the. cele
bration to honor Mr. Gompers:
1. A, yearlong campaign to gain
1,000,000 new members.
2. A drive to elect a liberal Con
gress in November 1960 commit
ted to repeal of the Taft-Hartley
law and to win a fair deal in every
state capitoL
3. A series of organisation and
political rattiaa by all 60 Mato fed
erations in January had following
months to give impetee to the cele
bration. r .. "
4. Issuance at Washington, D. C*
an Jan. 27, adversary of Mr.
postog# stamp hasting his like
6. First meeting 6t the centen
nial year of the AFL Executive
Council, at Miami, Jan. 30.
6. Fifth AFL Union Industries
Show, Philadelphia, May 0-7, 1960.
Many other events at national,
State and local levels are in the
planning stage.
i v i .: .
New York.—Dutch trade union
ists endorsed a United States of
Europe or, at least, an economic
union of the nations of western
Europe to promote industrial re
covery there.
They were members of the group
feted at a luncheon by national
AFL officials in Washington and
entertained by other AFL groups
in Pittsburgh, Detroit, New kork,
Chicago and elsewhere.
D. W. Ormel, secretary of tha
Christian National Trade Union,
told reporters that all Europe must
be integrated economically so that
products might be as freeiy ex
changed among the nations there
as among the states in America,
without tariffs or quota*. His col
leagues agreed.
social security protections and. it
increases benefits materially. For
instance, the benefits of 2,6u 000
persons currently receiving olj-age
and survivors insurance benefits
average approximately $26 a
month, a shamefully low sum The
bill would increase the socia. se
curity payments to $44 a m, .th.
Also the benefits to widow., and
children of insured worke>.. who
die after 10 years under the pro
gram would be approxitn iely
'This is the kind of ptoteegon
the people of our country ne.d—
not only because of human! .ur.«n
considerations but to boiste> our
national economy and to ma.ntain
purchasing power. Social Security
benefits, let me emphasize, do notc
constitute a.handout from the gov
ernment. They are insuranee b ne
fits paidJpw by payroll taxes ii,.on
both employes and employeis.
“In these days, when p e »ure
for greater security is m >u .',ng
among all workers in the na. on
and when private industr/^s b g
besiege^ with* demands for re e
raent programs because of th. u er
inadequacy of federal* e
curity benefits, it would b- ihe
wise thing for Congress to ad <pt
IH. R. 6000 promptly.”

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