The Archives: December 13

Liveblogging History: December 13, 1945: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

NEW YORK, Wednesday—The one bright spot in the present management labor situation is the negotiation now going on between the Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers.

The workers, through Walter Reuther, have offered to permit the Company to discharge the instigators of wildcat strikes, and fine the participants three dollars a day for the first offense and five dollars a day for the second. In return, the Company would agree that if any of its representatives instigated or unnecessarily provoked stoppages of production, they would be penalized.

It was said yesterday that the Ford Motor Company has under consideration a plan to substitute an annual for an hourly wage. To the outsider it looks as though Mr. Ford's own idea that mass production could bring higher profits was at the back of much of this new thinking and might lead to some really revolutionary changes.

The resolutions adopted by the International Executive Board of the International Wage Policy Committee of the United States Steel Workers of America yesterday are well worth the study of every citizen. They point out that the government now has the facts involved in the present dispute.

They say: 'The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion have a complete report on the condition of American industry. The OPA has a full report on the financial condition of the steel industry.' It would, therefore, seem unnecessary to do more than publish these findings so the public would have a basis for judgment on the labor and management issues at stake in the steel strike called for January 14th.

By December 15th, a letter written by Elmo Roper, public opinion analyst, will be in the hands of the public. It is a letter which might well go to people in every community in this nation. Dealing with rising racial tensions, it asks the help of the communities and, in a sane and peaceful fashion, tries to work out sound solutions before the pressures on Negro life bring about demonstrations of violence.

It points out:

  1. More Negroes employed at whatever jobs their skills fit them for, will make them more self-respecting citizens.

  2. Decent housing for Negroes will remove slum plague spots and make your community a healthier place for all.

  3. Self-reliant Negroes make a fine racial contribution to America.

  4. Negroes and whites, happy in a world at peace, can give their best energies to the good community life.

This is a sane program and the Urban league is right in asking our support now to prevent situations which may tarnish the good name of Democracy throughout the world.

The labor troubles we now face have a close tie-up with our racial situation. Racial minorities always are the first to suffer when there are strikes or lay-offs, and when our people, instead of working toward full employment, are indulging not only in labor strikes, but in management strikes. Management seems to be trying to bring about less strong workers' organizations and a lower labor cost.