40-Hour Week Row Only a Sideshow To Cover Up for Unions

Westbrook Pegler

Knoxville News-Sentinel/April 1, 1942

TUCSON, Ariz., April 1–Somebody named L.Metcalfe Walling, described as administrator of the wages and hours division of the Department of Labor, recently said that Nazi propaganda was responsible for the movement to abolish the 40-hour week. I don’t believe he had any ground for this charge because he offered no proof and furthermore this agitation over the 40-hour week is a diversion which has temporarily switched public attention from the corruption of the union racket which the Administration and the professional man-hunters of the unions have been trying to conceal. By kicking that gong around they have raised a great clatter in the manner of those old-time house-prowlers who would start a fight in the alley while the man around front went through the place.

The real issues are not the 40-hour week but the compulsory closed shop, the criminal practices of unions and the rising power of the union brownshirts to gang up on honest patriotic citizens and persecute and rob them with the sanction of the packed Supreme Court. The boss-fakers of this great criminal union power obviously must be glad of any such distraction, so there is as much reason to suspect them of fomenting this row as there is to suspect the Nazis on the word of an obscure recent appointee in the Labor Department who doesn’t support his statements and whose official background creates suspicion.

Arnold Speaks Truth

EVERY word that Thurman Arnold said to the House Judiciary Committee about the predatory brutality and thievery of unions was absolutely true and proven, but he was not talking about the 40-hour week, which is quite another matter We can retain the 40-hour week by paying for it in higher prices for war materials and other goods This might bankrupt the nation but we probably are going through the wringer anyway, so what the hell.

If we realize that business firms and stockholders big and little are not philanthropists or governments with taxing powers and must take in at one box office what they pay out in wages, taxes, and all, we can maintain the 40-hour week by hoisting the ceilings on prices of war goods and civilian commodities and services. To be sure this would mean higher costs of living and the beneficiaries of the overtime pay provided by the 40-hour week would be no better off than they would be on straight pay.

But there is something deliberately deceitful and dark in this persistent and stubborn avoidance by our government of the sorry facts of union operations as they have been revealed in these dispatches hundreds of times and stated by Thurman Arnold several times in his pathetic, futile testimony to Congress.

These unions are infested with dirty thieves and exploiters and betrayers of labor and they do hi-jack the farmer, the consumer and the employer and they do beat up, rob and-horribly persecute common Americans citizens whose government ought to defend their right to work on war tasks free of any obligation to pay tribute to any extortioner.

A Promise Is Kept

I PROMISED Will Green two years ago that I would show up a whole rogues gallery of crooks in positions of power in unions and don’t let any of the miserable frauds of the corrupt union press tell you that I cited only a few or that the proportion of crooks in union leadership has been no greater than in the clergy or finance or commerce. It is the crookedest calling in the whole United States, and the unions, far from exposing their vermin and pulling them off the backs of the workers and the whole community, have fronted for them and refused to cooperate with the prosecuting officers when they could have done so.

I cited a hundred and there are countless more vicious parasites who can’t be called criminals only because local prosecutors have been too lazy or too much in political fear of the unions to convict them. Do you think I would call Mike Boyle, the boss of the Chicago electricians, a low crook and a traitor to labor if I couldn’t prove it by court records, but do you think Green has done anything about him? I wouldn’t and Green hasn’t and Boyle is only a specimen out of the whole evil horde.

Yes I am an American too and so are millions of others who are determined not to permit anyone, the Government or any gang of corruptioneers, to exploit our sacrifices so as to substitute criminal gang rule and compulsion for the free institutions which the nation is fighting to maintain.

(Source: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/45070121/the_knoxville_newssentinel/)

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